The last day of the Khushwant Singh Lit Fest (KSLF) began on a humourous note with writer and journalist Bachi Karkaria and poet and translator Nirupama Dutt regaling the audience with Not So Strange bedfellows: Married to Punjabis,and ended on an upbeat note with Rahul Singh thanking one and all for making the festival a success.
Rataban Betrayal,a spy thriller with Mussoorie in its backdrop,by author Stephen Alter,was released at the festival. Alter,who is also the founding director of Mussoorie Writers Mountain Festival,spoke about the books cinematic adaptation and his next work on his recent treks in the Himalayas. Alter has to his credit 15 books,both fiction and non-fiction. In Rataban Betrayal,Alter an America-born-Mussoorie-raised challenges the perception that spy thrillers are pulp fiction. The book is about American agent who is shot in cold blood in the sleepy town of Mussoorie.
A preview of Juggi Bhasins second book,The Avenger,was also held at the festival. A television journalist,Bhasin made his debut last year with the critically acclaimed and successful novel The Terrorist.
Motoring in Himachal/Punjab: Fun on Wheels was an absorbing session by Bob Rupani and Kishie Singh. Being a motoring aficionado,Kishie drove overland from London to New Delhi,being convinced that the only way to see the countryside is through the wind screen of a car!
Drawn to the mystic,with a deep and abiding interest in Sufism,Confucianism,IAS officer Vijai Vardhan read excerpts from his book,Kurukshetra: Timeless Sanctity.
Lending an artistic dimension to the festival,Dr B N Goswamy,a distinguished art historian and leading authority on Indian art,particularly in the area of Pahiri painting,presented a visual treat Sufis As Seen By Painters.
One of the highlights of the final day of KSLF was the release of Khushwant Singhs latest book by Mark Tully,titled,The Good,the Bad and the Ridiculous Profiles. The book is a new compilation of essays that profile some of the most iconic figures in the last century of the subcontinents history. The collection brings together the very best of these pen portraits,some of which have never before appeared in a book.
Among those profiled are Jawaharlal Nehru,Krishna Menon,Indira Gandhi,Sanjay Gandhi,Amrita Sher-Gil,Begum Para,Muhammad Ali Jinnah,M S Golwalkar,Mother Teresa,Faiz Ahmad Faiz,Dhirendra Brahmachari,Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale,General Tikka Khan,Phoolan Devi,Giani Zail Singh and Bhagat
This book will appeal not only to admirers of Khushwant Singhs writing but also to people interested in the history,politics and socio-economic scenario of the twentieth century India.