The first day of Bengaluru Literature Festival began with an exuberant session with Aatish Taseer, an author with considerable relations with the Indian subcontinent. He is the son of Indian journalist Tavleen Singh and late Pakistani politician and businessman Salmaan Taseer.

His recently released book “The Twice-Born: Life and Death on the Ganges”, keeps the interest of the reader with its plot being set in the most convenient traditional backdrop. Aatish first came to Benaras when he was eighteen, and now after two decades, he is back to find the traces of past. He is here in search of Brahmins, the caste that had devoted itself in sacred learning. He finds new texture in the emerging changes in the society.

Aatish Taseer was in conversation with Manu S Pillai at the Lit Fest. The book moves from the narrow streets of the temple town of Benaras to Modi rally in Delhi. The story revolves around the culture and politics that has emerged over the years.

The book has a touch of personal experience. He tries to connect to the roots of the past in much more simple terms. The lively examples in the story make it all the more viable and more interesting.He in his book is not finding Brahmins by birth but with a specific tradition. He, in fact, travels back by learning the language of the highly learnt – Sanskrit.

He, at times, play around with his characters to sometimes advocate the greatness of the hidden culture and at times showcases the urge of modernizing with a hiccup. The book beautifully weaves into stories about a series of people Taseer meets in his journey.

About the Author: Aishwarya A Rajpurohit is a student journalist at National School of Journalism, Bangalore. She presently writes for Bookstalkist.