Portrait of a Life: Writing On People
Akshaya Mukul, Gautam Chikermane, Hindol Sengupta, Manu Pillai with Deepti Navaratna
Akshaya Mukul is a journalist with the Times of India. He has contributed to A Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures in English (2005) edited by Prem Poddar and David Johnson, Edinburgh University Press. He is the author of Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India that recently won Tata Prize for the Best Non-Fiction of the year.
Gautam Chikermane is a Vice President at ORF. His areas of research are economics, politics and foreign policy.
A Jefferson Fellow (Fall 2001) at the East-West Center, Honolulu, Gautam has written eight books:
Reform Nation: From the Constraints of P.V. Narasimha Rao to the Convictions of Narendra Modi (HarperCollins, 2022)
Reading Sri Aurobindo (Penguin Random House, 2022)
Jailed for Doing Business (ORF, 2022)
India 2030: The Rise of a Rajasic Nation (Penguin, 2021)
70 Policies that Shaped India: 1947 to 2017, Independence to $2.5 Trillion (ORF, 2018)
Tunnel of Varanavat (Rupa, 2016)
The Disrupter: Arvind Kejriwal and the Audacious Rise of the Aam Aadmi (Rupa, 2014)
Five Decades of Decay (Rupa, 1997)
Dr. Hindol Sengupta is the author of ten books. He is the only Indian to win the Wilbur Award given by the Religion Communicators Council of America for his book Being Hindu. He is also the only Indian to be shortlisted for the Hayek Prize given by the Manhattan Institute in memory of the Nobel laureate economist F. A. Hayek. His last book The Man Who Saved India, a biography of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel won the Valley of Words Award for best non-fiction book of the year in 2019. He was educated in South Asian history and politics as a Chevening Scholar at the university of Oxford, in business and finance as a Knight-Bagehot Fellow at Columbia University, and holds a doctorate in international relations from the Geneva School of Diplomacy. He is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and Chief Economic Research Officer at Invest India, the national investment promotion agency of the government of India. His latest book Sing, Dance and Pray on the life of Srila Prabhupada has been declared a national bestseller.
Manu S Pillai
Manu S Pillai is the author of the award-winning The Ivory Throne (2015), Rebel Sultans (2018), The Courtesan, the Mahatma & the Italian Brahmin (2019), and most recently, False Allies (2021). Formerly Chief of Staff to Dr Shashi Tharoor MP, he has in the past worked at the House of Lords in Britain, and with the BBC on their ‘Incarnations’ history series. A winner of the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar, he has been a columnist at Mint Lounge, while his other writings have appeared in The Hindu, Open Magazine, the Times of India, Hindustan Times, The New Statesman, and other publications. Manu is currently studying for a PhD at King’s College London.
Dr. Deepti Navaratna is a musician-neuroscientist-author whose interests span the arts, science and history. An accomplished South Indian Classical musician, her music has been presented at premiere performing spaces in the United States such as Asia Society (NewYork City), Symphony Space (New York City), Jordan Hall (Boston), Harvard Arts Museum (Cambridge), Museum of Fine Arts (Boston), Yale School of music (New Haven, CT), Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Srilanka, Central Conservatory, Beijing and Tsing Hua University, Taiwan among others. In a parallel avatar, she studies music as a fascinating window to the brain, mind, human cognition and culture – as the T.V.Raman Pai Chair Professor at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. Deepti holds a doctorate degree in Neuroscience, after several years of post-doctoral research at Harvard Medical School, USA, her current research interests span the interdisciplinary crossovers between music and neuroscience. She is a Chevening Clore Fellow (2021–22) and holds the distinction of being the first Indian woman to have performed at the Parliament of World Religions in 2021. Until recently she served as the Regional Director, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), Ministry of Culture, Government of India, Bengaluru, India. Her foray into the world of words is through her book: ‘The Maverick Maharaja’ – the definitive biography of the Maharaja of Mysore Jayachamarajendra Wadiyar, published by Harper Collins India in 2022.
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