Anant Vijay

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Sathya Saran

Journalist & Biographer

Sathya Saran is a senior journalist and author of biography on Guru Dutt and his association with screen writer, filmmaker and actor Abrar Alvi Titled, 10 Years With Guru Dutt: Abrar Alvi's Journey. The book was on the nomination list for the National Film Awards.

Till recently editor of ME, a monthly magazine, Sathya has set out on her own in new directions, yet to be made public. In the past, Sathya has edited Femina and been on the Board of governors of the NIFT. She is currently also Adjutant Professor at NIFT, Bombay where she teaches Fashion Journalism. She has authored a book of short stories, Night Train and other Stories.

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Ashwin Sanghi


Ashwin Sanghi ranks among India’s highest selling English fiction authors. He has written several bestsellers (The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant, The Krishna Key, The Sialkot Saga, Keepers of the Kalachakra, The Vault of Vishnu and The Magicians of Mazda in the Bharat Series) and two New York Times bestselling crime thrillers with James Patterson, Private India (sold in the US as City on Fire) and Private Delhi (sold in the US as Count to Ten). Ashwin also mentors, co-writes and edits titles in the immensely popular 13 Steps Series on subjects as diverse as Luck, Wealth, Marks, Health and Parenting.

Ashwin has been included by Forbes India in their Celebrity 100 and by the New Indian Express in their Culture Power List. He is a winner of the Crossword Popular Choice Award 2012, Atta Galatta Popular Choice Award 2018, WBR Iconic Achievers Award 2018 and the Lit-O-Fest Literature Legend Award 2018.

He was educated at Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai, and St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. He holds an MBA from Yale University. Ashwin lives in Mumbai with his wife, Anushika, and his son, Raghuvir.

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Khushboo Mattoo

Consulting Editor, Network18 Group

Khushboo Mattoo - Khushboo Mattoo is a Consulting Editor/Columnist with Network18. Having an exposure in technology and broadcast media like Radio and TV for over a decade, she writes/talks elaborately on topics of migration, conflict and culture. She has contributed to multiple anthologies in the past, and works actively in the social work domain with community led initiatives like KeepWarm, SOSJK and With multiple national and regional awards in her name for national campaigns on male child sexual abuse, Menstrual Hygiene, covid response in J&K, holding women empowerment and security conclaves, marathons, festivals and screenings, Khushboo believes in social media for social impact.

In her free time, she guides aspirants on admissions abroad in development studies & paints too.

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Jai Arjun Singh

Author, Columnist and Film Critic

Jai Arjun Singh is an independent writer and critic. His books include The World of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, which won the MAMI Excellence in Writing on Cinema Award in 2016, Jaane bhi do Yaaro: Seriously Funny Since 1983 (about the making of the cult comedy film), and the anthology The Popcorn Essayists: What Movies do to Writers. His columns, reviews and essays have appeared in dozens of publications, and are available on his culture blog Jabberwock ( He has conducted workshops and delivered talks at several colleges and universities, and is currently teaching a film course at the Jindal School of Journalism and Communication, Sonipat.

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Pavan Jha

Film Historian

Pavan Jha is a technology consultant, an avid film buff, archivist and film historian.

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Bhawana Somaaya

Senior Film Journalist & Author

Bhawana Somaaya has been a film critic for more than forty years and has contributed columns to various publications. She is the former editor of Screen and has authored several books on cinema that include biographies of Hema Malini and Amitabh Bachchan. Her books are a point of reference for students studying cinema at Whistling Woods, Manipal University, and JNU, Delhi.

She has served on the Advisory Panel of CBFC India, and also the Governing Council FTII, Pune, and is the entertainment editor at 92.7 Big FM radio channel.

In 2008, she released Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession, and Letters to Mother which is an English translation of the Prime Minister of India’s Gujarati book Saakshi Bhaav, published in 2020. Letters to Self is a translation of Shri Narendra Modi’s book Aankh Aa Dhanya Chhe.

Bhawana Somaaya was conferred with Padma Shri in 2017 and with an honorary doctorate by Jagran Lake City University in 2021.

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Sanjay Raina

Celebrity Chef

Sanjay Raina is a celebrated alumnus of the premier hotel school of India, Institute of Hotel Management, Pusa, New Delhi, and is the Founder of Mealability, The Flavor of Kashmir.

With an unwavering commitment to showcasing Kashmiri culture via cuisine, Masterchef Sanjay Raina constantly aims to present Kashmir on a platter and bring to you various aspects of Kashmiri cuisines across the diaspora that might surprise even the diehard foodie.

Well known for curating bespoke menus, Sanjay Raina’s commitment to detail is unrivalled. Sanjay Raina is well known for his mastery in dishing out exotic gourmet Kashmiri cuisine. In a short span, he has become the top choice for Kashmiri gourmet food everywhere.

From catering a 12 course menu in The Parliament in New Delhi, The Tulip Festival in Srinagar, The 75 years of India’s independence Curtain Raiser in Nepal to destination weddings in Sri Lanka & UAE and Corporate off-sites at Thailand, Celebrity Chef Sanjay Raina is undisputedly the Ambassador of Kashmiri Cuisine to the world.

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Danish Manzoor Bhat

Editorial Director (Asia) & Sr. VP News Strategy (Global)

Danish Manzoor Bhat is the youngest ever and first Kashmiri to hold the position of Editorial Director and Senior Vice President at the iconic Newsweek magazine.

He’s also on the board of historic and world’s leading Newsweek magazine in Asia.

Mr Bhat has served as the youngest ever Resident Editor at India’s leading Tabloid newspaper Mid-Day and Dainik Jagran

An IIM-Ahmedabad and Osmania alumnus; his diverse leadership experience ranges from print, broadcast, digital-journalism, management, civic-tech, media-tech, Ad-Tech, public relations, policy and crisis communication.

He, at present, heads editorial strategy, tech & social innovations (dabbling in AI & Blockchain for Media) and comprehensive news coverage from the Asia Pacific region at Newsweek.

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Arhan Bagati

Founder, KYARI

India’s First & World’s Youngest Deputy Chef de Mission of the Indian Paralympic Contingent for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. KYARI - Kashmir’s Yumberzal Applied Research Institute Founder.

Awareness and Impact Ambassador of the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).

Bachelor of Arts with a Major in Politics (specialising in Comparative Politics) and a Minor in Asian Studies (with a concentration on India) from Pomona College.

Semester abroad to study Law (Introduction and Criminal), Politics (Political Theory), Creative Writing (English), and Modern Art at the University of Cambridge.

Founded; InRio and IndTokyo applications. All for the differently-abled, an attempt to improve their lives.

InRio sponsored a few Paralympic Athletes, out of which Mariyappan Thangavelu and Varun Singh Bhati won Gold and Bronze, respectively, in High Jump at the Rio Paralympic Games 2016.

Have been featured multiple times on most National (and some International) news platforms - Google is the best source now.

Frequently write (and published) on topics ranging from Kashmir to National Security to Current Events (Firstpost, Quint, Greater Kashmir are some of the publications that I have written for).

Youth Ambassador of Pixstory Application.

Indian Cinema Heritage Foundation’s Cinemaazi Gen X Think Tank’s Chair

A Student Pilot.

A Kashmiri Pandit.

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Aditya Raj Kaul

Executive Editor, TV9 Network

Aditya Raj Kaul is a well-known Indian journalist with over 14 years work experience in critical breaking news situations and media leadership roles.

Kaul at present is the Executive Editor of TV9 Network. Earlier, Kaul was the Group Contributing Editor of CNN-News18. One of the first journalists to interview former Afghan Vice President and Spy Chief Amrullah Saleh after Kabul fell. He also interviewed Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Mehul Chowksi escape.

During COVID19 second wave crisis in April 2021, Kaul reported for Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Kaul in his previous role was Editor, Strategic Affairs and Internal Security at Business Television India (BTVI) where he anchored his prime-time debate on foreign affairs and national security with prominent voices.

He was earlier the Senior Associate Editor and anchor at Republic TV as its founding member, where he primarily looked after strategic affairs with an interest in conflict reportage.

Kaul began his TV career as Principal Correspondent with Times Now focussing on foreign affairs and breaking news situations. Amongst some of the top-notch coverages and reportage, Kaul reported from Iraq during the peak of ISIS, interviewed Palestenian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Israel-Palestine conflict and reported from the Nuclear Suppliers Group meet in South Korea. Kaul has reported from G20 Summit in Australia, ASEAN in Malaysia, SAARC in Nepal and EU in Belgium. He has travelled extensively across the conflict-ridden state of Jammu and Kashmir and Red corridor of Maoist terror in Bastar.

Earlier as Special Correspondent with The Sunday Indian weekly magazine, he exclusively interviewed the inaccessible Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi (Indian Prime Minister presently) and UN designated Chief Commander of terror group Hizbul Mujahideen in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir Syed Salauddin.

Kaul graduated in Political Science from Ramjas College, Delhi University before completing masters in journalism from Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai. He was invited for Business Management Programme for Media Industry by the prestigious Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore.

Kaul rose to limelight when he initiated the first-ever social media led campaign in India - Justice for Priyadarshini Mattoo in 2006 at the age of 16. Announced among the top 25 Youth Icons of the country by India Today in 2007, NDTV, The Times of India and chosen as the top 25 Capital Change makers in New Delhi by Today the same year. In 2011, announced as youth achiever by the India Today.

Aditya Raj Kaul hails from Rainawari, Srinagar in Kashmir where he was born but had to leave homeland due to sudden rise in terrorism and attacks on minority Kashmiri Pandits. Kaul’s family took shelter as refugees in their own country in Jammu camps before moving to New Delhi. He is great-grandson of India’s first ornithologist Master Samsar Chand Kaul and maternal grandson of well-known Sanskrit scholar Pandit Jankinath Kaul ‘Kamal’.

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Niyati Bhat

Film Scholar, Writer and Editor

Niyati Bhat is a culture writer and editor of Kashmiri origin from New Delhi. She is a PhD Candidate in Cinema Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her PhD dissertation engages with the Sri Lankan civil war and its aftermath in fiction and non-fiction films. Her M.Phil. thesis was on the cinematic, music and new media practices in Kashmir from 2000-2018.

She has been a guest speaker on various forums such as South Korean cinema panel at Habitat International Film Festival 2022, India International Centre’s seminar on Kashmiri literature, speaker at theDesi Books Discourse, Kalinga Literary Festival among others. Prior to this, she has presented her work on Kashmiri music and Indian cinema at Harvard University's Graduate Music Forum, Digital Politics in Millennial India by LMU Germany, Jamia Millia Islamia International Conference 2020 and Association for Asian Studies Conference 2020.

Her work has appeared in leading Indian and international publications such as India Today, The Hindu,, Vogue India, Asymptote Journal, SummerHill Journal among others. She was a media fellow at Metta Centre for Nonviolence in 2014. Her paper “The Wandering Madman: The Allegorical Kashmiri Figure in Indian Cinema” was published in Critical Collective in 2020. You can read more about her work at

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Nirupama Kotru

Senior Civil Servent, Writer, Singer and Cultural Commentor

Nirupama Kotru is an officer of the Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax) of the 1992 batch, and has worked in the Income Tax Department at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Pune including in the International Tax Directorate. She was educated at Delhi Public School, Mathura Road, St.Stephen’s College(Delhi University) and Jawaharlal Nehru University. She was posted on deputation to Central Government from Oct.2009 to Jan., 2012 in the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, where she was responsible for various e-governance initiatives of the Corporate Affairs Ministry, including the prestigious corporate filing portal MCA21. She also helped set up the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs at Manesar. She helped roll out the National Voluntary Guidelines for Business Responsibility(later notified as CSR rules and also adopted by SEBI as mandatory filing for Top 100 listed companies), and also helped draft Corporate Governance Guidelines and Competition Policy, among other initiatives.

From Feb.2012 to Jan.2015, she was posted as Director(Films) in the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, where she drove India’s participation in prestigious film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin and Toronto, and also promoted Indian cinema at home by organizing three editions each of International Film Festival of India at Goa and the National Film Awards. She also looked after the administration of media units of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting such as NFDC,as well as policy matters such as censorship.She helped set up single window clearance system for film shootings and laid the groundwork for setting up of the national institute on animation, gaming and visual effects, among other initiatives.

Until recently, she was posted as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Govt of India, where she helped redefine role of prestigious national academies such as Sahitya Akademi, National School of Drama&Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts,where she drove several initiatives such as Sangam App under National Audio visual Archives,Vedic Heritage portal, National Manuscripts Mission etc.She helped modernize iconic museums like Victoria Memorial and Indian Museum,Kolkata and National Museum,Delhi and was responsible for setting up several new galleries such as Ajanta(AR-VR) gallery at National Museum.In 2019,she drove India’s participation after a hiatus of 8 years, at the prestigious Venice Biennale.She joined Ministry of Coal as Joint Secretary&Financial Advisor on 31May, 2021.Currently she holds additional charges as JS&FA of Ministries of Mines and Minority Affairs.

Her interests include writing short stories and poems, and articles on cinema, parenting and other topics. She is also a singer. She is currently writing a book on cinema.

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Yatindra Mohan Mishra

Author, Film Historian and Musicologist

Yatindra Mishra is a celebrated Hindi poet, music and cinema scholar. He has four collections of Hindi poetry, several books on Indian classical music and cinema and translations. His book Lata: Sur-Gatha won six awards in 2017, including the prestigious 64th National Film Award for Best Writing on Cinema (Swarna Kamal) and the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival Award for Best Writing on Cinema, 2016-17. His latest book, Akhtari: Soz Aur Saaz Ka Afsana, is based on the life, times and music of Akhtari Bai Faizabadi Aka Begum Akhtar. He is currently working on a book on eminent lyricist, poet and filmmaker Gulzar Saheb.

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Anirudha Bhattacharjee

National Award & MAMI award winning author

Anirudha is a SAP consultant by profession and a musician by passion. A huge fan of Kishore Kumar, he loves revisiting football matches, films of Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock, Satyajit Ray, Bimal Roy, Tarun Majumdar, Basu Chatterjee, Gulzar and a horde of comedies - from the awkwardly funny Crazy Boys series to childhood favourites featuring Terence Hill & Bud Spencer.

He writes only when he has a deadline.

A firm believer in original research, he abhors writing sourced from the net, which unfortunately has become the norm today. An active quizzer for over 30 years, he owes most of his knowledge to co-quizzers who have made him push the envelop from time to time. His partners in crime have been Amitava Chatterjee (Professor of Electrical Engineering, Jadavpur University, Calcutta) with whom he wrote a weekly column for The Statesman , Calcutta, in the early 1990s, and Balaji Vittal (VP - Concentrix), with whom he has authored three books.

His "R D Burman, the Man the Music" has won the National award for Best book on cinema in 2012 and "Gaata Rahe Mera Dil", won the MAMI award in it's inaugural year, 2015.

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Jameel Gulrays

Founder, Katha Kathan

Friends know of him as an Urdu connoisseur, writer and shayar… Colleagues remember him as a mad combination of creative and media planning… his industry contemporaries know him as the strategic planner and 10-sec format maverick behind campaigns like “Bottal mein aam, Maaza hain naam…” “Taaza mango, Maaza mango”, “lime-n-lemoni Limca”, “toh phir kyon na khaye Amul Chocolates; pyaar ki meethi bhent”, LIC’s “Jeevan ke saath bhi, Jeevan ke baad bhi” and many more…

His Voice Over friends and radio producers vouch for him as the best Hindi-Urdu writer they have worked with, and remember him for coining phrases that have become common parlance, including the now oft repeated ‘Ziddi mael’…

Discovery and Travel & Living channels have insisted that their best, most sensitive programmes are transliterated into Hindi by none other than him…

Having traversed through all aspects of the communications business for over 40 years, Jameel Gulrays has many firsts to his credit. His contribution to advertising includes Advertising’s one and only book in Hindi titled, Vigyapanon Ki Duniya, 52 advertising training workshops for beginners conducted for the industry body Advertising Agencies Association of India, starting the first ever awards to recognise contribution and work of media professionals – The Media Meet awards and much more.

Besides being on Ad Club- CAG- committees, writing articles for several newspapers, winning innumerable awards, being behind iconic brand launches, outdoing competition with cut-throat media strategies, producing ad films, he is now the communications consultant for select clients. While communications continue to get his adrenalin pumping, it is Urdu and that plays his muse. Mir, Zauq, Zafar, Chakbast, Dagh, Faiz, Iqbal, Firaq, Hali, Ghalib… you ask him and he will know the poet and the poetry, most of the time from memory. Manto, Krishan Chander, Rajender Singh Bedi, Ismat Chughtai, Pitras Bukhari… you ask him to recollect short stories from the galaxy of these litterateurs, and he will have it right out of his memory! His collection of Urdu poetry and literature and his repertoire of knowledge with respect to his beloved language Urdu and Urdu literature, is enviable to any lover of the language.

Currently, he is on a crusade of sorts to preserve the rich tapestry of Indian language literature through his initiative Katha Kathan.

He was felicitated with Maharashtra State Government’s Urdu Sahitya Academy Award, for his work in promoting Urdu literature.

Katha Kathan’s journey began with his quest to make his vast library of Urdu poetry and prose available to those who appreciate Urdu literature. As he started off with this rather simple mission with his YouTube channel ‘Jameel Gulrays’, it transcended into a larger cause of preservation of the vast repertoire of Indian language literature.

Being fluent in Urdu, Hindi and English, and also having graduated in Persian, it has been relatively easy for him to share the gems of Urdu with his audiences through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, where he records one story and/or poem each day, of legendary writers and poets.

Today, his initiative Katha Kathan which is headquartered in Mumbai, now has chapters in Delhi, Allahabad and Lucknow.

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Ajay Raina

Award Winning Filmmaker, Writer, and Educator

Prof. Ajay Raina is an award winning filmmaker, writer and academician with considerable experience.

His recent film, Mout`e Rang (At the moment of death - 81 mins. 2022) chronicles the process of extinction of the remaining Hindus of Kashmir.

Ajay has produced, directed, and edited many fiction shorts, documentary films and TV programmes besides having written innumerable screenplays for feature films and a novel in English. He has won the National Award (Rajat Kamal), the Golden Conch and other prestigious awards like IDPA Silver Trophy and RAPA award for his documentary films, many of which have screened at numerous forums, seminars and at major international and national film festivals. He was the recipient of the prestigious ‘Fond Sud’ production grant given by the Ministry of Culture & Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France for his feature film script ‘Letters to God’. His Feature film project ‘Aharbal Falls’ was Selected for ‘Open Doors’ co-production Lab at Locarno Film Festival in 2011. His Documentary film “Between Border and the fence, on edge of a map” (2011)” is short listed among 12 best documentaries of the year 2011-12 by the well- known Walker Art Magazine.

Ajay’s work mainly explores the contemporary context of the conflict in Kashmir and the experience of exile, displacement and diaspora through an exploration of history, memory and Hindu - Muslims relations post partition. He has taught courses in Cinema studies, Film Direction, Documentary and Screenplay writing at University of Pennsylvania, Film and Television Institute of India, Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology and has also held the position of Chairperson Academics at ISB&M School of Communication. He is the founder of the Kashmir Oral History project and curator of a traveling festival of films related to the Kashmir conflict.

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Manisha Mohan Puri

Author and Former Captain, Air India

Captain Manisha Mohan Puri's journey into aviation started way back in 1986 when she got a scholarship for 60 hours of free-flying at the Bhopal flying Club. She has never looked back ever since. She went to the USA to complete her flying and got her Commercial Pilot Licence with instrument rating from 'Skywings Flight Training school in Dallas, Texas. On returning to India, she joined Indian Airlines Ltd in 1988, thereby becoming one of the few elite commercial women pilots of the country.

She feels blessed to be a pilot, a profession that has made her what she is today - disciplined, focussed, daring, fearless, and ready to take on any challenge life throws at her. In her long career as a commercial pilot with Air India Ltd (formerly Indian Airlines Ltd); she has faced many challenging situations like Single Engine, Hydraulic failure, and even Emergency Landings but nothing stopped her from continuing to pursue her passion for flying and she has thoroughly enjoyed every flight she flew! She has played significant roles in organizations, including being the Crew Resource Management facilitator for Air India (narrow body) for four years, and Deputy General Manager (operations department). She was also the former Chairperson (Delhi Branch) of the Indian Women Pilots' Association.

Currently, she is Secretary of the International Organisation of Women Pilots, also known as the Ninety-Nines. Today she mentors underprivileged children through the NGO 'Nai Disha'. She has been honoured in Atchison, USA, by the 'International Forest of Friendship' for her role in aviation. A plaque in her name has been placed in the forest of friendship alongside the plaques of aviators from across the world. Having flown aircraft such as the Pushpak and Cessnas to jets like the Boeings and Airbuses, it gives her immense pleasure to talk about flying and related topics. She is the author of From Sarees to Stripes: True Stories of Commercial Women Pilots of India.

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Neerja Mattoo


Neerja Mattoo taught English in the Government College for Women, Srinagar for nearly four decades before retiring as Principal. She was awarded a British Council Visitorship to the University of Oxford and the HRD Ministry Senior Fellowship in Literature to work on Kashmiri women poets, including Lal Ded and Rupa Bhawani. She has translated three collections of Kashmiri short stories titled The Stranger Beside Me, Contemporary Kashmiri Short Stories and Stories From Kashmir.

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Tejas Vijay Deoskar

Actor, Filmmaker and Writer

Tejas Prabha Vijay Deoskar is an actor, writer and film director of Marathi and Hindi films. Tejas has over 16 years of experience in the film industry.

Son of Vijay Govind Deoskar, He began his directorial career with the groundbreaking Ajinkya(2012) and has since delivered many box office hits over a period of 16 years. After the success of Ajinkya(2012), Tejas worked on Premsutra (2013), which also received commercial success at the box office.

Tejas formed Blue Mustang creations along with a couple of like-minded people like Ashok Subhedar in 2016.

Tejas started his career with the short film Kalakaar which was released in early 2006 and went to various film festivals worldwide winning accolades all over. Tejas worked on similar notable projects amongst them were “Bachhon ka Khel” and “Sunehari Raakh”. In 2009, Tejas received his first commercial breakthrough as a writer with Pratisaad followed by his Directorial Debut with ""Ajinkya"" in 2012.

Tejas became a top Marathi director with hits including Kalakaar, Sunehari Raakh, Ajinkya, Premsutra, and Bucket List.

After the commercial success of Bucket list, Tejas announced his next film Baba as a creative producer under the banner of Blue Mustang with Sanjay Dutt filmography as Co-producer where Tejas was the Co-writer as well.

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Tsering Gurmat


He was born in Kungyam village, 100 kms from Leh, pursued Bachelor in Fine Arts from Jammu University and Master in Fine Arts from Banaras Hindu University. Sculpting in particular interested him. Studied under the guidance of Sculptor Ravinder Jamwal from Durb Satya studio in Jammu

He also got the opportunity to work as a sculptor at Ratiksha Creative Solutions, Vadodara, at Grang Studio in Delhi and also experimented with his photography skills. He has attended workshops in Leh, Jammu, Mysore, BHU, in various different mediums like stone carving, Clay Modelling, Ice carving, Snow sculpting, Metal Fabrication, Fiberglass, calligraphy, wood carving and art installations. Gurmet also got an opportunity to go to Sweden and study Ice sculpting and how to make Ice hotels. Later in 2019, He along with some of his fellow artist participated in the International Snow Sculpture competition in Harbin, China.

He's sculpted the 17th century king of Ladakh after 6 months of hard core research. The 14 feet statue is made of bronze and cast metal, which is a new technique used in Ladakh, Bust of the 19th Kushok Bakula Rinpoche, Statue of Col. Chewang Rinchen (one who created the Nubra Volunteer Force who played a crucial role in the 1947-1948 War)

At present He is working on the statue of 1st Lama Staktsang Reapa Nawang Gyatso (Shambunath). The statue will be over 30 feet high and made of cast copper statue.

Gurmat has also received All India Young Artist Scholarship in Visual Art, Ministry of Culture, GOI; special felicitation by LAHDC Leh during sPal- rNam- Duston and a State Award from the Administration of Union Territory of Ladakh in 2021.

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Tamana Slathia

Founder, Daffodils Project and Peacebuilder

Tamana Slathia is a trained Peacebuilder, gender equality activist, and storyteller from the border region of Jammu & Kashmir. The founder of a Peacebuilding youth-led organization called The Daffodils Project and a Swedish Institute Young Leader for Peace & Gender Equality, she uses the art of storytelling to foster dialogue and harmony in vulnerable communities of border villages of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Her work has enabled long-lasting development in youth affairs in the country bringing her recognition from the President of India.

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Rahul Mittra

Award-winning filmmaker and Former Times of India journalist

Award-winning filmmaker/actor & branding expert Rahul Mittra'- Former Times of India journalist, Rahul Mittra is an award-winning filmmaker, actor & branding expert who has been credited to have changed the narrative of indian cinema from NRI-centric films to heartland films with his debut film Saheb Biwi aur Gangster in 2011. Since then he's come a long way and has produced pathbreaking films including Saheb biwi aur gangster part 2 & 3, Bullett Raja, Revolver Rani, Sarkar 3, Torbaaz and others, emerging as a respectable name in the Indian film industry by backing good content. He is also the brand advisor to the government of Arunachal Pradesh and has recently carried out a successful & talked about campaign on the 50 years of statehood. Rahul has won best producer awards at Norway, Poland, Hungary, Vietnam, San Francisco, Tashkent film festivals and is a regular guest speaker on cinema & mass communication at major Indian & global events.

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Manpreet Kour


Manpreet Kour is a young budding Sikh writer and a social activist from the valley of Kashmir- the heaven on earth.

She is an alumni of Presentation Convent Higher Secondary School from where she has passed out her grade 12 with flying colours. Presently,she is pursuing her bachelor's degree in Science from Amar Singh College.

"Blues and Bliss" is the first book she has written. In the recent first ever literary festival in J&K at Gulmarg, Manpreet Kour was one of the four writers and poets of Kashmir to receive a token of appreciation from the Honourable Lieutenant Governor of J&K - Manoj Sinha.

During the same litfest she also shared stage for the panel discussion with Anushka Dhar, Mahpara Khan and famous Urdu poet and DC Srinagar - Mohammad Aijaz Asad (IAS) wherein Siddhartha Gigoo - (Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner 2015 for Asia) was the moderator.The theme of the panel discussion was"Spotlight: Budding Writers of Kashmir."

The book of Manpreet Kour - "Blues and Bliss" was also showcased at this first ever Literary Festival among the books of various other eminent writers.

She has also been felicitated with "Young Achievers Award" by "Kashmir Youth Web" and "Kashmir Servers Foundation" at Tagore Hall,Srinagar,Kashmir.

Her book has been launched recently in the presence of Pandurang K. Pole(Divisional Commissioner,Kashmir) Sheikh Aadil(DySP- Traffic,Srinagar),Sanjay Vishwasrao (Major General), G.M.Mir(Renowned and veteran Kashmiri author),Jagmohan Singh(Chairperson- All Party Sikh Coordination Committee) and several others.

In this event she was felicitated by Pandurang K. Pole(Divisional Commissioner,Kashmir) with an award certificate.

Her book has been reviewed by the renowned and veteran Kashmiri author namely - G.M.Mir who has all praises for the book of Manpreet Kour in his review article published in various newspapers.

At present, she is working on her second book.

As mentioned above she is also a social activist. She conducts free food distribution drives, free blanket distribution drives and various other drives for helping the poor and needy. She has conducted such drives in various parts of the valley like in leprosy colony near Nigeen,among people living in temporary hutments at Shalteng, Parimpora etc. During the pandemic,the social and religious organization of which she is a part,was felicitated by A.D.C (Pulwama) for their selfless service. She has also played an important role in organising blood donation camps at S.H.M.S.S. hospital and even with Red Cross. She teaches students and even provides free education by the means of tuitions if in case any needy person approaches her. She has done appreciable work in the field of women empowement. She raises voice for the for rights of women and has even been a part of discussion about women empowerment on National News channels like News18..

She has used various platforms to speak against various social issues like suicide etc and social evils like drugs,alcoholism etc. Many local channels are completely loaded with her interviews where she has talked about such issues at length.

She has also been a part of various Panjabi programmes at Radio Station,Kashmir.

She is also motivational speaker who uses various platforms to speak about the rights,concerns and issues of Sikhs and has been a speaker at various Seminars and programmes held at various Gurudwaras of the whole Kashmir valley.She has also been a part of various Sikh Youth Conferences, peaceful protests etc held in Kashmir.

She has actively participated in many seminars and activities held at Amar Singh College and has been rewarded with certificates for that.She has been outstanding in her academic field and has come out with flying colours in all her exams for which she has got certificates and awards in her academic field. She has been awarded by various awards and certificates for her speaking skills.

She has been appreciated by the Helpage India Foundation and Haemophillia Foundation of India for her charitable work. She imparts religious education,and preaches the principles of Sikhi and spreads Guru's wisdom.

She has won several awards in religious domain as well, even by the Haryana Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee.

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Mona Verma


Mona Verma is an award-winning author of 8 books and over a dozen anthologies which are subject of thesis for many Research Scholars and the ICSE ELT series. She has edited various science journals, self-help books, and biographies. She specializes as a Haiku, Limericks, and Tanka poet.

Listed as one of the 50 Iconic Authors 2022, she is a Paul Harris Fellow, Chief Coordinator for FLO FICCI, UK Literature Committee and member of the Asia Development Bank. She co-owns DISHA, which trains in MNCs, PSUs, and Universities for EPT, FTP, PEP and PSI, and OB programs in India and abroad.

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Dr Sachchidanand Joshi

Member Secretary, the Executive and Adademic Head of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA)

Sachchidanand Joshi, Member Secretary, the Executive and Academic Head of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), New Delhi, is a Scholar of History and Mass Communication, a Writer, a Poet and an Actor. He was the Founder Vice Chancellor of the Kushabhau Thakre University of Journalism and Mass Communication, Raipur. He served as Vice Chancellor for two terms (10 years). He was also the Founder Registrar of Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, Bhopal. He served as Dean (Academics) in the Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, Bhopal too. He has written extensively on Media, Communication, History, Culture, Education, Policy, and other relevant issues. He has been delivering lectures on Communication, Gender Sensitization, Research for Resurgence, Personality Development, Art and Culture in prestigious institutions. He has edited the Speeches of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, for Publication Division. He edited many other prestigious publications. He has been writing extensively. Some of his recent published works include “Sachchidanand Joshi ki Lokpriya Kahaniya” (2017); “Kuchh Alpa Viraam” (2018), “Pal Bhar ki Pahchan” (2019) two poetry collections. His speeches have been compiled in two volumes titled “Mera Desh Mera Dharm”.

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Manoj Sinha

Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir

Manoj Sinha is an Indian politician. He has a B.Tech and M.Tech degree in Civil Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) Varanasi (earlier called IT-BHU). During his student days, he was the president of students' union in the Banaras Hindu University.

He was elected as Member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha, representing Ghazipur for three terms from the Bharatiya Janata Party. He served as the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Communications and Minister of State for Railways in the Government of India.

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Saleem Beg

Convener, INTACH (J&K Chapter)

Saleem Beg is an Indian art conservator, historian and columnist. He is working to conserve / preserve the artworks, architecture, archaeology, besides museum collections mainly connected to Kashmir heritage. He joined government service in the year 1975 and retired after rendering 31 years of public service as the Director General of Tourism, Government of Jammu and Kashmir.

He prepared the research dossier of seven crafts include papier-mache, pashmina, Khatamband, Woodwork, Pinjrakari, Ari and Metal craft which placed the Srinagar city of Jammu and Kashmir in the list of UNESCO creative cities network for 2021, in the field of craft and folk art.

Since 2006 he is convener of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage – INTACH, J&K Chapter.

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Nusrat Durrani

Media Executive and Filmmaker

Nusrat Durrani is a pioneering American media executive and filmmaker renowned for producing transformative multi-platform storytelling for commercial and social impact. Nusrat kept MTV front and center in the international youth marketplace in senior leadership roles from 1996 until 2016 by boldly advancing the conversation around culture, race, color, gender, and sexual identities. His inclusive vision and resolute allyship to underrepresented identities led him to develop platforms and content for unheard voices across the globe. He most recently founded and served as General Manager & Sr. Vice President at MTV World, Viacom Media Networks’ global content incubator and innovation engine, which developed a worldwide network of young filmmakers and producers and created hundreds of hours of roundbreaking stories from over 45 countries.

He created the acclaimed “Rebel Music,” a 12-part documentary series about musicians fighting oppression in turbulent countries like Afghanistan, Iran, Egypt, Turkey, Venezuela, Myanmar, and Israel-Palestine. In 2015, Nusrat was honored by President Obama and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian for his work spotlighting young Native American artists in his films. “We are Lovers,” a 6-part series about modern love, and “FWD,” about progressive fashion, which paired film directors and designers are also his creations. Nusrat also created the award-winning “The Music Experiment,” a live music franchise, collaborating with bands like Arcade Fire, Disclosure, and Taeyang.

Nusrat conceived and executive-produced “Madly,” Viacom’s first omnibus film about unusual love featuring works by top-notch global talent: Gael Garcia Bernal (Chile), SebastianSilva (USA), Mia Wasikowska (Australia), Anurag Kashyap (India), Sion Sono (Japan), and Natasha Khan (UK). The film was selected to open the Tribeca Film Festival and won Best Actress in its category. In 2019 Nusrat conceived and executive-produced “The American Heartland,” a series of short films about ordinary citizens engaged in extraordinary struggles in the small-town USA, artfully tackling themes like immigration, bigotry, inequality, capital punishment, indigenous languages, etc. In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, he directed his first feature documentary, “An American Prayer,” about the American dream that will premiere at the Black Nights Festival in Tallinn in November 2021.

Tom Freston, former Viacom Chairman, calls Nusrat “a sage when it comes to music and pop culture.” He is known for his cutting-edge creative sensibility, ability to forecast changes in culture, and identifying next-generation music and talent.

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Dr. Rakhshanda Jalil

Writer, Critic & Literary Historian

Dr. Jalil is a multi-award-winning translator, writer, and literary historian. She has published over 25 books and written over 50 academic papers and essays. Some of her books include: Liking Progress, Loving Change: A Literary History of the Progressive Writers Movement in Urdu (OUP, 2014); a biography of Urdu feminist writer Dr Rashid Jahan ARebel and her Cause (Women Unlimited, 2014); a translation of The Sea Lies Ahead, Intizar Husain's seminal novel on Karachi (Harper Collins,2015) and Krishan Chandar's partition novel Ghaddar (Westland, 2017), among others. She runs an organization called Hindustani Awaaz, devoted to the popularization of Hindi-Urdu literature and culture.

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Radha Chakravarty

Writer, Critic and Translator

Radha Chakravarty is a writer, critic and translator. She has co-edited The Essential Tagore (Harvard and Visva Bharati), nominated Book of the Year 2011. Her latest book, a Tagore collection called Shades of Difference (Social Science Press, 2015), comes with audiovisual material on DVD. Her Tagore translations include Gora, Chokher Bali, Boyhood Days, Farewell Song: Shesher Kabita and The Land of Cards . She was nominated for the Crossword Translation Award, 2004, for In the Name of the Mother by Mahasweta Devi. She has also edited several anthologies of South Asian writing. She is Professor of Comparative Literature & Translation Studies at Ambedkar University Delhi.

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Amish Tripathi


Described as ‘India’s first literary popstar’ by world-renowned film director Shekhar Kapur, Amish’s unique combination of crackling story-telling, religious symbolism and profound philosophies has made him an overnight publishing phenomenon, with spiritual guru Deepak Chopra hailing Amish’s books as ‘archetypal and stirring’.

Amish’s 4 books till now — The Immortals of Meluha (2010), The Secret of the Nagas (2011) and The Oath of the Vayuputras (2013), which collectively comprise the Shiva Trilogy and Scion of Ikshvaku (Part 1 of the Ram Chandra Series) (2015) — have over 3.5 million copies in print with gross retail sales of over Rs 100 crores.

His books have been translated into 16 Indian and International languages.

The Shiva Trilogy is the fastest selling book series in Indian history. Scion of Ikshvaku , the first book of the Ram Chandra Series, was the highest selling book of 2015. The Indian language translations of Amish's books have sold 5 lakh copies, breaking records in this space.

Post the launch of the Hindi edition of Scion of Ikshvaku which immediately followed the English launch, the Gujarati, Marathi and Malayalam editions have also hit the stands. More languages will be out shortly.

Notable Accolades

  • Forbes Magazine has listed Amish amongst the 100 most influential celebrities in India, four years in a row
  • Received the Society Young Achievers Award for literature
  • Man of the Year by Radio City
  • Communicator of the Year by PR Council of India
  • Pride of India Award (Literature)
  • Selected as an Eisenhower Fellow, a prestigious American programme for outstanding leaders from around the world.

Amish is a graduate of IIM-Calcutta and worked for 14 years in the financial services industry before turning to full-time writing. He lives in Mumbai with his wife Preeti and son Neel.

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Nirupama Dutt

Poet, Journalist & Translator

Nirupama Dutt is a poet, journalist, and translator of many seasons. She writes in both English and Punjabi as well as occasionally in Hindi. Her recent works include the biography of Punjab’s Dalit icon, ‘The Ballad of Bant Singh’ and translation into English of Gulzar’s anthology of poetry, Pluto, published by HarperCollins.

She received the Punjabi Akademi Award for her anthology of poems, Ik Nadi Sanwali Jahi (A Stream Somewhat Dark). Her poetry anthologies have also come out in English and Hindi: The Black Woman and Buri Auraton Ki Fehrist Se.Her other books include Stories of the Soil (translation of 41 stories from Punjabi, published by Penguin) Poet of the Revolution Books edited by her include Our Voices, an anthology of SAARC poetry, and Half the Sky and Children of the Night, two collections of Pakistani short stories. Her journalistic work is vast and has written thousands of articles, critiques and features over a long career. At present she is writing a Chandigarh novel.

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Dr. Bibek Debroy

Author, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India

ibek Debroy is an Indian economist, serving as the Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India. Debroy has made significant contributions to economic theory, income and social inequalities, poverty, law reforms, railway reforms and Indology among others. He is also an anchor for the fortnightly show Itihasa on Sansad TV. From its inception in January 2015, till June 2019, Mr. Debroy was a member of the NITI Aayog, the think tank of the Indian Government. He was awarded the Padma Shri (the fourth-highest civilian honour in India) in 2015. In 2016, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by US-India Business Summit. He is an author and a translator, best known for his magnificent rendition of the Mahabharata in ten volumes as well as the three-volume Valmiki Ramayana - both of which have been published to wide acclaim by Penguin Classics. He is also the author of Sarama and Her Children, which splices his interest in Hinduism with his love for dogs. Most recently, he translated the Bhagavata Purana and the Markandeya Purana for Penguin Classics. His recent book is Inked in India – Fountain Pens and A Story of Make and Unmake

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Chiki Sarkar


Chiki sarkar is the publisher of juggernaut books

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M K Raina

Theatre Actor, Director & Activist

M.K. Raina is a well-known theatre luminary, who has been working in the field of theatre for the last three and a half decades, innovating, studying, analysing, writing and teaching. He has worked extensively in both contemporary and tradition theatre in South Asia and has been instrumental in reviving the traditional folk theatre of Kashmir, the BHAND PATHER. He has been on the visiting faculty of several national and international Institutions, such as the National School of Drama, the Central University of Hyderabad, the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, and the University of Hawaii, USA, etc.

Apart from teaching theatre, M.K. Raina has also been involved in the academics of theatre and in this connection, has presented several papers in seminars, both national and international. He has been a fellow at the Stanford University, USA and a scholar-in-residence at the Jamia Milia Central University, New Delhi.

He is a well-known social and cultural activist and is a founder member of SAHMAT, a trust formed to promote communal harmony and social equality. He is also a trustee of the South Asia Foundation, India and Artistic Director of the theatre group, PRAYOG.

M.K. Raina has also made documentaries and films for various national institutions and for national channels. For his long term contribution to theatre, he has been the recipient of several awards including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awrd, the Sahitya Kala Parishad Samman, the Sanskriti Award and the B.V. Karanth Lifetime Achievement Award.

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Manjiri Prabhu

Writer, Film Maker & Director, PILF

Manjiri Prabhu is a Pune-based English Author, Film-maker and Lit Fest Founder/Director. Labelled 'Desi Agatha Christie', Dr. Manjiri Prabhu has published 8 books till date, two of which have been published by Bantam/Dell USA. The Cosmic Clues, The Cavansite Conspiracy, In the Shadow of Inheritance, The Astral Alibi, all have been critically acclaimed and acknowledged.

Dr. Prabhu holds a Doctorate in Communication Science and is an independent film-maker for Television and a writer. She has directed over 200 children's TV programmes and more than 50 short fiction and travel films.

Her thesis, converted into a book, titled Roles: Reel and Real, has become a rare reference book for students of Hindi cinema. Prabhu has been acknowledged as a pioneer in India among women writers of mystery fiction, and she has a diverse global fan following. She is also the first female mystery author to be published outside India.

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Surender Mohan Pathak

Crime Fiction Writer

Surender Mohan Pathak is considered the undisputed king of mystery writing in Hindi. He has recently completed 57 years while writing full length mystery novels and has been the flagbearer of popular literature in India. His first story ‘ 57 Saal Purana Aadmi ’ was published in monthly magazine ‘Manohar Kahaniyan’ in year 1959, whereas his first novel ‘ Purane Gunah Naye Gunahgaar ’ was published in 1963. He has written 275+ novels, 45+ short stories 15 novellas and 26 joke books in these fifty seven years. Some of his bestselling books have been translated in English and Gujrati. His books have transcended boundaries – from pulp to white paper and now on the screens of mobiles/tablets/kindle. His books are currently published by M/s Harper Collins India.

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Jerry Pinto

Writer, Poet and Journalist

Jerry Pinto is a Mumbai-based Indian English poet of Goa origin, novelist, short story writer, translator, as well as journalist. Pinto's works include Helen: The Life and Times of an H-Bomb (2006), which won the Best Book on Cinema Award at the 54th National Film Awards, Surviving Women (2000) and Asylum and Other Poems (2003). His first novel Em and the Big Hoom was published in 2012.Pinto won the Windham-Campbell prize in 2016 for his fiction. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2016 for his novel Em and the Big Hoom. He has also co-edited Confronting Love (2005), a book of contemporary Indian love poetry in English. He returned to magazine journalism as a Consulting Editor at Man's World magazine. Later, he joined Paprika Media (the publishing house that brings out Time Out Mumbai and Time Out Delhi) to edit their special projects. He is now a freelance journalist, writing articles for the Hindustan Times and Live Mint newspapers, as well as The Man and MW. In 2009, he co-authored Leela: A Portrait with Leela Naidu, a semi-biographical book of anecdotes and photos from Leela Naidu's life. Leela Naidu was continuously listed as one of top ten or top five most beautiful women in the world in the 1950s and 1960s by magazines like Vogue.He has translated several books from Marathi to English including Cobalt Blue, Baluta, When I Hid My Caste and I, the Salt Doll.

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Ameena Saiyid OBE


Ameena Saiyid, managing director, Oxford University Press, is the first woman in Pakistan to head a multinational and to be elected President of the Overseas Investors’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry in its 150 years’ history.

In 2005, she was awarded the OBE by the British Queen. In 2013, she was awarded Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, (Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature) by the Government of France.

She constructed the OUP office building in Karachi which is a celebration of Pakistani art, crafts, and culture.

She founded and organizes the annual Karachi Literature Festival and the Children’s Literature Festival.

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Maya Mirchandani


Maya Mirchandani is Foreign Affairs Editor and a Senior Anchor at NDTV- one of India's foremost, private, 24 hour news networks. She has been reporting for television since 1994, making her among the first generation of broadcast news journalists in the country.

An academic background mix of History, Mass Communications and International Relations from Delhi University, Sofia Polytechnic and the London School of Economics, respectively, has influenced her career spanning over two decades during which she continues to report on a range of issues-from environment to national politics, from human rights and conflict to her real forte, world affairs.

For Maya, the doors of diplomatic reporting haven't always open up peacefully. She survived a suicide bomb attack at President Chandrika Kumaratunga's election rally in 1999, reported on 9/11 as the planes hit the World Trade Center in New York and survived pro government mobs attacking the media during the Anti-Mubarak protests in Cairo, Egypt. From Moscow to Washington DC, Cairo to Islamabad, Freetown, Sierra Leone to Rangoon, and several places in between, Maya has travelled extensively, always in search of a good story to tell.

Maya has received several awards and accolades , including the Ramnath Goenka award for Excellence in Journalism twice and the Exchange for Media award for best International News Reporting to name a few.

Amongst her passions are music and the arts. Time permitting she learns Hindustani vocal music and takes the odd painting lesson. In fact, using the ‘soft power’ of the arts is an invaluable communications tool- one that Maya sorely wishes politicians and people around the world would use to build bridges.

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Deepak Rawat

District Magistrate, Nainital

Born and bought up in Mussoorie, Deepak did his schooling from Hampton Court and St. George's Mussoorie. He graduated with honours in History from Hans Raj College, Delhi University and went on to do Masters and M.Phil. from JNU. His M.Phil. theses was titled "Representing masculinity in the Mahabharata" and explored the gender equations within the epic.

Deepak joined IRS in 2005 and was selected as an IAS in 2007. He has held various key positions before being posted as District Magistrate of Nainital. He shares special bond with Kumaon as the former MD of Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN), the Tourism authority of the region.

An ardent lover of history and literature he loves trekking and bird-watching being a quintessential mountain person.

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Siddhartha Gigoo

Writer and Film Maker

Siddhartha Gigoo is a Commonwealth Prize-winning author. In 2015, he won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Asia) for his short story, The Umbrella Man. He has written two books of poetry, four novels— The Garden of Solitude, Mehr: A Love Story, The Lion of Kashmir, and Love in the Time of Quarantine—, and a book of short stories—A Fistful of Earth and Other Stories (long listed for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award 2015). He has also co-edited two anthologies, namely A Long Dream of Home: The Persecution, Exodus and Exile of Kashmiri Pandits and Once We Had Everything: Literature in Exile. In 2021, he won the New Asian Short Story Prize for his short story, Elephant’s Tusk.His short stories have been long listed for Lorian Hemingway Short Story Prize, Royal Society of Literature's V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize, and SeánO'Faoláin Short Story Prize.

Siddhartha's short films, The Last Day and Goodbye, Mayfly, have won several awards at international film festivals. His writings appear in various literary journals.

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Priyanka Chaturvedi

Indian Politician & Spokesperson, INC

Priyanka Chaturvedi is the National Spokesperson of the Indian National Congress. She is a regular on television channels on various issues on Indian politics, women empowerment, child rights, education and health. She was selected to be a part of a delegation of young political leaders chosen by the UK High Commission and CPA UK to visit London for better Indo-UK ties and to understand their democracy better. Recently a website named her amongst the top 10 upcoming Indian women politicians. Priyanka is a trustee of two NGOs that are closely working in the space of children's education and women empowerment. Priyanka contributes her opinion columns in various newspapers and online sites. Priyanka's book review blog is also amongst the top ten blogs on books in India. In 2015, she was nominated for and participated in Observer Research Foundation and Zeit Stiftung's programme Asian Forum on Global Governance.

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Dr. Bertrand de Hartingh

Director, French Insitute

An alumnus of France’s most prestigious university (ENS Ulm, alma mater of many Nobel Prizes such as Jean-Paul Sartre) he got his Ph.D. from Paris Sorbonne University with the highest honors.

Researcher, writer and diplomat, he has lived and worked in many American, European and Asian countries for various institutions (French Foreign Service, British DFID, World Bank, etc.). He speaks fluently 7 languages.

He is currently the Counsellor for Cooperation and cultural Affairs - director of the French Institute in India at the French Embassy and the Head curator for the next edition of Bonjour India.

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Ananth Padmanabhan


Anantha Padmanabhan is a Dog lover, Photographer, Novelist, Bibliophile, Bookseller and CEO at HarperCollins Publishers India.

His first work of fiction Play with Me, was published by Penguin in 2014.

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Afia Aslam

Writer & Co-Founder, Desi Writers' Lounge

A former development sector specialist, Afia Aslam has used her passion for education to inform and inspire her work at Desi Writers' Lounge , a project for writers from South Asia. As Editor of Papercuts literary magazine for over five years, Afia led the publication's drive to position itself as a platform for interesting, accessible literature, with a focus on developing new readers and writers. She lives in Karachi with her husband and two sons, and is working on her first novel.

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Yatindra Mishra

Poet & Writer

An award-winning poet, editor, music and cinema aficionado. A regular speaker at literature festivals and other prestigious forums, Yatindra has a large body of work behind him. He has written collections of Hindi poetry titled Yada-Kada, Ayodhya Tatha Anya Kavitayein, Dyorhi Par Aalaap and Vibhas. He has translated Bhairavi by the 12th century Lingayat mystic poet Akka Mahadevi; and written about the life and work of Thumri singer Girija Devi, danseuse Sonal Mansingh and Shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan. His most recent work includes Humsafar, which charts 100 years of music in Hindi cinema. He is currently writing a book on Indian playback singer Lata Mangeshkar.

He has been awarded Parampara Rituraj Samman, 
Rajiv Gandhi Rashtreeya Ekta Puraskar, New Delhi
Bharat Bhushan Agrawal Smriti Puraskar, New Delhi
Hemant Smriti Kavita Puraskar, Mumbai
 Bharateeya Bhasha Parishad Yuva Puraskar, Kolkata
 Independent Fellowship for Study on Ayodhya, New Delhi Raza Foundation Award, Raza Foundation, Jananpitha Fellowship.

Being a part of Doordarshan Kendra, New Delhi as an Advisor to D.D. Bharati Channel (May, 2014- April, 2015), launched new series for the talecast on D.D. Bharati with fellow advisor Smt. Kumud Diwan. They are Remembering Legends; Jewels of Hindustani Classical Music; Gunijan and other.

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Kishwar Desai

Columnist & Writer

Kishwar Desai is an Indian author and columnist. She is the Chair of TAACHT which is working towards setting up a Partition Museum. Her novel, Witness the Night, won the Costa First Novel Award, 2010 in the UK. She had worked in television and broadcast media for over two decades, as an anchor, producer and Channel Head. She writes columns for The Asian Age and a blog for DailyO, (India Today), and is working on a new book on Indian cinema.

Prior to writing three books of fiction, she wrote Darlingji: The True Love Story of Nargis and Sunil Dutt. The biography, based on interviews with the Dutt family and friends, explored their lives in detail and tells the larger story of the evolution of Hindi cinema, and a nation in the throes of change. Desai wrote the play, Manto!, based on the life of the famous Urdu writer, Saadat Hasan Manto, which won the TAG Omega Award for Best Play in 1999.

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Ravi Subramanian


Ravi Subramanian, an alumnus of IIM Bengaluru, has spent two decades working his way up the ladder of power in the amazinglyexciting and adrenaline-pumping world of global banks in India. For Ravi, The Bestseller She Wrote, marks the beginning of a new chapter in his writing. A significant departure from his usual fare, this is Ravi’s first book on romantic intrigue.

He is the award winning author of seven bestselling books :

  • If God was a Banker (2007)
  • I Bought the Monks Ferrari (2007)
  • Devil in Pinstripes (2009)
  • he Incredible Banker (2011)
  • he Bankster (2012)
  • Bankerupt (2013)
  • God is a Gamer (2014)

His 8th book, The Bestseller She Wrote released on October 19th 2015.

If God was a Banker won him the Golden Quill readers choice award in 2008. He also won the Economist Crossword Book Award for The Incredible Banker in 2012. "The Bankster", released in 2012 won him the Crossword Book Award in 2013. In 2014 he won the Raymond Crossword book award for Bankerupt.

He lives in Mumbai with his wife, Dharini, and daughter, Anusha.

To connect with him, log on to Facebook at or tweet to @subramanianravi. You can also stay in touch with him by downloading the Ravi Subramanian App on iOS or Android.

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Sudha Sadhanand


Sudha Sadhanand began her career in publishing and later went on to become one of the first bi-lingual anchors on an Indian TV channel. A post graduate in journalism, she has more than two decades of experience in the allied fields of communication and has held senior positions in -- India TV, Times Now, National Geographic Channel, and Big FM.

Sudha Sadhanand is presently Managing Editor with Westland Tata Books.

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Panini Anand

Journalist, Poet, Singer & Cook

Panini Anand is an activist and journalist based in Delhi. A poet, singer, cook, painter, commentator, traveler and photographer who has worked as a reporter, producer and editor for organizations including BBC, Catch news, Outlook and Rajya Sabha TV. An IIMC-New Delhi alumni who comes from Rae Bareli of UP, Panini has experimented with many mass mediums: theatre, street plays and slum-based tabloids, wallpapers to online, TV, radio, photography and print. Presently working as Senior Assistant Editor, India Today Group.

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Urmila Pawar


Born in the small village in Ratnagiri as the youngest child of a Dalit family. Urmila Pawar learned early in life the meaning of her subordination as a woman and as a Dalit. The lesson she learned about the needs of self-confidence, and the courage to overcome these forms of discrimination has stood her in good stead in her attempts to break barriers and reach to the stars. A prolific writer. Her Ten book has published including “Three Short Story Collection”, Some selected stories translated in English as “Mother Wit” by Prof. Veena Deo of Hamline University USA.She has won many prestigious prizes for her sensitive exploration of the lives of Dalit women in India. Her Autobiography ‘Aydaan’ is a part of Syllabus of the University of Columbia (USA) from 2009 and translated English, Hindi and Kannad language. Recently AAYDAN has been adopted for a Marathi play by legendry Marathi play director Sushma Deshpande and also in the process to be adopted in Hindi and English as well, in the form of a Play

“AAYDAN”is still continues to touch the heart of all lovers of Marathi literature.

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Nalin Mehta

Journalist & Writer

Nalin Mehta is a leading Indian social scientist, journalist and writer. He is Associate Professor at Shiv Nadar University, Consulting Editor with The Times of India, and Founding Editor of the international journal South Asian History and Culture (Routledge) as well as the Routledge ‘South Asian History and Culture’ book series. He is also Co-Director of Times Lit Fest Delhi and has previously been Managing Editor of India's Today Group's English TV news channel. He is Adjunct Professor at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and has held senior positions with the Global Fund in Geneva, Switzerland, and UNAIDS.

Nalin has won Asian Publishing Award for Best Book on Asian Media/Society for India on Television, 2009. He has also been awarded by the Government of Australia Alumni Excellence Award for Media and Entertainment, 2010. His book Behind a Billion Screens: What Television Tells Us About Modern India was Long-listed for Tata Literary Live Best Business Book of the Year, 2015.

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Mayank Shekhar

Film Critic & Writer

Mayank Shekhar is a broadcaster, journalist, and author. His latest book ‘Name Place Animal Thing’, non-fiction on India and popular culture, is a critically acclaimed bestseller.

Shekhar has been a widely read columnist and film critic for a decade and half, starting with Mid-day; Mumbai Mirror, a paper he helped set up under The Times of India Group; and Hindustan Times, where he served as National Culture Editor. His reviews, published in six languages, are currently syndicated to BBC.

As a film critic, Shekhar consults for various film festivals, and has served on several international and Indian juries, including, most recently, at the National Film Awards. He’s the first recipient of Ramnath Goenka Award for films and television journalism, and his book of reviews, ‘How I Met Your Movies’, will be published by Harper Collins this year.

Shekhar read economics at Delhi’s St Stephen’s College. He runs the pop-culture site, and is Entertainment Head at Mid-day newspaper in Mumbai.

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Nupur Sharma

Advocate & Member, BJP

Ms. Nupur Sharma is one of the youngest leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India. A litigating lawyer by profession she is often seen extrapolating her party’s views on various TV news channels and also regularly contributes to various publications.

Born and raised in Delhi, Nupur’s political journey started when she won the election of DUSU (Delhi University Students’ Union) President in the year 2008 and rose through the ranks of BJYM (BJP’s National Youth Wing) and BJP over the years. She represented her home constituency (New Delhi or N.D.M.C.) when she stood runner-up against Delhi’s incumbent Chief Minister in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections. She was recently awarded the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Ladies Organisation’s Young Woman Achiever Award (2015-2016) in the field of Politics.

Nupur has a degree in Economics from Hindu College (Delhi University), a degree in Law (LL.B.) from Faculty of Law (Delhi University) and an LL.M. (with Distinction) from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Aditi Maheshwari


Aditi Maheshwari holds Master's degrees in English Literature (Hansraj College, Delhi University) and Business Management (Strathclyde Business School, Scotland) and a pre-doctoral/ M.Phil. degree in Social Sciences (Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai). She also holds a diploma in Public Relations and Advertising. She heads the Department of Copyrights and Translation at Vani Prakashan and is the Managing Trustee at Vani Foundation.

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Kiran Manral

Former Journalist and Writer

Kiran Manral is a writer and major social media influencer. After quitting her full-time journalist’s job when her son was born, Kiran became a mommy blogger on the internet, with a remarkably original voice. She was a journalist at The Asian Age, The Times of India, features editor Cosmopolitan, India Cultural Lead and Trend spotter at Gartner Icon culture US, Senior Consultant at Vector Insights, Ideas Editor, SheThePeople.TV. Kiran is currently a celebrated author and an independent research and media consultant.She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards for Literary Contribution in 2017. The Indian Council of UN Relations (ICUNR) supported by the Ministry of Women and Children, Govt of India, awarded her the International Women’s Day Award 2018 for excellence in the field of writing. In 2021 she was awarded the Womennovator 1000 Women of Asia award. In 2022, she was named amongst the 75 Iconic Indian women in STEAM by Red Dot Foundation and Beyond Black, in collaboration with the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor, Government of India, and British High Commission, New Delhi.

Her novella, Saving Maya, was long-listed for the 2018 Saboteur Award, supported by the Arts Council of England in the UK. Her novels 'The Face At the Window’ and ‘Missing, Presumed Dead were both long-listed for Jio MAMI Word to Screen, and ‘The Face at the Window’ was showcased at the South Asian Film Festival 2019. The Kitty Party Murder was shortlisted for the Popular Choice award at the 2021 JK Papers TOI Author awards.Her other books include The Reluctant Detective, Once Upon A Crush, All Aboard, Karmic Kids-The Story of Parenting Nobody Told You, A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up, True Love Stories, 13 Steps to Bloody Good Parenting, Raising Kids with Hope and Wonder in Times of a Pandemic and Climate Change, More Things in Heaven and Earth and Rising: 30 Women Who Changed India. She also has published short stories in various magazines, in acclaimed anthologies like Have A Safe Journey, Boo, The Best Asian Speculative Fiction 2018, Grandpa’s Tales, Magical Women and City of Screams. Kiran lives in Mumbai with her family.

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Rishi Suri

Senior Editor, The Daily Milap

Rishi Suri is a senior editor covering international affairs at The Daily Milap, India’s oldest and largest circulated Urdu daily newspaper. He is an internationally recognized journalist known for his strong views and opinions on global politics and diplomacy. His interviews with various international personalities and heads of states and his articles on different subjects in India and the Middle East have been widely acclaimed and appreciated.

Rishi is one of the select few certified diplomatic correspondents by the Ministry of External Affairs in India and has been part of various international delegations and programs like the International Visitor Leadership program run by the State Department of the United States of America. Apart from being a Fellow (Media) with the Australia India Council and a Chevening Scholar in 2013, he is also involved in the planning boards of various national and international organizations like the Australia India Youth Dialogue in Sydney, the Global Partnerships Program run by the Tampa Bay City Council in Florida in the US, the Taj Colloquium in Agra, Uttar Pradesh and the Kumaon Literary Festival in Uttarakhand. Rishi also serves on the advisory boards of a couple of Delhi based NGO’s like the You Can Foundation and the Sarvam Foundation and also a news organization called Grin News.

Other than being an Editor, Rishi also plays an administrative role in the publication as he is part of the fourth generation of the family running the newspaper, started by Mahashay Khusal Chand Ji, later known as Mahatma Anand Swami Saraswati in Lahore (now in Pakistan) on the 13th of April, 1923. The Daily Milap was a social reformist newspaper and an instrument of social change while fighting tooth and nail for the freedom of the country. Gradually through the love of the people, Milap grew and prospered and, even in its current functioning carries with it many values which it has stood for over the years. It is this lineage which has greatly contributed to Rishi’s knowledge, personality and development of his thought process.

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Dr. Saif Mahmood

Lawyer, Urdu Afficiando & Poet

Saif Mahmood is a New Delhi-based literary personality, Urdu poetry and literature expert, culturist, commentator, critic, translator and rights activist. An Advocate of the Supreme Court of India, holding a doctorate in Comparative Constitutional Law in South Asia, he speaks and writes on diverse issues ranging from law to literature and is founder of the South Asian Alliance for Literature, Art & Culture (SAALARC).

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Sujata Parashar

Novelist, poet, Short story Writer & Activist

Sujata Parashar is a novelist, poet, short story writer and social activist. She has written seven books so far. Her debut novel, In Pursuit of Infidelity (2009) was a bestseller. She also has a poetry book series to her credit, titled, Poetry Out and Loud. Her latest book is a collection of short - stories, titled, That Woman You See (2015). She has won awards for her first poetry book and her first short - story.

Apart from these, Sujata is on the planning board of a couple of prestigious literature festivals of the country (Kumaon Literary Festival & Delhi Poetry Festival). She’s also a founding board member of Empowering Minds; a Delhi based NGO focusing on education and mental health issues and works with them on different social projects. She has also been selected for the Karamveer Chakra Award 2016- instituted by iCongo in association with the UN conferred to individuals who bring about positive social impact.


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Vikram Sampath

Bangalore based historian, Dr. Vikram Sampath is the author of six acclaimed books: Splendours of Royal Mysore: the Untold Story of the Wodeyars; "My Name Is Gauhar Jaan: The Life and Times of a Musician", "Voice of the Veena: S Balachander -­‐ A Biography" and "Women of the Records." His latest books are the two-volume biography--- "Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past" and "Savarkar: A Contested Legacy" from Penguin Random House India---both of which have gone on to become National Best Sellers and acclaimed by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

Dr. Sampath was recently conferred the honour of being elected as a Fellow of UK's prestigious Royal Historical Society. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi's first Yuva Puraskar in English literature and the ARSC International Award for Excellence in Historical research in New York for his book on Gauhar Jaan. The book has also been adapted to theatre as a play "Gauhar" by Lillette Dubey and is being adapted to a Bollywood film by Ashutosh Gowariker. Dr. Sampath was among the 4 writers and artists to be selected as a Writer-in-Residence at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in 2015.

He has a Doctorate in history & music from the University of Queensland, Australia and was a Senior Research Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. He is also an Aspen Global Leadership Fellow and an Eisenhower Global Fellow 2021. An Engineer/mathematician from BITS-­Pilani and an MBA in Finance from S. P. Jain, Mumbai, Dr. Sampath is also a trained Carnatic vocalist. He has established the Archive of Indian Music, India's first digital sound archive for vintage recordings, is the Founder-­Director of the Bangalore Literature Festival, Indic Thoughts Festival and 'ARTH-­‐ A Culture Fest'.

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Sumant Batra

Lawyer, Author and Founder -Kumaon Literary Festival

An insolvency lawyer of international repute, social commentator and thought leader, Sumant Batra is Past President of INSOL International, the youngest and the only Asian to have achieved that fete. As senior international insolvency consultant to the World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund, OECD and other developmental institutions, he has worked extensively on policy matters in Africa, Eastern Europe, Middle East and South Asia. Rated as India's No. 1 insolvency lawyer by Legal 500 for many consecutive years, Sumant is recognised by Global Restructuring Review as one the top 30 restructuring lawyers in the world. His contributions in the development of Indian insolvency law and industry is well recognised. The only Indian lawyer with over 25 years of experience in insolvency at global and Indian level, Sumant is the author of the best seller book, Corporate Insolvency – Law & Practice. He is the President of SIPI – the think tank of the insolvency industry.

A cultural champion, Sumant is the founder and architect of a number of innovative creative projects to promote the Indian heritage, culture, art and literature. He is the Co-founder of Indian Cinema Heritage Foundation.

He is the author of the two bestselling books – An Actor’s Actor: An Authorized Biography of Sanjeev Kumar; and The Indians.

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Rana Ayyub

Journalist & Writer

Rana ayyub, 33 is a political affairs and investigative journalist and has recently self published her best selling book Gujarat Files. Rana in her decade long career in journalism has worked with top news channels in the country and is a former editor with Tehelka

Living between Mumbai and Delhi she is now an independent journalist who is a regular contributor to NDTV , Huffington Post and Outlook besides appearing on various international shows as a current affairs analyst. Her investigation on the fake encounters in Gujarat not just sent the first serving home minister of a state behind bars but also got her the coveted Sanskriti award for excellence in journalism in 2010.In the year 2011 she was named as the 50 most influential Muslims in post independent India by a leading tabloid.

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Akshay Manwani

Biographer & Columnist

Akshay Manwani turned to freelance writing in 2009. He has since written on Indian cinema and popular culture for a variety of publications such as The Caravan, The Indian Quarterly,, Mint, Business Standard and Mumbai Mirror.

Akshay’s first book, Sahir Ludhianvi: The People's Poet, was published in December 2013 by HarperCollins Publishers India. In 2014, Akshay won the RedInk award for Best Lifestyle and Entertainment Story, given out by the Press Club Mumbai, for his detailed feature on B.R. Chopra's Mahabharata television series. His next book - Music, Masti, Modernity: The Cinema of Nasir Husain - will be published by HarperCollins Publishers India in October 2016. Akshay lives with his daughter and wife in Mumbai.

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Shinie Antony

Short Fiction Writer

Shinie Antony is a short story writer. She has written four books of short fiction - The Orphanage For Words, Barefoot and Pregnant, Séance on a Sunday Afternoon and Planet Polygamous, and the novels When Mira Went Forth and Multiplied and Kardamom Kisses. She has compiled the anthologies Kerala, Kerala, Quite Contrary and Why We Don’t Talk. Co-founder of the Bangalore Literature Festival, she won the Commonwealth Short Story Asia region prize in 2003 for her story A Dog’s Death. Her latest work is an Amar Chitra Katha novel - A Kingdom For His Love.

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Tuhin Sinha


Tuhin A. Sinha is among the best-selling authors in India, a columnist and a screenwriter.

Tuhin is acknowledged among the most prolific Indian writers with a maverick knack to experiment with new genres. While his first book, That Thing Called Love (2006) was an offbeat romance, The Captain (2008) was a cricket thriller that explored the underbelly of modern cricket. Of Love And Politics (2010) was a political thriller. His fourth and fifth books The Edge Of Desire (2012) and its sequel, The Edge of Power (2013) can be called socio-political thrillers with a strong feminist skew.

Daddy(2014) ​ was Tuhin's sixth book and his first non-fiction narrative.

Daddy is India's first parenting book from a Dad's perspective and celebrates new age fatherhood. Let the Reason Be Love is Tuhin's latest book.

Other than his novels, Tuhin has co-authored the book India Aspires with ​Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping​, Nitin Gadkari.

Tuhin is also a screenwriter of several popular TV shows, a columnist and blogger. At present, is a consultant with Reliance Broadcast, in- charge of new programming initiatives for their TV channel, Big Magic.

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Vidya Shah

Indian Singer, Musician, Social Activist & Writer

VIDYA SHAH is a composer, musician, and writer from New Delhi, India. She was initially trained in Carnatic music, and later received guidance in the North Indian genres of Khayal (from Shubha Mudgal and Mujahid Hussain Khan) and Thumri Dadra, and Ghazal (from Shanti Hiranand). She has performed at national and international forums, including the Tansen Samaroh in Gwalior, The Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C, The Asia Society in New York and the British Museum in London.

A popular performer and a prolific composer, she is a recipient of the Charles Wallace Award and a Senior Fellowship from the Government of India for her project "Women on Record", a performance highlighting the contributions of the forgotten women performers in the Gramophone era. Her special performances include The Last Mughal (In performance) with author William Dalrymple, "Akhtari- the Life of Begum Akhtar" with Actor/Story Teller Danish Husain, and "Bas Tu Hii"a rendition of Mystic Poetry.

She is the Nana Shirgaonkar Chair For Classical music at Goa University for the year 2016-17. She writes and speaks on music and is the Author of Jalsa: Indian Women's Journey from the Salon to the Studio (Tulika Books)

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Dinesh Trivedi

Member of Parliament

Illustrious and articulate, Dinesh Trivedi is an Indian politician from the All India Trinamool Congress and current Member of Parliament in the Lower House representing Barrackpore, West Bengal.

A former Union Railway Minister, Dinesh studied in an elite boarding school in Shimla and Solan in Himachal Pradesh. He graduated from Kolkata's St Xavier's College and then went on to get an MBA from Austin, Texas in US.

Trivedi is the founder member and first general secretary of the Trinamool.

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Rakhee Bakshee

TV Anchor

Rakhee Bakshee is a broadcasting professional and social entrepreneur with over fifteen years of experience in the public sphere. She is the Senior Show host on Rajya Sabha TV handling Political Shows including the very popular "The Quest" and the Director of Women’s Feature Service (WFS), the only women's features syndicate in New Delhi. Prior to this, Ms. Bakshee was appointed as the Media Advisor for the office of the Speaker, Lok Sabha. She was also the Senior Correspondent for Dooradarshan and handled Jammu and Kashmir Bureau while working with Zee News. As an independent Print Journalist, Ms. Bakshee has written for The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Pioneer among other prominent publications.

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Abhay Kumar Dubey

Writer, Scholar, Translator & Editor

A social science scholar, translator, editor and a TV commentator. Currently a professor at Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, he directs Centre’s Indian Languages Programme, and edits Pratiman Samay Samaj Sanskriti, a refereed journal of social sciences and humanities. He is working on Indian Maoist movement as well as on the hitherto unexplored structures of linguistic imperialism in India. Known for his extensive research about the configurations of Hindi's modernity, under his stewardship the Indian Languages Programme of the Centre has published number of anthologies, translated and self-contained original works in last fourteen years. One of his earlier works, the study of changing face of Naxalite politics, became a best seller and has seen several reprints. In nineties he edited Samay Chetna, a reputed monthly of ideas and analysis; and wrote prolifically in various journals. Recently he has published three books, namely Hindi Mein Ham, Secular/Sampradayik, and Footpath Par Kamsutra, and compiled the enormous Samaj-Vigyan Vishwakosh, a six-volume Hindi encyclopaedia of social sciences and humanities.

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Dr. Binod Chaudhary

Businessman & Writer

Dr Binod Chaudhary is a Nepalese businessman, industrialist and philanthropist. He is the Chairman of CG Corp Global, a multinational conglomerate, with a portfolio of 122 companies, spread over 5 continents with 76 renowned brands in the global market. He is an internationally respected name in FMCG as the man behind Wai Wai noodles, the most iconic brand from CG. His other business interests include electronics, hospitality, infrastructure, education, telecom and realty, which are among the fifteen business verticals, he runs with CG. The Group’s assets include a controlling stake in Nepal’s largest private-sector commercial bank, Nabil Bank and a string of hotels, and JV’s with the Taj Hotels, Palaces & Resorts, Alila, Fern and The Farm at San Benito, to name a few prominent brands. Chaudhary is also the first, and only billionaire from Nepal, as listed by Forbes.

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Dr. Asif Farrukhi

Editor, Translator & Writer

Fiction-writer, critic and translator, Asif Farrukhi was born in Karachi. A public health physician by training, he was educated at the Dow Medical College, Karachi and the Harvard University, USA. Known for short stories and essays, seven collections of his short fiction and two collections of critical essays have been published. He has published translations of prose and poetry from modern and classical writers. His recent publications include a collection of new critical essays on Manto and Look At The City From Here , an anthology of writings about Karachi, published by OUP. He is working on a book length study of Intizar Husain.

Asif Farrukhi contributes regularly to the English- language press. Two of his adaptations have been staged in Karachi. He is the editor of Duniyazad, a literary journal of new writing and contemporary issues in Urdu.

Asif Farrukhi has presented papers and participated in literary events at home as well as abroad. He is a founder member of the Karachi Literary Festival and the Islamabad Literature Festival. For his distinguished work, he was awarded the Prime Minister’s Literary Award by the Pakistan Academy of Letters in 1997 and the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan.

Asif Farrukhi lives and writes in Karachi. He became associated with the Habib University, Karachi as the Director of the Arzu Centre for regional Languages and Humanities. He is a Visiting faculty member of the Aga Khan University, Karachi. Currently he is the Dean, School of Arts and Humanities, Habib University.

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Hindol Sengupta

Economist and Writer

Hindol Sengupta is an Indian historian and journalist. He is the award winning author of none books. In 2019, In 2019, his book The Man Who Saved India – Sardar Patel and his Idea of India won the prize for best work of non-fiction at the Valley of Words literary festival in India. In 2018, he became the only Indian to win the Wilbur Award given by the Religion Communicators Council of America for his book Being Hindu. In 2015, his book Recasting India was shortlisted for the Hayek Prize given by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative American think-tank. He was also awarded the PSF Award in 2015 for his contribution to writing. His books have been reviewed over multiple media outlets. Sengupta lives in Delhi and is Editor-at-Large at Fortune India where he writes a weekly column. He is also a columnist for Aspen Italia and The New Indian Express.

In 2017, he was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He is a co-founder of the Whypoll Trust which garnered media attention after mapping places in Delhi that were dangerous for women, and following up with releasing an emergency smartphone-app.

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Anu Singh Choudhary

Journalist, Writer & Documentary Film Maker

Anu Singh Choudhary, a celebrated author in Hindi, is also an accomplished screenwriter. Her experience as a documentary filmmaker and award-winning journalist make her stories an authentic chronicle of the zeitgeist. Anu has written extensively across mediums: print, radio, TV, films and digital. As a Screenwriter, Anu has co-written AARYA Season 1 and Season 2. She has also co-written the critically acclaimed Disney+Hotstar series 'GRAHAN', inspired by a Hindi novel 'Chaurasee', and is now writing the Hindi adaptation of the Malayalam masterpiece 'The Great Indian Kitchen'. As the co-founder of Dopamine Media, Anu has written and directed 'The Good Girl Show', a 5-part series for YouTube, and has co-produced 'Alma Matters: Inside the IIT Dream', a 3-part docu-series now streaming on Netflix. Her books 'Neela Scarf', 'Mamma Ki Diary' and 'Bhali Ladkiyaan, Buri Ladkiyaan' are all considered bestsellers. She has also translated well-known authors such as Perumal Murugan, Namita Gokhale, Paulo Coelho, Vir Sanghvi and Anuja Chauhan into Hindi. She has been awarded Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism and Laadli Media and Advertising Awards for her stories in "Gaon Connection".

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Neeraj Kumar

Former Commissioner of Police Delhi

Neeraj Kumar is a 1976 batch IPS officer who retired as the Commissioner of Police, Delhi. In his career spanning thirty-seven years, Kumar cracked several high profile cases and brought dreaded gangsters, economic offenders and terrorists to book. He participated in the security arrangements during Asian Games, 1982 and the Commonwealth Games, 2010. Kumar led the CBI investigations into the Bombay bomb blasts of 1993 and arrested 7 members of the Memon family and 16 other absconders wanted in the case. He cracked the Meenakshi Temple blast case and unearthed the terror outfit Ahle Hadees. He is credited with the arrest and deportation of American Center attacker Aftab Ansari from Dubai and Gujarat’s underworld don Abdul Lateef. As CP, Delhi he unearthed and led the investigations into spot fixing in IPL 6 that indicted three high profile Indian cricketers. The case led to the appointment of Mudgal Committee followed by the Lodha Committee to go into malpractices in Indian cricket.

Kumar is the recipient of police medals for meritorious and distinguished services and is one of the most distinguished police officers of the country. He is presently serving as Chief Advisor to the BCCI in their Anti Corruption & Security Unit. Dial D for Don is his first book that recounts 11 riveting police operations conducted during his nine-year stint in the CBI.

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Pankaj Dubey

Film Director & Screen Play Writer

Pankaj Dubey is a Bestselling Penguin Novelist with his titles What A Loser! and Ishqiyapa-To Hell With Love . He accentuates the socio - political undercurrents with quirks and humour in his style of writing. He was recently selected for the prestigious Writer’s Residency in Seoul Art Space, South Korea amongst three Novelists from Asia. He has also been a Journalist with the BBC World Service in London . His debut novel, What a Loser! won the ‘ Lit-O-Fest Award for the Best First Published Book of an Author in 2015 ’. He is based out of Mumbai and can be followed on his twitter handle

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Prabhat Ranjan

Translator, Editor & Writer

Fiction writer, translator and editor, Prabhat Ranjan is writer of ‘Kothagoi’, first book in hindi on the history of tawaif tradition. Has published two collections of short stories ‘Janaki Pul’ and ‘Bolero Class’. and has translated 18 books included Anne Frank’s Diary, Mohsin Hamd’s novel Moth Smoke, Khushwant singh’s book ‘Khushwantnama’, etc. Awarded the Sahara Samay Katha Samman, Premchand Samman. ABP news best blogger award for the year 2014 for his blog ‘janki pul’. Krishna baldev vaid fellowship for his writing, 2013 . Recently received first ‘dwarika Prasad Agrawal bhaskar yuva puraskar’ of rupees one lakh for the book ‘kothagoi’ during Jaipur literature festival.

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Santosh Desai

Columnist & Writer

MD & CEO of Futurebrands India Limited, Santosh is one of India's best-known social commentators. He is author of 'City City Bang Bang', a weekly column in The Times of India that looks at contemporary Indian society from an everyday vantage point. It covers issues big and small, tends where possible to avoid judgmental positions, and tries instead to understand what makes things the way they are.

He is the author of Mother Pious Lady - Making sense of Everyday India. The book is about a new India that is visibly emerging from within the folds of its many pasts. An IIM Ahmedabad post-graduate with 21 years of experience, he is former President of McCann-Erickson, India. He conducts workshops and seminars on a broad range of subjects in marketing for companies and educational institutions in India and abroad. He has addressed the global management boards of several multinationals including Hershey's, Microsoft, Philip's, Unilever, Coke and Reckitt Benckiser.

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Vishwesh Desai


Vishwesh Desai is a 15-year-old with a fierce passion for reading and writing. He prefers to call himself a full-time reader and a part-time student.

The publication of his short stories in the Estrade literary magazine and the 2015 ‘I CAN’ book preceded his debut novel, Shadows of the Northlands , a fantasy fiction, which has a foreword by noted author Ashok Banker.

Words, written or spoken, are his strength. Apart from his writing, he’s a regular participant and winner at Model United Nations conferences. His creative streak extends to painting and sketching, and he has a few art exhibitions under his belt.

Vishwesh lives with his family in Ahmedabad, India.

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Shahid Siddiqui

Journalist & Former Member, Rajya Sabha

Shahid Siddiqui , opened his eyes in the old traditional cultural and literary atmosphere of Ballimaran, the street where Mirza Ghalib used to reside. He was born on 15th august 1951 in Haveli Hissamuddin. He literally opened his eyes in a newspaper office because at that time his father a famous Urdu writer and a leader of the Independence movement, Maulana Abdul Waheed Siddiqui’s residence was on the first floor of the house from where Nai Duniya was published. When children played ankh micholi, Shahid was playing with pen and qalam, listening to the mushairas organized in the angan (courtyard)of Nai duniya office every Saturday.

Great poets like Josh Malihabadi, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Firaq Gorakhpuri, and Jigar used to visit the office whenever they were in Delhi. Nai Duniya office at that point was the centre of all literary, political and cultural activities in the old city.

Shahid Siddiqui got both traditional Islamic education and modern English education. He was a vociferous reader from a very early age. He read Shakespear, Maugham, O’henry, Dickens and other English literary writers at a very young age .He started writing at the age of 10. Translated many stories and novels from English into Urdu, and wrote articles in Huma Urdu digest. He translated Jules Verne’s around the world in 60 days, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering heights and many other books from English.

Shahid Siddiqui did his high school from Anglo Arabic School Delhi and graduated from Delhi College in Political Science. He did his masters from University of Delhi in 1974. He created a new record in political philosophy by breaking the record of Dr. Karan Singh and getting 86.5% marks. He was immediately offered lecturer ship in Deshbandhu College Delhi. He taught political science from 1974 to 1986 when he resigned due to his busy schedule as a journalist.

Shahid was involved with the publication of Huma Digest from the very first day. He published a unique and path breaking fortnightly Waqiat in 1970 when he was a student of first year in Delhi College. He launched Weekly Nai Duniya in 1973 when he was in the previous year of his masters at Delhi University. Since then he has written thousands of articles for Nai Duniya. He has interviewed every Indian prime minister and major political leader from Late Indra Gandhi to Narendra Modi. He has traveled extensively and his travelogues have been published. Shahid Siddiqui also hitch hiked around the country in 1970 covering more than 6000 kilometers from Delhi to Kolkata and Chennai, and wrote his diary which was published in Huma. Shahid Siddiqui went to jail many times for his fearless and honest writings.

Shahid has also been involved in politics from his student days. He was one of the founder members of SFI in Delhi University. He was actively involved with number of political groups opposing emergency. He went to jail many times for his writings and raising his voice for the cause of minorities and down trodden. He was pulled into active politics by Late Rajiv Gandhi and joined Congress Party. He was the Chairman of the Congress Minority Cell from 1996-1999. He joined Samajwadi party in 1999 and was appointed its general secretary in 2000. He was member of the upper house {Rajya Sabha} from 2002 -8.

He has retired from active politics and devoting himself to social work, educational upliftment of minorities and writing fiction. His first English novel “The Golden Pigeon” was published in 2014 by Harper Collins India. He has travelled extensively all over Europe, Asia, Africa and America. He has covered all great civilizations from Macho Pichu to Xian, Babylon, Persepolis, and Nimrud to Mohinjo Daro and written about them.

Political Career:

Shahid Siddiqui has been involved in political activities from his student days. He was the founder member of Student Federation of India, in Delhi University.

He joined the Congress Party in 1991 and held many organizational posts including that of the Chairman Minority Department of the party.

He joined the Samajwadi Party in 1999 and was its National General Secretary from 2000-2008. He was also elected to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of Indian Parliament in 2002.

He contested the Parliament election in 2009 from Bijnore in U.P.

He was the vice-chairman of National Council for promotion of Urdu language.

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Ali Akbar Natiq

Poet & Writer

Ali Akbar Natiq was born in a village near Okara, Pakistan. He post graduated from Bhaudin Zakriya University, Multan, Pakistan. He is a celebrated Urdu poet, story writer and novelist enjoying a global fame. His first collection of poetry "Bewaqeen Bastion Main" appeared in 2010 followed by a book of short stories “Qaim Deen” published by Oxford Press in 2012. Penguin India published the English version of the aforementioned collection of the short stories in 2014 titled “what will you give for this beauty?” Whereas in 2013 he also came up with another book of poems "Yaqqot kay Warq". International Literary magazine Garanta also published his story “Masons Hand” in 2012. His last published work was a novel “Naulakhi Kothi” which is being translated in English and is expected to be published by Penguin India and America. Some of his short stories are being staged in Mumbai under Prithvi Theater. These days Mr. Natiq is working on publishing two more books, one regarding poetry and the other short stories. Like his previous poetry works, both of his upcoming poetry collections are being translated in Hindi, German and English by Juggernaut Publishing, India. Beside poetry and fiction, Ali Akbar Natiq is also wiring a critical account on Alama Muhammad Iqbal's poetry and a book aiming at discussing the critical aspects of the art of versification.

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Sudeep Sen

Poet & Editor

Sudeep Sen’s prize-winning books include Postmarked India: New & Selected Poems (HarperCollins), Rain, Aria (A. K. Ramanujan Translation Award), The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry (editor), Fractals: New & Selected Poems | Translations 1980-2015 (London Magazine Editions) and EroText (Vintage: Penguin Random House). Blue Nude: New Poems & Ekphrasis (Jorge Zalamea International Poetry Prize) is forthcoming. Sen’s works have been translated into over 25 languages. His words have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, Newsweek, Guardian, Observer, Independent, Telegraph, Financial Times, Herald, Poetry Review, Literary Review, Harvard Review, Hindu, Hindustan Times, Times of India, Indian Express, Outlook, India Today, and broadcast on bbc, pbs, cnn ibn, ndtv, air & Doordarshan. Sen’s newer work appears in New Writing 15 (Granta), Language for a New Century (Norton), Leela: An Erotic Play of Verse and Art (Collins), Indian Love Poems (Knopf/Random House/Everyman), Out of Bounds (Bloodaxe), and Initiate: Oxford New Writing (Blackwell). He is the editorial director of AARK ARTS and the editor of Atlas. Sen is the first Asian honoured to speak and read at the Nobel Laureate Week. The Government of India awarded him the senior fellowship for “outstanding persons in the field of culture/literature.”

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Shelly Bhoil

Poet & Writer

Shelly Bhoil is a Brazil-based academic and writer. Her poetry has featured in journals such as the Postcolonial Text, Dance Macabre, Blackmail Press, Asia Writes, Tayo literary magazine, and anthologies such as 40 under 40, Poetry Israel, and Poetry of Yoga. She was an honorable mention in the FLEFF checkpoint story contest in Ithaca univ and winner of Tahoe Safe alliance poetry contest in 2011. She co-edited the Muse India edition on Tibetan English writings, and is currently working on a book of essays on Tibetan Exile Narratives to be published by Lexington, besides her second poetry book titled Laatoo.

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Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi

Member of Parliament

Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi is an Indian politician belonging to Indian National Congress party, he is also a Member of the Parliament of India representing Rajasthan in the Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Indian Parliament. He was formerly the spokesperson of the Congress party.

Dr. Singhvi was born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan to Kamla and Laxmi Mall Singhvi, he obtained B.A.(Hons.), M.A., Ph.D., PIL educated at St. Stephen's College, Trinity College, Cambridge and Harvard University. He completed his Ph.D. under constitutional lawyer Sir William Wade of Cambridge University. The topic of his doctoral dissertation at Cambridge University was on Emergency Powers.

He was awarded and acknowledged by the Global Leader of Tomorrow Award in 1999. He was invited to hold lectures on Federalism in 2007, with that lecture being printed in the IIPA journal apart from the best essay.

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Hartman de Souza


Hartman de Souza has a varied background in theatre, education and journalism, and has lived and worked in Goa, Pune, Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore. A former features editor with Patriot newspaper, New Delhi, he has worked with several theatre groups in the country and was till September 2015 the artistic director of the Space Theatre Ensemble, Goa, a professionally managed repertory company that tours ten months of the year to various parts of the country. Hartman is working on his second book, a sequel to Eat Dust – Mining and Greed in Goa, that looks at the destruction of Goa's coastline.

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Maheep Singh

Stand Up Comedian

A humorist, writer, lyricist, stand-up comedian, thespian, actor, script writer, director, producer.

Founder of New Delhi Comedy Club.

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Anant Vijay

Senior Journalist and Author

Anant Vijay is a National Award winning Journalist and Author. Presently working with Dainik Jagran, his journalism experience spans more than two decades across TV and Print, writing mainly on the Cinema, politics of Culture and Literature. His weekly column has been running for 12 years in Dainik Jagran, the largest read newspaper in India. Writing with consummate ease, he’s authored 12 books across genres. His Book Bollywood Selfie was the best seller. His latest book Amethi Sangram became a best seller within a week of its launch. A keen student of the Hindi language, Anant has organized literature festivals, been part of Hindi literary bodies playing active advisory roles, been on editorial boards, been a Jury Chairman at the National Film Awards twice, Chairman of the selection Jury (Konkani Films) of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2019 and Member of Jury, 75 Creative Minds, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 2021. He has actively engaged with academia to train the next generation journalists/writers across educational institutes of repute. Apart from the National Award, Anant Vijay is the recipient of the most prestigious Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Award and Father Camille Bulcke Award.

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Balaji Ramachandran

Co-Founder, Nostalgiaana

Film music has been a part of Balaji's growing days in Mumbai and the influence in his life. With a keen ear for the light genre of music his life mission is to spread the goodness of this genre from which he has himself benefitted.

He is currently an independent Management Consultant and Entrepreneur. He has over 22 years of work experience in corporate environment with Travel eCommerce and Consumer Durable companies.

Balaji represents Nostalgiaana, a team made of Corporate Professionals with a deep passion for Hindi Film Music & Indian Film Music. Their mission is to showcase the vast and rich legacy of film music as an "Art Form".

The team takes pride in conducting various shows to highlight nuances of a film song / film songs which they believe, also, helps to grow and build a community of music lovers!

After various onsite and online shows for leading Corporates like Au Bank, YES bank, AXIS Bank, RpTech and Ifast Financials, Nostalgiaana has revived the Radio Nostalgia of Retro Hindi film songs through specially curated online shows, served to more than 300 dedicated members. These shows are running for nearly 2 years now.

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Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari

Indian Filmmaker, Writer, Author, Artist

Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari is an Indian filmmaker, writer, author, artist, an upcoming producer and learner for life. Ashwiny started her career as a creative consultant for films like Children's Party (2011) and Bhoothnath Returns (2014). After winning prestigious awards like the 'Dada Saheb Phalke Award for Best Short Film' (2013) and 'Special Jury Award for Best Director & Screenplay' (2013) for her short film titled 'What's for Breakfast', she made her foray into Bollywood as a director. Her first feature film, Nil Battey Sannata (2015), later remade in Tamil as Amma Kanakku (2016) were highly acclaimed. 'Nil Battey Sannata' (2016) was loved by audience and critics alike and helped spread the message of education for all. It won several awards, nationally and internationally including awards such as 'Best Debut Director' at Filmfare Awards (2017) as well as 'Best Story' at Star Screen Awards (2017) for the same. The film was also screened at renowned international film festivals such as, London Film festival, Rome Film Festival, Toronto Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Cleveland Film Festival, alongside others. Her film Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017), that won several popular and critically acclaimed awards including the 'Best Director' award at Filmfare Awards (2018) and Zee Cine Awards (2018) respectively. Her latest film, Panga (2020) was critically acclaimed. With Her short film Ghar ki Murgi (Taken for Granted) Ashwiny represented India at the BRICS film festival, it also found a place at the Shangai International festival. Ashwiny holds the recognition of being one of the five female directors from BRICS countries to be selected to showcase their respective work during the fest and spread the message of equality.

In the year 2020, Ashwiny was selected by Forbes Magazine as 'A self-made woman of India'.

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Bhupendra Chaubey


Bhupendra Chaubey started his career as a TV journalist with NDTV in the year 2000. In 2005, he left NDTV and became a part of the team that started CNN IBN. As a political journalist he has travelled the length and breadth of the country covering three general elections and assembly elections of most states.

A graduate in Mathematics and post graduate in film studies, Bhupendra has been among the finest political journalists of his generation. He has that unique ability to grasp things at micro level and present them with macro level insights. He is amongst those journalists who depend more on their ground level political awareness, supplementing it with academic knowledge of issues that confront the nation.

Bhupendra was the Executive Editor of CNN IBN and hosted their prime time broadcast “India at 9” before turning a Consulting Editor to try his hands at new journalistic platforms.

He now hosts a weekend interview show “Hot Seat” where he puts tough questions to key newsmakers.

He regularly writes columns for various English and Hindi newspapers and magazines. He also writes for several digital platforms.

He lives in the national capital with his wife and two children.

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Justice A K Sikri

Judge, Supreme Court of India

Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri is a judge of the Supreme Court of India.

Sikri has an excellent academic record. He stood third in the merit list in Higher Secondary from CBSE, Delhi. He completed his B.Com (Honors) from Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi in 1974, He completed his LL.B. from Faculty of Law, University of Delhi in 1977 and won a gold medal for attaining first position. He completed his LLM from Delhi University and stood first in the three-year course.

He started practicing in Delhi with specialization in Constitutional cases, Labour - Service Matters and Arbitration matters. He was counsel for numerous Public Sector Undertakings, Educational Institutions, Banks & Financial Institutions and various Private Sector Corporations. He has served as Vice-President, Delhi High Court Bar Association and Senior Advocate, Delhi High Court.

He was chosen as one of the 50 most influential persons in Intellectual Property in the world in a survey conducted by Managing Intellectual Property Association (MIPA) for 2007.

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Mona Verma

Poet & Writer

Mona Verma is a writer based in Hardwar, Uttarakhand. She did her Philosophy Honours from Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi. She was born in Hardwar and brought up by her grandparents.

At a very early age, Mona turned to books and rediscovered a world that accepted her as its own. As the years passed the book reader turned into a book writer.

She has published three books. Her first book "A Bridge to Nowhere was released by Sir Ruskin Bond in 2009 at Dehradun.

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Neeraj Jain


Born and brought up in Delhi, Neeraj has a keen interest in sports and Music. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in commerce from Hansraj college, University of Delhi, chartered Accountancy from Institute of Chartered Accountancy in India, CMA and CFM from Institute of Management Accountants, USA and Executive MBA from ISB, Hyderabad. While doing his Executive MBA he attended programs in FDC Brazil, Kellogg School of Management and Wharton Business School in USA.

Though a finance specialist by training, he discovered his interest in reading and education once he joined Scholastic. Since 2002 he has been working closely with the global teams of Scholastic to bring out the best books, reading programs, proven pedagogy, and latest developments to support the changing face of education in the Indian classroom. He has been involved in conducting focussed group session on reading with school principals in different parts of India. He has been a part of various principals and business conferences as speaker and moderator. Neeraj has also been on the Steering Committee of “Excellence in School Education” an initiative by IIT Delhi.

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Nicolas Idier

Head, French Book Office at French Institute in India

Nicolas Idier has been the Head of the Book Office at the Institut Français en Inde since September 2014, after having held the same position in Beijing at the Embassy of France in China for four years. A specialist in history and a Doctor of the Université Paris-Sorbonne, Nicolas Idier is also a fiction and non-fiction author.

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Piyush Jha

Film Director, Screen Play Writer & Novelist

Piyush Jha is an acclaimed film director, ad filmmaker and the author of bestselling crime-fiction novels.

A politically active student-leader at university, he pursued a career in advertising management after acquiring an MBA degree. Later, he switched tracks, first to make commercials for some of the country’s largest brands, and then to write and direct feature films.

Piyush’s films Chalo America, King of Bollywood and Sikandar are noted for the unconventionality of the themes and for their relevance to contemporary society.

Piyush’s novels Mumbaistan, Compass Box Killer, Anti-Social Network and Raakshas- India’s No. 1 Serial Killer are page-turners that explore the gritty, noir landscape of crime-fiction in Mumbai. The novels have recently been released in Marathi language too.

Currently, Piyush is developing a crime-based TV show for a leading entertainment channel. He is also working on his next feature film a director/writer while simultaneously writing his next novel.

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Shubhra Gupta

Film Critic

Shubhra Gupta is film critic and senior columnist with the Indian Express. She watches world cinema for delectation, Hollywood for fun, and Bollywood for work. She has a huge capacity to sit through terrible Bollywood movies, but no patience at all with bad Hollywood.

She has led week after week, month after month, year after year, without a break, her readers into the magical world of movies, and shared her experiences of watching all those hundreds of films over the years. In her reviews and columns, she lets the reader into what she likes, and doesn’t, and invites them to be bewitched.

In 2012, she won the Ramnath Goenka award, one of India's most prestigious awards, for Best Writing on Film.

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Sunil Alagh

Business Executive

Alma mater:

Graduate in Economics (Hons.), St. Xavier's College, Calcutta

Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta: MBA

Career Highlights:

Sunil Kumar Alagh is the Founder and Chairman of SKA Advisors – a business advisory and consultancy service with an emphasis on Marketing and Brand management strategies. He is a recognised thought provocateur who enables teams to realise their full potential and partners them to build a sustainable profitable business model. His wide range of clients include Godfrey Phillips India Ltd., Setco Automotive Ltd., Mrs. Bector's Food Specialities Ltd., Elite Food Specialities Pvt. Ltd., Louis Dreyfus Commodities India Pvt. Ltd., Amira Pure Foods Pvt. Ltd., LT Foods Ltd, KS Oils Ltd, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer HealthCare Ltd., Warburg Pincus, Emami Ltd., VIP Luggage Ltd., Sapat Tea Ltd, Biocon India Ltd., and Mahindra Group. Sunil Alagh has 40 years of hands on experience and has developed and incubated several successful brands like Britannia Tiger. He also spearheaded Britannia's successful foray into Dairy through branded cheese and milk. He has a wealth of rich experience in marketing and brand building strategies. Sunil’s rich experience in multiple stakeholder management helps him mentor the top most executives plough through business objectives amidst conflicting personal objectives, fractured governance and challenging needs for succession planning.

Career History:

Sunil Alagh held very senior positions in the private sector and was the former Managing Director & CEO of Britannia Industries Ltd. During his tenure, Britannia touched significant heights and figured in the Forbes List of 300 Best Companies in the World in 1999, 2000 and 2002. Britannia also became the most trusted Food Brand in India.

Sunil is on the Boards of United Breweries Ltd (JV of Heineken and Mallya Group), Gati Ltd (a JV with KWE, Japan), Gati Import & Export Trading Ltd and Indofil Industries Ltd. In addition, Sunil is on the Advisory Board of the Jawaharlal Darda Institute of Engineering & Technology, Yavatmal, Senior Advisor to Hannover Re, Germany, Member of the Prasar Bharati Board, India and on the Executive Committee of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). He is a former member of the Board of IL&FS Investsmart Ltd and of the Indian Advisory Board of Schindler, Switzerland and a former Member of the Round Table on Higher Education, under the Ministry of HRD, Government of India Sunil is the Past President of the All India Management Association, Delhi, Bangalore Chamber of Industry and Commerce (BCIC), The Federation of Biscuit Manufacturers of India (FBMI), Delhi and was a member of the Governing Council of the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, Board of Management of Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, New Delhi and member of the Governing Board of IIM, Bangalore and IIM Indore.


Sunil is actively involved with “Save the Tiger” campaign of Sanctuary Magazine (with a leading environmentalist). Sunil is on the Advisory Board of the Indian Music Group of St. Xavier's College, Mumbai. It's objective is to promote Indian Classical Music amongst the youth in Mumbai.

Sunil was the anchor of “The Job Show” on CNBC – a reality programme that ensured entry level jobs with reputable companies for the Youth of India.

Sunil has been invited by reputed Investment Banks like IDFC Ltd and Ambit Capital Pte Ltd on numerous Non-Deal Shows in USA, UK, Singapore and Hongkong to present India as an attractive investment destination for foreign investors. Have presented India to investors like Standard Pacific Capital, Fidelity, Soros Fund Management, Oppenheimer, TIAA CREFF, etc..

Awards and Recognition:

Sunil was honored with the Gold medal Kashalkar Memorial Award 2000 for outstanding contribution to the Food Processing Industry in India. He was a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, 2002.

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Tarun Thakral

Hotelier, Founder & Managing Trustee, Heritage Transportation Trust

With a background and career in Hospitality and a collection of vintage & classic vehicles, Tarun founded Heritage Transportation Trust (HTT) in 1996, to preserve the rich transport heritage of India. In 2013, HTT opened India's first comprehensive transport museum: Heritage Transport Museum which is an endeavor to showcase and interpret the multiple narratives of transport movement.

The museum brings alive the history and evolution of transport heritage in India through a rich and diverse collection of vehicles and associated memorabilia. The collection is representative of not only the objects directly related to transport but also the socio-cultural life and art associated with it.

Built on a 3 acre complex, Heritage Transport Museum is spread over four air conditioned floors that offer over 100,000 square feet of exhibition space, library and reference centre, mini auditorium, souvenir shop, seminar rooms and refreshment area. The museum is located in Gurgaon, Haryana.

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Vivek Agrawal


VIVEK AGRAWAL, a journalist with 3 decades of vast experience in the field of crime, defense, legal & terrorism in all the dimensions of media. Since 1985, he actively started writing as a freelancer for the local, state & national newspapers and earned good name in the united Madhya Pradesh.

His career in the mainstream newspapers started in 1992 with Hindi tabloid ‘Hamara Mahanagar’ at Mumbai. In 1993, joined Hindi national newspaper ‘Jansatta’ as a crime reporter. He broke many big time stories in both the newspapers. His broadcast media journalism days started with India’s First Views Channel ‘Janmat’ (Now Live India) as Bureau Head, Maharashtra-Goa. He was part of the team of channel –‘Mi Mrathi’. Then joined ‘India TV’ as an investigative journalist. Vivek Agrawal joined as State Head with ‘News Express’. He cracked many stories of Mumbai Mafia, Terrorism, Financial Crimes and Homeland Security all these days.

He is now focusing on writing and documentary projects, consulting print and electronic media houses to establish & run news businesses with right directions and high esteem. He is offering his services as a news broadcast channel /newspaper /magazine setup professional to news assessment editor to various new establishments across the nation.

Two books “MumBhai’ and “MumBhai Returns” are based on Mumbai Mafia and published by Vani Prakashan. His few more titles based on Mumbai Underworld are in press.

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Gautam Chintamani

Film Historian and Writer

Gautam Chintamani is a film historian and the author of Rajneeti (Penguin-Random House, 2019), the first biography of Rajnath Singh. He is the author of the bestselling Dark Star: The Loneliness of Being Rajesh Khanna (HarperCollins, 2014), The Film That Revived Hindi Cinema (HarperCollins, 2016); Pink- The Inside Story (HarperCollins, 2017); and The Midway Battle: Narendra Modi’s Roller-Coaster Second Term (Bloomsbury). Gautam Chintamani is currently working on A Class Act - The Life of Vinod Khanna.

He is part of curating team working on the Government of India’s museum of Prime Ministers of India.

He hails from a literary tradition that runs deep on both sides of his family—the late Telugu poet Arudra is his maternal grandfather and the liberal thinker Sir C.Y. Chintamani is his paternal great-grandfather.

Gautam's writing has featured in national publications, including a compilation on Dadasaheb Phalke awardees published by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Legends of Indian Silver Screen. He was on the National Film Awards jury for Best Writing on Cinema in 2016. The British Film Institute included The Film That Revived Hindi Cinema in their library in 2016. In 2017, Gautam contributed an essay on the cinema of Franz Osten for The British Film Institute’s restoration project of filmmaker’s 1928 masterpiece Shiraz.Gautam’s documentary film SRI: Challenging Traditions, Transforming Lives won the Best Documentary Award at the Asia Pacific Rice Film Festival, Malaysia. His trilogy, Janam–Aagazh– Parvaaz, on the journey of children with special needs and their parents was screened at the 2011 International Film Festival of India (IFFI). His notable television credits include Siddhanth, a law series that garnered an Emmy nomination in the ‘international drama’ category—a first for an Indian television show.

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Dushyant Parasher

Photographer & Adventurer

A Delhi College of Art 1972 graduate, Dushyant Parasher initially worked as a graphic designer and later as creative director for some of the leading advertising agencies, during the seventies.

Now For the past thirty years he has been a hard-core environmentalist, nature & wildlife photographer and writer. In addition to his own pictorial books, he also regularly contributes pictures and articles to various publications.

He has trekked extensively in Arunachal Predesh, Ladakh, Garhwal and through Thar—the Indian desert. As a nature & wildlife photographer, he has always tried to highlighted environmental concerns, particularly in the Himalayan region. His tireless campaign against the degradation of Valley of Flowers in Garhwal Himalayas during the late nineteen seventies finally resulted in the valley being declared a ‘National Park’ to preserve its unique bio-diversity.

In 2003 he received Sir Edmund Hillary’s ‘Himalayan Environment Trust Award for valuable contribution to the cause of Himalayan environment’.

In October-November 2010 he went on the Brahmaputra River Expedition as one of the five member ‘core team’ that did this first ever descend of the world’s highest river from source-to-the-sea through Tibet-India-Bangladesh. It was a two month long, 2,800 km journey on the river done in three 40hp powered, inflatable boats.

In February 2014 he walked the frozen Zanskar River in Ladakh.

He has following pictorial books to his credit:

N.C. Hills - The enchanting land and the bird mystery of Jatinga
(1994, Konark)

BHUTAN - A kingdom in the sky
(2004, Vikas) ISBN 81-259-1576-1

TEA - Legend, Life and Livelihood of India
(2006, LBS-Red River) ISBN 81-85921-02-4

ODISSI - The Dance Divine
(2007, Niyogi) ISBN 81-89738-17-8

MANAS - A Pictorial Handbook
2007, LBS-Red River ISBN 81-85921-18-0

BODOLAND - Back to the Future
2010, LBS-Red River ISBN 81-85921-65-2

ASSAM - Realm of the Red River
2014, LBS-Red River ISBN 978-81-85921-81-5


CORBETT - Domain of the wild

KAZIRANGA - Paradise Regained

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Gunjan Veda

Writer & Founder-Director of India Reads

Gunjan Veda is a writer, public policy strategist, development consultant and the Founder Director of , India's largest online library.

Gunjan began her career as a journalist with the Indian Express and went on to work in Manipur after the Manorama incident of 2004. Subsequently, she was appointed as Officer on Special Duty at the Planning Commission, engaging with sectors like Health, Women & Children, Nutrition, Handlooms and Handicrafts.

In 2009, Gunjan conceptualised and started , an online platform that seeks to make books accessible to everyone across the country. A few years later, she worked with healthcare philanthropist and Co-Founder of iGate Corporation, Mr Sunil Wadhwani to set up WISH (Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Healthcare), a not-for-profit that identifies and supports healthcare entrepreneurs across the country.

Gunjan has authored many reports and newspaper articles. Her first book, Beautiful Country: Stories from Another India, (with Dr Syeda Hameed) was published by Harper Collins in 2012. She has just finished her second book, a volume that celebrates Dalit cultural capital and everyday heroes.

An avid cultural enthusiast and traveller, Gunjan loves interacting with people, learning about fast disappearing cultural forms and sharing nuggets about people and polity, art and artists through powerful stories - oral as well as written. She likes to describe herself as a nomad with an insatiable wanderlust and a compulsive bookaholic; someone who is happiest when surrounded by mounds and mounds of books, a crisp wind and some happy birdsong!

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Koral Dasgupta

Founder, TellMeYourStory and Author

Koral has published an eclectic range of books from academic non fiction to relationship dramas. Her stories explore the inherent nature of complex minds leading to a relatable conflict and unpredictable climax. Having published widely with Westland Books, Niyogi Publishers and Rupa, her books are discussed from the context of gender studies, art, myth and ecocritical literature. Other than India, Koral's books are shelved in the libraries of University of Harvard, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, University of Wales, Duke University, University of North Carolina, TAMU, and others.

Her fourth book has been optioned for screen adaptation. She is currently working with Pan Macmillan on the five-book Sati series - a retelling of the stories of the Pancha Kanya from Indian mythology - Ahalya, Kunti and Draupadi are on the shelves. founded by Koral leverages literature to design and execute extensive learning programes which inspire social engagement and behavioural change for Inclusion & Diversity.

She conducts writing programmes and critical thinking workshops for educational and corporate floors. She is recognised in the list of Innovator25 Asia Pacific 2019 prepared by The Holmes Report, a New York based PR news agency and has been listed under the Women of Wonder (WOW) series in Outlook Business (September 2019). Her website is

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Manek Premchand

Writer and Historian of Film Music

Manek Premchand is a writer and historian of film music who teaches aspects of broadcasting at St. Xavier's College, Mumbai, and who has written several books pertaining to the history of Indian film music and biographies of musicians. He has hosted shows on WorldSpace Satellite Radio and been a consultant with Saregama India Limited. He has received a Senior Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture on the subject The Changing Face of Lyrics in Hindi Cinema. He is also a Visiting Faculty at Manipal University of Higher Education.He has been a jury member at the Bangalore International Film Festival in March 2022.

Manek has written hundreds of articles on music, in a variety of newspapers, and has authored the following books on the subject: Yesterday’s Melodies Today’s Memories, Musical Moments from Hindi Films, Romancing the Song, Shiv Kumar Sharma: The Man and His Music (contributor with 2 others), Talat Mahmood: The Velvet Voice, Hitting the Right Notes: Hindi Cinema's Golden Music, The Hindi Music Jukebox: Exploring Unforgettable Songs, The Unforgettable Music of Hemant Kumar, Majrooh Sultanpuri—The Poet For All Reasons, and Windows to the Soul and Other Essays on Music.

He has hosted dozens of music events for formidable institutions like the Asiatic Society of Bombay, Bhavan’s Kala Kendra and FICCI. He has interviewed several key personalities who shaped the melodies of Hindi cinema’s yesteryear, like Lata Mangeshkar, Manna Dey, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Suraiya, Khayyam, and Talat Mahmood. He has even interviewed many on-screen personalities, like Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman, with specific emphasis on the music associated with them.

Manek deeply believes that our film music is a key gluing adhesive that helps bind millions of Indianstogether culturally in a subtle, understated way. “After all, we are one country with 30 official languages spokenby a million people or more. As against this, the European Union for example has 24 official languages, but the union has 27 countries”. As such, Hindi cinema’s music does urge us to respect it more.

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Milee Ashwarya

Publisher, Ebury Publishing and Vintage Publishing at Penguin Random House India

Milee Ashwarya is Publisher, Ebury Publishing and Vintage Publishing at Penguin Random House India. Her focus has been on championing the best voices in fiction and non-fiction while publishing a range of bestsellers across segments. Her authors include Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Piyush Pandey, Hussain S. Zaidi, Yuvraj Singh, HindolSengupta, R. Gopalakrishnan, Karan Johar, and Ravi Subramaniam to name a few.

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Pradip Kumar Routray

Veteran Sound Recordist

Praadip is a Sound Engineer (more specifically, Song Recordist) - working in Mumbai's film and music industry having recorded songs from the films like, Baazi, Barsaat, Bas Itna Sa Khwaab Hai, Biwi No.1, Border, Dil Vil Pyaar Vyaar, Dulhe Raja, Fiza, Ghatak, Ishq, Ishq-Vishk, Judaai, Kareeb, Khamoshi: The Musical, Masoom, Mohabbat, Pardes, Raja Hindustani. His film credits are available at ] He is actively involved in teaching, training and mentoring students in the technology, arts, crafts and aesthetics of film-making, sound recording and film sound design at various institutes and universities all over India.

Pradip has been nominated thrice in LUX-ZEE Cine Awards "Best Song Recording" category for the feature Films: Dulhe Raja (1998), Biwi No.1 (1999) & Fiza (2000); He has arranged Live Sound Mixing for Asha Bhosle's Music Concerts in India and abroad.

Pradip is professionally trained in Surround Sound in Oxford, UK; has undertaken professional study visits to Music Recording and Mastering facilities:- Air Lyndhurst, Metropolis, Sony and Sphere studios in London; attended Seminar by Academy Award winning film-maker Walter Murch- on Sound Design and professional Recording Studio Acoustic Design & Installations. He has delivered talk as Panelist, at Mumbai University’s National Seminar on Music, Media & Technology, and presented his paper ‘Influence of Technology on Music & Cinema in India: The Sonic Boom of 1990-2000’, and available at web link-

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Prasoon Joshi

Poet, Writer, Lyricist, Screenwriter

Born 16 September 1971, is an Indian poet, writer, lyricist, screenwriter, and communication specialist and marketer. He is the CEO of McCann World group India and Chairman APAC (Asia Pacific He is also the Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification.

He has received the Filmfare Best Lyricist Award three times, in 2007 and 2008 and again in 2014 for the Hindi movie Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. He has also received the National Film Award for Best Lyrics twice, for his work in Taare Zameen Par (2007), and Chittagong (2013).

He was awarded Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2015, for his contributions towards the field of Arts, Literature and Advertising. He is one of the trustees of IGNCA, a member of Nehru Memorial Museum & Library Society Panel.

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Rahul Rawail

Film Director and Writer

Son of veteran film director H.S. Rawail, Rahul Rawail was born on 4 April 1951. He started his film journey as an assistant director to Raj Kapoor in R.K. Films. He made his directorial debut with Gunahgaar (1980). His career took off with the romantic drama Love Story (1981). He also launched Sunny Deol in Betaab (1983), a film which also marked the debut of Amrita Singh and Annu Kapoor. Sunny Deol. Rahul Rawail introduced many newcomers, including musicians, singers and lyricists as well as actors, to films. Noted actor Paresh Rawal made his debut with Arjun. With Bekhudi (1992) and Aur Pyar Ho Gaya (1997), Rawail also launched the careers of two of the most successful actresses of their time, Kajol and Aishwarya Rai.

He is the author of Raj Kapoor – The Master at Work.

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Saira Shah Halim

Social and Peace Activist,TedX Speaker

Saira Shah Halim is a social and peaceactivist, TedXSpeaker, an educator, a writer, a theatre personality, Image and brand consultant and a free spirit.

Raised all over the country and in the gulf as an army officers daughter. Saira started her corporate career which entailed graveyard shifts with some of the top MNC’s and corporate houses in training, learning and development roles.

Having hung up her corporate boots a few years ago to work for more meaningful and impactful causes, Saira has metamorphosed as one of the more prominent social and gender activists of the country and spends her time taking up the cudgels of society, she is known to take up the causes of the disenfranchised, politically marginalized and is a well known face on Indian national television speaking on myriad social and political issues, Saira is known to voice her opinions vociferously and with perfect conviction on national television.

Saira is a part of Kolkata Swasthya Sankalp a low cost dialysis unit for the underprivileged.

Her short film ‘Ek Khaas Aadmi’ can be viewed on youtube on NDTV Talkies.

As a conscientious citizen she is known to hit the roads for just causes, being felicitated with numerous awards for her humanitarian and social work, she’s also known to be a ‘wordsmith’ and a poet who pens political and social essays along with poetry with equal ease,She’s also a popular culturist and litterateur known to ideate psychedelic programmes reviving lost art forms and is a regular speaker at the literary festivals across the country.

Recently she was awarded with the SAARC Womens award by the SAARC Womens Association Dhaka for her contribution in the cultural, literary and bi lateral contribution with SAARC countries at Dhaka in 2019.

Saira is a columnist with India Today and writes on policy and governance asides being a full time Mom to two young girls.

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Shankar Iyer

Co-Founder, Nostalgiaana

Shankar has been an enthusiastic music listener since his school days. Never unaffected by yesteryear Hindi film music, his dedicated love for this genre of music helps him to connect instantaneously with fellow colleagues and music lovers.

His is an ex-banker by profession and his career spanning over two decades was with MNC banks and global leaders in Investment banking & financial services.

Shankar represents Nostalgiaana, a team made of Corporate Professionals with a deep passion for Hindi Film Music & Indian Film Music. Their mission is to showcase the vast and rich legacy of film music as an "Art Form".

The team takes pride in conducting various shows to highlight nuances of a film song / film songs which they believe, also, helps to grow and build a community of music lovers!

After various onsite and online shows for leading Corporates like Au Bank, YES bank, AXIS Bank, RpTech and Ifast Financials, Nostalgiaana has revived the Radio Nostalgia of Retro Hindi film songs through specially curated online shows, served to more than 300 dedicated members. These shows are running for nearly 2 years now.

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Stutee Ghosh

RJ at FEVER 104 FM

Stutee Ghosh is an award winning RJ having won the prestigious India Radio Forum Best RJ Award. She started off while she was still doing her Post Graduation in English Literature at Delhi University. She forayed into film reviews and criticism and has been associated with TV and the Digital medium as well. Born and brought up in Delhi she is an RJ with Fever 104 FM where she hosts the morning show. She is also a Film critic and Political satirist with The Quint and a Celeb Chat show host with Hindustan Times Digital. Her alter ego Pammi Kaur is equally popular as she lays threadbare political and social happenings with her characteristic persona. Stutee is known for her ready wit, quick repartees, humor and disarming charm that has also earned her the sobriquet of “Superwomaniya Stutee”. She has an endearing style that puts the other person instantly at ease and forthcoming with their candid responses. Well grounded in political matters she has been on various TV channels on a regular basis discussing political and social issues. Presently she is working as a Programming Head of Fever 104 FM.

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Sudha Sadhanand

President, Editorial Affairs, at India Ahead

Sadhanand is President, Editorial Affairs, at India Ahead. She has spent more than three decades in various fields of mainstream media and allied streams such as publishing, radio, documentaries and TV news. Sadhanand is one of the first bi-lingual anchors to have worked with some of the earliest private news channels. She began her career in publishing with Penguin books and edited works of authors such as Pupul Jayakar and Professor Bipan Chandra. Her last stint was with Westland Amazon, where she led their non-fiction list and edited Pavan K. Varma and Vir Sanghvi, amongst others.

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Vinod Anupam


Vinod anupam is a film and art critic. He won the National Film Award for the Best film critic in 2002.He has held notable positions as jury member,National film award and indian panorama. Member,innovation committee,national museum of indian cinema.He has former of Bihar sngeet natak akademi.He did his masters in Hindi and also Film appreciation course of FTII,Pune.He won other awrads including a state award for best youth writer in 1988. He edited Bihar ke 100 ratn and Bihar Vihar,two coffee table book. He has written coloumns for various eminent publications.

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Vikas Kumar Jha

Senior Journalist and Author

Vikas is an award winning author who has written many popular novels and books published in Hindi, English and Bengali - Bihar: Criminalization of Politics; Satta Ke Sutradhaar; Bhog - A Novel; Iss Barish Mein (Poetry Collection); Parichay Patra – Essays in Bengali; McCluskieganj – A Novel- In Hindi by Rajkamal Prakashan and in English by Harper Collins; Varshavan ki Roopkatha - A novel on the village Agumbe, famously known as Malgudi; Gayasur Sandhan- Story of the twin cities Gaya and Bodhgaya; Ullas Ki Naav; The biography of Usha Uthup, Queen of Indian Pop (Hindi by Rajkamal Prakashan and English upcoming release by Penguin India).

He has vast experience as a journalist. He was Correspondent, Ravivar Magazine (1983-84); Bureau Chief, Maya Magazine (Hindi Fortnightly) (1985-2000); Bureau Chief, Outlook Magazine, Hindi (2002-2004); Editor, Rashtriya Prasang (2004- 2013); and State Head, News Express Channel (2013-2014)

He has anchored a programme, ‘Aamne Saamne’ (a political hard talk) on ETV Bihar (2001-2005); a public issue programme, ‘Suno Lucknow’ on ETV Lucknow (2001-2005); and a public issue programme, ‘Duhai Sarkar Ki’ on ETV Bihar (2007- 2008).

He has received Katha UK Honour 2011 for the novel McCluskieganj at The House of Commons, London

He lives in Patna, Bihar. He can be reached on

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Venita Coelho

Author, Screenwriter and Adventurer

Venita Coelho is a screenwriter, novelist and artist who writes across age groups and genres. She has been awarded the Sahitya Akademi Bal Puraskar for her book Dead as a Dodo. Among her other awards are The Hindu Goodreads Award for Best Fiction for children, The Neev Award and the Peekabook award. Her collection of feminist ghost stories The Washer of the Dead was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor award. Her book Soap-Writing and Surviving Television teaches how to write for the medium.

She has had a long career in film and television as a writer, director and producer. Her work in canvas and glass was shown at her solo exhibition The Naked Gaze. She lives in Goa and is working towards her second exhibition of paintings.

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Dhritiman Chaterji


Dhritiman Chaterji, Actor. Dhritiman Chaterji is an Indian actor. He began his acting career in 1970 as the protagonist of Satyajit Ray's Pratidwandi. Most of his acting work has been in India's "parallel", or independent, cinema with filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Aparna Sen, among others and is noted for his acting skills. He has worked extensively in Bengali cinema and notably, in many popular Hindi films.

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Hemma Myers Sood was born in New Delhi and studied in Bengaluru.She uses a pen name for her books and workshops: HEMMA MYERS SOOD.

At 29, she released her first book, The Eternal Ocean of Brahma, which conveys the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita imbibed through intuitive perceptions of the waves of the ocean. She received notable reviews and was compared to Newton and Archimedes for her extraordinary perceptions and unique insights.The revised version isThe Oceanic Geeta. Two of her early books, published by Indmark Publishers, are being currently revised.

Her sixth book, Karmic Cords, is a poignant narrative of the author’s personal loss of her sibling. The Karmic City trilogy, released in 2015 and 2019, comprises Karmic City: The City of Lord Brahma, Karmic City: The City of Lord Vishnu and Karmic City: The City of Lord Shiva. The trilogy depicts the ascension of the soul at different levels of consciousness. It portrays profound insights into ancient Indian philosophy, interspersed with mystical poetry. The erudite Maharaja Dr. Karan Singh has written an articulate Foreword for the trilogy.

Hemma has successfully completed a course on ‘Writing Fiction’ from the prestigious Oxford University. Her ninth book, Tijara’s Mystery Codes, is uniquely interwoven with historical fiction, murder,palace intrigue, and clairvoyance.

She is a certified Reiki Grandmaster,Money Reiki Grandmaster,and a Karuna ReikiMaster. She uses Reiki symbols in her meditative writing to imbibe mystical cosmic knowledge. She teaches all three levels of Reiki,Money Reiki and Karuna Reiki.She is an Akashic Records Reader and Trainer and empowers people byreading their Akashic Records and sharing insights.

Since March 2009 she has channelled over 700 messages, which formTheGratitude Channellings. Theseare a series of seven books that depict enlightening messages from higher realms. In early 2021 she channelled over 200 symbols from the seventh dimensional Unicorns. She has created The Unicorn Oracle Cards using these potent symbols and imparts detailed knowledge about each symbol.

She is a US certified Ho’oponopono Practitioner and she efficaciously practicesTarot Cards,Runology and Chaldean Numerology to manifest abundance and success. She ingeniously combines theDowsing Pendulum, Crystal Ball Divination during her personal empowerment sessions. Shedesigns Crystalline Grids using the principles of Sacred Geometry.

Hemma lives in Goa, India with her family. She practices meditation, chanting, yoga, and pranayama.She enjoys walking amongst Mother Nature to receive inspirational insights for her motivational writing.

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Savia Viegas


Savia Viegas is an Indian academic and writer living in Carmona, South Goa. Both her parents hail from Carmona of a family of old Zonkar lineage. It is the intricate tapestry of their small secluded and fading world that is a major preoccupation in her novels – Tales from the Attic and In the Hour of Eclipse. In many ways this microcosm reflects the larger problems of Goan society caught in the throes of modernisation.

Savia Viegas did her schooling at St Pius X Convent, Orlim and her college education at Shrimatibai Parvatibai Chowgule College, Margao. Subsequently, she moved to Mumbai and graduated from Elphinstone College.

She worked for the Times of India group for a number of years before moving to a flexi-time arrangement as researcher with the Research Centre for Women’s Studies , SNDT University, Mumbai.

After a short stint at Xavier Institute of Communications, she opted for teaching Indian Art History at a college affiliated to the University of Mumbai where she continued until 2005.

In 2005, Savia returned to her ancestral home in Goa where she devotes her time to writing, painting and managing a pre-primary school, Saxtti Kids, in the backyard of her old home.

She shares her home with five dogs, a cat, a mangoose that inhabits a hole in the roof, and of course, the family.

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Dilip Puri

Founder and CEO, Indian School of Hospitality

Dilip Puri is the Founder & CEO of Indian School of Hospitality (ISH), an institution of higher education focused on reshaping hospitality, culinary arts and executive education for today’s generation and tomorrow’s businesses. Dilip served as the Managing Director of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, South Asia, from 2011 till the end of 2017 when he set out to be an education entrepreneur and founded ISH. During his time at the helm, Starwood’s South Asia portfolio grew from 24 to 54 operating hotels with a pipeline of over 100 hotels. He was also responsible for launching the luxury brands of Starwood with the entry of St. Regis & W Hotels in the Indian market. From 2008 to 2010, Dilip was the CEO of Duet India Hotels, a private equity backed hospitality development company, and led the raise of circa USD 166 million in private equity capital.

Dilip has over three decades of experience in the hospitality industry and has worked with brands such as Oberoi, Taj, IHG, and Starwood in India, Australia and Africa. He has an economics degree from the University of Delhi and he completed his postgraduate studies at the Oberoi Centre of Learning & Development (OCLD). Since the opening of ISH, Dilip is a part of the ISH faculty and he is also an industry mentor to students.

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Vinesh Pikale

Chartered Accountant

CA Vinesh Pikale completed his schooling from People High School and his Bachelors in commerce with financial accounting, auditing and taxation as elective from S S Dempo College of Commerce and Economics. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant at the age of 22 in Nov 2005. After a stint with Deloitte in the audit vertical, he joined M/s R K Pikale & Co. He practises from the Panaji office of the firm with branches Margao and Ponda. He also holds a Diploma in Information Systems Audit from Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He has more than 16 years of experience in the areas of audit assurance, taxation and foreign exchange management laws. With a keen interest in the startup and MSME ecosystem he is engaged in providing consultancy in this space besides consulting in capital planning and transaction structuring. He has been on the Goa Branch of ICAI committee for 6 years in various capacities and has also served as the Chairman of the Goa branch of Western India regional council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. He was also nominated to the taxation committee of GCCI.

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Sachin Chatte

Film Critic

Sachin Chatte is a film critic based on Goa and have been writing about cinema for more than 25 years now.

He is also a member of FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) and the Film Critics Guild, the registered body of film critics in India.

Sachin is also a visiting lecturer at the Goa University for the film appreciation subject and have taught at various other colleges in Goa.

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Pradeep Champanerkar

Book Publisher

Pradeep Champanerkar is a book publisher by profession. He graduated from one of the most reputed art schools of the country, Sir J. J. School of Arts, Mumbai.

He is the director-publisher of a wellknown Marathi Book Publishing company ROHAN PRAKASHAN, which has a base in Mumbai and Pune.

Rohan Prakashan has a standing in the field as a distinguished publisher for the last 39 years. It has published over 600 books so far, on a variety of topics from reference books to fictions. It has to it's credit many prestigious Awards on State and National level 'VI. PU. BHAGWAT' Puraskar as a lifetime achievement award and 'PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR AWARD' Which is bestowed on only one publisher from across the country; are the few to be named amongst those. Mr. Pradeep Champanerkar has so far independently edited many Voluminous books. He is also an editor of a periodical ROHAN SAHITYA MAIFAL. He has been writing regularly on book publishing related topics. Lately he has tried his writing skills in creative literature too.

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Tariq Thomas, IAS

Chief Executive Officer, ESG<

An IAS officer of the 2011 batch, Dr Thomas is also currently the Secretary to Govt of Goa handling the departments of Urban Development, Transport, Science ,Technology and Waste Management. He is the nodal officer for the Swachh Bharat Mission(Urban) and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(Urban) and has previously served as Collector, South Goa. Prior to his tenure in Goa , he has worked as Collector and Development Commissioner in Lakshadweep as well as Collector and District Magistrate in Upper Siang District, Arunachal Pradesh. An MBBS graduate from the Government Medical College Kottayam, Dr. Thomas was selected by the Government of India to participate in the Knowledge Co-creation Training Programme for Young Leaders on Disaster Management held by Japan International Cooperation Agency at Sapporo , Hokkaido. He has received training in Urban Planning and Governance from the Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore. As CEO of ESG he has been responsible for the conduct of multiple events including the prestigious International Film Festival of India(IFFI) and the India International Science Festival at Goa.

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Aparna Pande

Festival Curator and PR Professional

Aparna has spent more than a decade working in the fields of journalism, public relations and arts & culture management. She was a core team member at Rekhta Foundation- India for 5 years, where she co-curated the popular language & cultural festival ‘Jashn-e-Rekhta’, besides heading the PR and artist line-ups for the foundation. Currently she is working with an International Arts & Culture consultancy.

As a Public Relations professional, she has managed a diverse portfolio of clients like Google/YouTube, International Film Festival of India - Goa, Kathmandu Triennale among others.

Aparna is a Journalism & Mass Communication graduate, and also holds a postgraduate diploma in Nutrition and Fitness Science. She currently lives in Goa (and wishes to never go back and live anywhere else).

Fun Fact - When not working, Aparna is working out in the gym. She is currently debating between a career in Arts & Culture/PR and Fitness.

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Harini Srinivasan

Author and Editor

Harini Srinivasan is an author, editor and an experienced program management professional.

An aficionado of literature, history and dance and a former civil servant,among her achievements is her contribution as an editor of several prestigious publications published by the Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, such as Selected Speeches of the President: Pranab Mukherjee; The Republican Ethic: Selected Speeches of Shri Ram Nath Kovind; Indian Dance – Through a Critic’s Eye; Abode Under the Dome; Legends of Indian Silver Screen; and Selected Speeches of the Vice President: M. Venkaiah Naidu.

She has authored a historical detective fiction novel, The Curse of Anuganga (TreeShadeBooks, 2019), a children’s book, The Wizard Tales- Adventures of Bun-Bun (Maple Press, 2014), and several stories and novellas for Juggernaut Books -Ek Confusing Love Story, Death at Arcade Emporia, The Unintended Boyfriend, When I met Him, and Arjun’s Wife. She has been associated with Scholastic Writer’s Academy Programme as a mentor for children in the age group of 8-14 years. She is currently working on her next historical detective fiction novel and a non-fiction book.

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Meenakshi Sharma

Writer and Founder of the GLiterARTI Book Club

A trained journalist from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi. Meenakshi comes with extensive experience with the media. A ‘nose’ for news, a flair for interaction, and an ability to say it best with words have kept her engaged with leading newspapers and magazines as a columnist. She is also an integral part of leading management institutes as well as the corporate world as a communication expert, a certified trainer and an HR Consultant. She is visiting faculty at GIM, Goa University, and the Naval War College among others.

Meenakshi Sharma. Founder of the GLiterARTI Book Club in 2011, she organized the first Gurgaon Art and Literature Festival in Gurgaon in 2013 following which she has been associated with a series of book clubs and literary events all over the country and is a popular speaker and moderator at events.

She has completed a certificate programme in Management of Social Initiatives from IIM Kozhikode and her venture “GLiterARTi’ is among the top 20 ventures in 2021-22 selected by the NSRCEL of IIM Bangalore.

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Remo Fernandes

Musician and Author

Remo Fernandes is a self-taught musician from Goa. Upon completing his studies in architecture in Mumbai, he lived in Paris for two and a half years, hitchhiking around Europe and North Africa during the summers. Upon his return to Goa he dove headlong into ‘the three things he enjoys doing most’: music, drawing, and writing.

He went on to become India’s highest-selling artist in the English language. In Hindi too, he won Platinum and Double Platinum discs for the songs he composed and sang in Hindi films. In both languages, he created and is remembered for his unforgettable hits. He was presented the Padmashree Award by President Abdul Kalam.

He has now written his autobiography simply titled ‘REMO’, published by HarperCollins, which is creating waves and earning excellent reviews and reactions from the media and readers across the country, not just for it’s content but for his lucid, image-evoking and honest writing style. After featuring it at the Jaipur Literature Festival and the Kolkata Literature Meet, and in several online literature festivals held in India this year, he features it at the Kumaon Literature Festival in his home state, Goa.

Remo now divides his year almost equally between Porto, Portugal, and Siolim, Goa, where he lives in his ancestral family home.

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Sajla Chawla


Sajla Chawla works in Goa, as the Vice President of a Bangalore based Corporate.

She studied Bachelors in English Literature and stood first in the Delhi University; Masters and M.Phil followed.

She taught in DU, as a lecturer for a year, before moving to Goa. She taught in Goa as well for three years, in Chowgule College, before joining the corporate sector.

She had a fortnightly column on the edit page of O’Heraldo, a Goan daily, for six years. She took a break from it, a few years back, to write a book.

Shehave written, and still writes for many Goan Dailies and for Tribune, Punjab and Delhi.

Her home is in a small picturesque village in Goa, where I have been residing for the last fourteen years.

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Farha Naz

Publisher and Writer

Farha Naz is the Director of Lab Academia Research and Publishing Center, a positioning and branding firm that has six different wings. She is the founder member of Motivate India Society and works for providing educational support and platforms to creative talents. She is a literary ambassador, an enthusiast of digital marketing and has been organizing a number of socio-cultural, literary and artistic events in different cities of India. She has successfully curated three National level Art Exhibitions (group shows) by the name, Hues of Bliss. She is also known for her motivational anthologies such as Hope Reborn, Youth as Nation Builders, The Wit and Wisdom of Thought Leaders, Perspectives of Hope and recently published book, "How to overcome failure".She worked at the Indian Institute of Information Technology – Allahabad (IIIT-A). Her research work has been published in several International Journals and Conferences. She also looked after Swachh Kumbh in the recently concluded Kumbh Mela 2019.An international publication, "The story mint" has awarded Naaz for her article on her favourite author Jalalu'ddin Rumi. Ms. Farha Naz is known by her Sufi pen name "Ishq Niazi" and belongs to the Niazi Sufi Silsila.

She lives in Goa.

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Sakshi Chanana

Academic and Writer

Dr Sakshi Chanana is an Assistant Professor, at the School of Liberal Studies, UPES, Dehradun. A Fulbright Fellow at the University of Notre Dame (2018-19), and a gold-medalist in M. Phil, she completed her doctoral thesis on Popular Literature from JNU, Delhi. During 14 years of teaching, she has taught English Literature, Creative Writing, Communication Skills and English Language, at Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Guru Nanak Dev University, Sri Aurobindo Centre of Arts and Communication, Kathmandu University and University of Notre Dame, USA. She has published a poetry anthology titled ‘Webs of Light’ and her poems have appeared in journals like Muse India, Kritya, Reading Hour and Tajmahal Review. She has conducted Creative writing and Soft skills workshops in different cities and has been invited for talks and guest sessions at various universities and colleges. Her recent publication (2022) is an English Translation titled ‘Since she Left’; authored by Hindi poet Krishnakant Nilosey. Her current interest areas include Popular Literature, Creative Writing, Translation Studies and Digital Humanities.

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Priti Vinay Sinha

Producer, Reellife Entertainment

A second Generation film maker, Priti Sinha's father produced the cult comedy Film "Andaz Apna Apna". Taking her father's legacy forward, Priti Sinha, Producer at Reel Life Entertainment and Priti Vinay Sinha Films , has produced several films including the Hindi feature Films "Pehchaan", directed by Shrabani Deodhar, starring Vinod Khanna and Raveena Tandon, "Stumped" Directed by Gaurav Pandey, starring Raveena Tandon and Aly Khan, "David", Directed by Bejoy Nambiar starring Vikram, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Tabu and Lara Dutta as well as has line produced the Spanish Film Vicente Ferrer-El Cielo En La Tierra - A Biopic on Vicente Ferrer, Directed by Augustine Crespi, starring Manuel Maria Arias Dominguez.

Priti has also produced several TV shows for Zee TV, Sony Pix and the hit Horror Series "Darr Sabko Lagta Hai" for &TV as well as several Jazz Concerts with Jazz Greats namely Frank Gambale, Maurizio Colonna Jeff Richman and Scott Henderson.

Her recent production "The Great Indian Murder" Directed By Tigmanshu Dhulia for Disney+Hotstar released this year and she is currently working on the Season 2 of the said show.

Her upcoming productions include web series on the Dalit cricketer "Baloo Palwankar" and "The Ramsay Family Biopic".

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Manoj Rajan Tripati

Senior Journalist, Author and Dialogue Writer

Manoj Rajan Tripathi has been in journalism for almost thirty years. He has been the editor in Dainik Jagran, Hindustan Times, Network 18 and is currently an editor in Zee Media.

He has written dialogues of Ajay Devgan, Paresh Rawal, Kartik Aaryan's superhit film Atithi Tum KabJaoge's Part Two -Guest in London.

He is the creative lead of the upcoming reality show “Swarna Swar Bharat” on Zee 5 OTT.

Amazon Westland recently published his novel Code Kakori, which is a topic of discussion in the country these days. Manoj has won Zee Tv's Saregama and Antakshari as well as reached National level for singing in Sur Shringar, Sangam Kala and has received many awards in journalism.

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Asha Batra

Co-founder, Kumaon Literary Festival, Cinemaazi and Te Aroha, Lawyer

Asha is the co-founder of Indian Cinema Heritage Foundation, which manages Cinemaazi. A senior partner of Kesar Dass B. & Asociates, a leading law firm of the country, Asha graduated in Botany with Honours before studying law. Born and grown up in the mountains of North East, she has deep and sensitive understanding of the problems faced by the people living in the hill villages and works for their welfare.

She is the Managing Director of Treepie Hospitality Private Limited, which manages Te Aroha, a boutique hotel located in the mountains of Uttarakhand.

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Ashok Maheshwari

Managing Director, Rajkamal Prakashan

Born on October 9, 1957 in Hapur, Uttar Pradesh in a middle-class family, Ashok Maheshwari did his MA from Rohilkhand University. (Hindi Literature) completed. He became active in the world of publishing in 1974. In 1978, took charge of 'Vani Prakashan'. In 1994, he became the Managing Director of the most prestigious publication institute of Hindi literature 'Rajkamal Prakashan'. Taking forward 'Rajkamal' and 'Radhakrishna Prakashan' on the path of progress, he also took charge of 'Lokbharti Prakashan' in 2005. He was also awarded with the Subhas Chandra Jain Smriti Nyas Samman, Gyan Prakash Award, Utkarsh Samman amongst many! At present, he is the chairman of 'Rajkamal Prakashan Group', a group of three major literary publications of Hindi.

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Vinay Sitapati

Political Scientist, Journalist & Lawyer

Vinay Sitapati is a political scientist, journalist, and lawyer. He teaches at Ashoka University and writes for The Indian Express. He has studied at National Law School Bangalore and Harvard University, and is finishing his PhD in politics from Princeton. Half-Lion is his first book.

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Yasser Usman

Journalist, Film Critic and Writer

Yasser Usman is an Indian television journalist, news presenter, author and biographer. In the media, he has been recognised as one of India's most successful film biographers and noted for his writings.In 2014, Usman made his debut as an author with Rajesh Khanna: The Untold Story of India's First Superstar, a Penguin Books-published biography about the actor and politician Rajesh Khanna. The writing started when he was in Mumbai to record a show for ABP News, at the same time he got to know about Khanna's death in 2012. Vijay Lokapally from The Hindu labelled it as an exception tribute to Khanna. Following the publication, Usman received handwritten letters and emails from Khanna's fans, saying that they were surprised about Khanna's loneliness, motivating him to research other popular film stars' lives. His next book, Rekha: The Untold Story, about the actress Rekha, was met with critical acclaim. The Asian Age wrote it as "a book that anyone who is a fan or even fascinated by the star, would be tempted to read.

His other two books: Sanjay Dutt: The Crazy Untold Story of Bollywood's Bad Boy and Guru Dutt: An Unfinished Story, also garnered positive reception. Published in 2018, the former details the life of the actor Sanjay Dutt and was controversial after Dutt decried the book being published without his authorisation.[2] Mint's Sanjukta Sharma praised Usman's deep research and praised the writer's neutral point of view and Film Companion listed it as one of the "top seven books on cinema of the year" The latter book, released in 2021 by Simon & Schuster, describes the life of the filmmaker Guru Dutt.

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Daleep Akoi

Theatre Actor, Former Journalist & Owner. JJR

Daleep began his career as a writer and editor with Reuters in New York City and now spends time developing experiential boutique properties in the Himalayan states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. He also devotes his time to writing about the jungle and its unique wildlife, acts with a traveling theater company and manages a jungle lodge called Jim's Jungle Retreat at Corbett Tiger Reserve.

Having spent an entire childhood amid jungle air and river sound, it was a natural homecoming for Daleep to the Kumaon foothills of Corbett. He is now developing new programs that aid in educating guests and children about the wonders of the Indian jungles, the importance of all of its living beings and our dependence on it.

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Abha Iyengar

Writer, Poet & Creative Writing Instructor

Abha Iyengar is an award winning, internationally published poet, author, editor, translator and a British Council certified Creative Writing Mentor. Her story, The High Stool , was nominated for the Story South Million Writers Award. She received the Lavanya Sankaran Writing Fellowship for 2009-2010 . Her poem-film, Parwaaz, won a Special Jury prize in Patras, Greece . Her short fiction, The Marshlands , was shortlisted in the DNA-Out of Print short story contest 2015. Her poems have appeared in the Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poets. She is Chair, Literary Bhagidari , Kumaon Literature Festival. Her published works include Yearnings, Flash Bites, Shrayan, Many Fish to Fry and The Gourd Seller and Other Stories .

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Ajay Mago


Armed with an MBA from UCLA, and a home-grown flair for the book trade, Ajay Mago, Publisher, Om Books International (OBI) started the publishing arm of the 58-year-old book distribution outfit, Om Book Shop, in 1997. He implemented a strategically planned expansion on the retail front as well. Ajay was instrumental in shaping OBI—its fiction and non-fiction lists; Spotlight, its cinema imprint and OmKidz, its children’s imprint. He is also a consultant with a European publishing house.

Today OBI counts amongst its authors Rohit Bal, Maria Goretti, Kris Gethin, Rauf Ahmed, Mushtaq Shiekh, Anupama Chopra, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Bikram Grewal, Khalid Mohamed, Raghu Rai, Vir Sanghvi and William Dalrymple.

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Anjana Basu


Born in Allahabad and schooled in London, Anjana Basu is a writer based in Calcutta. She has 5 novels, a book of short stories and two anthologies of poetry to her credit. In 2004, she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in Scotland where she worked on her second novel, Black Tongue published by Roli in 2007. Her byline has appeared in Vogue India, Conde Nast Traveller India, and India Today Travel Plus. She has worked on scripts with director Rituparno Ghosh for Antarmahal and The Last Lear and has subtitled several of his films including Unishe April, Dahan and Chokher Bali.

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Anuj Bahri

Bookseller, Publisher and Literary Agent

A graduate in commerce from the University of Delhi and wasting enough time with a few small but good management courses, I joined the legendry booksellers – BAHRISONS at Khan Market, New Delhi. After having worked with the bookstore for 20 odd years under the tutorship of my father Balraj Bahri, I looked at other avenues in the book trade and added a small publishing division (Tara-India Research Press) to the existing line of business as a bookseller. And finally, seven years ago added a new platform that gave voice and opportunity to the young and talented writers in India to showcase their talent across the globe – thus in the year 2009 was born the RED INK LITERARY AGENCY at New Delhi, India.

With an all-round, 360 degrees experience as a Bookseller, Publisher and Literary Agent - I head the group of BAHRI. I am also the head of affairs at RED INK and the Principal Agent to Amish Tripathi (India’s biggest and most popular author), Shrabani Basu, MissMalini, Amarendra (Bob) Swarup, Megha Rao, Shobha Nihalani, and a few more in our small family of Red Ink authors.

I believe, there is no story that has not been written, but the love with which it is narrated makes all the difference.

A story ‘well told’ is what I am looking for and someday I hope to be your agent as well.

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Anup Sah

Photographer & Mountaineer

A self-taught photographer and naturalist, Anup Sah has been one of the most iconic voices in Mountain photography for more than 20 years, with scores of magazines, books and exhibitions to his name. Born in a small town in Northern India, Nainital, Anup is known as master of peaks. Anup Sah has exhibited more than 2500 photographs in national and international photography salons and has over 300 awards to his credit.

He was named as one of the Top Ten Photographers in the country by The India International Photography Council (IIPC) in the years 1990, 1992 -2001 and in 2003 – 2005. He has also been honoured with Associateship Honour of India International Photographic Council, New Delhi.

Anup sah has been granted a fellowship (FICS) by image collegue society, USA.

An excellent mountaineer in his younger days, Anup has led and participated in various National and International Mountaineering Expeditions, Nanda Devi, Nanda Khat, Pawali Dwar, Devisthan, Shivling, Rudragaria, Panchchuli, and Shrikant to name a few. He still remains an active member of different mountaineering associations of the country. He is one of the active founders of Florists League, India and a Member of the Uttarakhand Wildlife Advisory Board.

Anup has been instrumental in organizing National and International Photography exhibitions in Uttarakhand since 1985 in collaboration with India International Photographic Council, Photographic Society of America, Federation of International Photography India and Federation of International De la Art Photography, Italy. He has also contributed as a Jury Member to judge various national and international recognized photography salons/ exhibit ions. These exhibitions has contributed to a large extend to popularize photography and environmental conservation

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Aseem Chhabra

Columnist & Writer

Aseem Chhabra is a freelance writer in New York City who writes on a variety of topics, including arts, entertainment, social and political issues stories. He has been published in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Courier-Journal, Time Out, New York.

He writes a weekly column for Mumbai Mirror – a Mumbai based daily newspaper and also contributes regularly to two Indian-American outlets — India Abroad and, the leading news portal that originates from Mumbai. His by-lines have also appeared in India in Outlook, and the Indian editions of People and Cosmopolitan magazines. Aseem has been interviewed on film and popular culture by several media outlets, including ABC’s Good Morning America and Nightline, National Public Radio, Associated Press, Reuters, The Los Angeles Times and New York Daily News.

Aseem has also worked in the publishing industry in the US, managing the businesses and finances of magazines at several leading companies including Reader’s Digest, American Express, American Media Inc., and Rodale Press.

He holds an MS degree in Journalism from Columbia University and an MBA from Boston University.

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Prof. Ashalata Kamble

Activist, Academician & Writer

Activist and well known writer Ashalata Kamble works as a lecturer in Pendharkar College, Mumbai. She has several books to her credit like Bahinabainchi Kavitta: Ek Aakalan (second edition), Samarth Striyancha Itihas, Yashodharechi Lek (Poetry), Aamchi Aai, Pravas Aamha Doghancha, She has won several awards for her work like Dr.Ambedkar International award from Canada, Prabhakar Padhye critics award from Konkan Sahitya Parishad, Maharashtra, Wamandada Kardak award from Darpan Sanskrutik Manch, Kankavli, Savitribai Phule-Fatima Sheikh award, Mahila Kasturi Bhushan Award from Dainik Pudhari. She has delivered lectures on feminism as well as Savitribai phule, Bahinabai choudhari and Therigatha. National blind association (NAB) has translated the books into audio recordings - Bhinabainchi kavita:ek aakalan and Samarth striyancha itihas. Some poems from yashodhrechi lek have been included for the study of M.A.Marathi, Mumbai University, India.

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Dipa Chaudhuri


With an M.Phil. in French Literature from Université Paris Diderot-Paris 7, Dipa Chaudhuri has been a publishing professional for nearly two deacdes. Starting out as a freelancer with Oxford University Press and Penguin Books India in 1998, she went on to work with some of India's leading publishing houses. Since 2010, she has been Chief Editor, Om Books International, and looks after the fiction and non-fiction publishing lists.

Amongst the authors she has worked with are Khushwant Singh, Mushirul Hasan, Nasreen Munni Kabir, Rakshanda Jalil, Rauf Ahmed, Khalid Mohamed, Bharathi S. Pradhan and Kris Gethin.

She is also the co-translator of Asterix in Hindi.

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Dr. Aman M Hingorani

Academician, Lawyer & Writer

Dr. Aman Hingorani is a practising lawyer and mediator in the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court. He has been engaged in teaching law and professional skills development since 1998 as adjunct faculty to students, law teachers and lawyers in India and abroad. Dr. Hingorani has 28 publications on varied subjects ranging from the Bhopal Gas tragedy to Indian Public Interest Litigation to intellectual property protection of bioengineered life forms to global missile proliferation. His book, ‘Unravelling the Kashmir Knot’ (SAGE), is the result of 20 years of research on the Kashmir issue, and offers an unconventional way forward.

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Dr. Sabyn Javeri

Short Story Writer & Novelist

Sabyn Javeri is an award winning short story writer and the author of upcoming novel Nobody Killed Her . A political thriller based on the assassination of a female politician in an Islamic country, the book will be published by Harper Collins, Fourth Estate, in early 2017. Sabyn’s short fiction has been published in The Oxonian Review, The London Magazine, The South Asian Review, Bengal Lights, Wasafiri, World Audience, Trespass and Sugar Mule amongst others. Her short stories explore issues of gender, identity and displacement. They have been widely anthologised, and her essays on craft have appeared in Creative Writing textbooks in the UK. She has won The Oxonian Review short story award and was shortlisted for Meridian, Leaf books and the first Tibor Jones South Asia Prize.

Sabyn holds a Masters with Distinction from the University of Oxford and has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Leicester.

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Dr. Shivani Chaturvedi

Gynaecologist, Columnist & Founder, Agra Book Club

Dr. Shivani Chaturvedi is a Laparoscopic Surgeon and Director of Obstetrics Gynaecology Super-Speciality Centre. She is the Founder of Agra Book Club and Vice President of Gayatri Public Schools (10+2 CBSE Schools). She also serves as the Executive Member UPHAI and IMA Agra. She writes for Hindustan Times, Gaon Connection and has written and published several papers in articles in relevant academic fields.

She has been invited as a speaker and panellist in several conferences and seminars and is an expert in leaders in cervical cancer vaccination EXCEL program. She has received national award for gynaecology oration on safe abortion in 2002. She runs the campaign for awareness and positive gynaecological health for adolescent girls.

She is also working as a social activist and is on advisory board of several women and social organizations. She is considered a gender sensitive motivational speaker.

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Geet Chaturvedi

Hindi Poet & Novelist

Geet is a Hindi poet and novelist. He has authored five books till now. In 2010, he published three of his books, two collections of novellas - Savant Aunty Ki Ladkiyan (Aunt Savant and Her Daughters) and Pink Slip Daddy, and a collection of poetry, Aalaap Mein Girah (The Knotted Preludes). He was awarded the Bharat Bhushan Agrawal Award for poetry in 2007. He is regarded as one of the major poets in contemporary literature by critics as well as by various periodicals and newspapers. He was termed one of the 'Ten Best Writers' of India by the English Daily Indian Express in 2011. His poems have been translated into eight languages. He has translated into Hindi the poems of Pablo Neruda, Lorca, Adunis, Czeslaw Milosz, Mahmoud Darwish, Adam Zagajewski, Bei Dao, Dunya Mikhail, Iman Mersal and Eduardo Chirinos.

He is currently working on his first full-length novel Ranikhet Xpress. He lives in Bhopal, India.

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Gurcharan Das

Economist & Writer

Gurcharan Das is the author of India Grows at Night: A Liberal Case for a Strong State , as well as two other non-fiction works, The Difficulty of Being Good and India Unbound . He has also written a novel, A Fine Family , and an anthology, Three Plays. He studied philosophy at Harvard and was CEO of Procter & Gamble India before he became a full-time writer. He writes a regular column for Times of India and six Indian-language papers, and periodically for the Financial Times , the New York Times , and the Wall Street Journal . He lives in Delhi.

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Hridayesh Joshi

Journalist & Writer

Hridayesh Joshi started his career as a journalist in 1998. He then worked as a reporter-assistant producer with a news and current affair programme on Jammu & Kashmir. In 1999 he joined television news agency Asian News International (ANI). As a correspondent he covered Punjab, Kashmir and other parts of country extensively. He then moved to premier Hindi news channel Aaj Tak and worked till 2003 as an associate producer.

In January 2003 Hridayesh joined the New Delhi Television (NDTV), India’s most prestigious and largest News TV group. NDTV India proved to be the turning point in his career. Hridayesh was given total independence to pursue the kind of stories he always wanted to report. He travelled the remotest of India’s villages and brought most appalling stories about malnutrition, poverty, backwardness, lawlessness and the absence of Indian state machinery.

In the last almost ten years Hridayesh has consistently covered armed conflict between the Maoists and the Indian state. Be it Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, he is among the few who reaches the spot first, often walking through the dense forests on foot for days. In 2012 Hridayesh’s hard work was recognized. He was given the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for his reporting from war zones of central India. He is among the rare journalist who has won the RN Goenka award twice, the first time in 2009 for his reporting from China. At the height of anti-China tirade in India, Hridayesh showed how there is a bit of India in Chinese hearts. Apart from India being a huge market, Hridayesh saw Indian culture having made deep inroads in the Chinese mind and heart.

During Kedarnath tragedy in 2013 Hridayesh Joshi was among the few reporters who covered the calamity most comprehensively. In fact, he was the first to reach the Kedarnath Shrine and report on the ground situation. He stayed back in Uttarakhand for more than a month and trekked the most difficult parts of the state to bring out the story of common people which in generally lost in the din of daily news.

Hridayesh, currently a senior editor (national affairs) with the NDTV-India has recently authored a few books. ‘Rage Of The River – The Untold Story Of The Kedarnath Disaster’ ( published by Penguin India) and ‘Lal Lakeer’ (The Red Line) by Harper Collins India.

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Kanchana Banerjee


I enjoy writing thrillers, reading about cold cases, true crime events and these often serve as inspiration for my stories. I’m the author of 3 books - A Forgotten Affair (2016), Nobody’s Child (2019) and Eye on You (2021). Nobody’s Child will soon be a web series on an OTT platform.

I enjoy reading about writing and have completed various writing courses. I have done writing courses at the London School of Journalism, Curtis Brown Creative (London). I’m passionate about writing and honing my craft. There’s no end to learning and I believe we are all ‘work-in-progress.’

I conduct a session called TellTale with Kanchana on Instagram. This is a chat series with authors and other personalities.

In another lifetime, I used to be a freelance writer for publications and companies. I have written for almost all the leading publications in the country and worked with reputed MNCs as a writer. Some names I’ve been associated with – TOI, Femina, Marriott hotels, Colgate, Unilever, UNICEF, Deccan Herald, Deccan Chronicle & others.

Currently,I’m a full-time author and live in Gurgaon with my family and way too many plants. My 4th book is titled Until I find you – it’s a thriller inspired by a true crime event that happened in the USA in 1970s. It will be published soon and I’m currently writing my 5th.

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P.S. Sreedharan Pillai

The Hon’ble Governor of the State of Goa

Shri P.S. Sreedharan Pillai is the Hon’ble Governor of the State of Goa. His Excellency was born in Venmony Panchayat of Alappuzha District, Kerala to V.G. Sukumaran Nair and Bhavani Amma. Shri Sreedharan Pillai is a successful lawyer, a former politician, an organizer par excellence, an orator, a prolific writer, a philanthropist and a thinker.

Shri Pillai graduated in Arts from Pandalam NSS College. Later, he pursued his Degree in Law from Calicut Law College and completed the course in the year 1978. During his stint at the Law College, Shri Pillai was the Editor of the College Magazine of his tenure.

A bilingual author, Shri Pillai writes both in English and his mother- tongue Malayalam with ease and dexterity on topics close to his heart such as politics, social and legal issues and poetry. So far, he has written more than 130 books including 15 poetry collections in Malayalam and English. 
 His detailed profile can be seen on

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Divya Dutta

Actor and Writer

DDivya Dutta is an actor, author and now a poet too. The talented actor won a National Award for best actor (female) in a supporting role in 2018.

She has acted in more than 100 feature films in Hindi and Punjabi language, few notable films being Veer- Zara, Bhaag Milkha Bhag, My Friend Pinto, Stanley ka Dabba to name a few.

Her first poem that she wrote recently titled ‘Jab Sab Theek Hoga Na’, about going on lockdown in the country has been much appreciated.

Her memoir, Me and Ma, published in 2017 was one of the most talked about books that year. She launched her second book on 10th November 2021 titled, ‘The Stars In My Sky’.

Divya had four releases back to back during the lockdown that include Web Show Special Ops, the short film The Relationship Manager, Feature film Ramsingh Charlie and the second season of web show Hostages. Along with this, her recent releases include feature films like action-thriller, Dhakkad and a much-appreciated Punjabi language film, Maa.

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Barun Chanda

Actor and Writer

There have been three enduring passions in Barun's life advertising, acting and writing, and not necessarily in that order. With a Master's degree in English from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, he embarked upon a career in advertising that spanned more than three decades, winning him numerous accolades and awards as a Creative Director.

Acting happened in his career as a happy accident. Chosen by Satyajit Ray to play the protagonist in the film Seemabaddha, Barun came up with an inspiring performance as a high-flying executive that won him a special President's Award for acting. After a hiatus of nearly two decades, he returned to acting and has since tackled challenging roles in both Bollywood and Tollywood with equal aplomb, distinguishing himself in films as Lootera, Roy, Chotushkone, Mishor Rohoshya, Bela Sheshe and Chorabali.

The third passion in Barun's life has been writing. At one time a regular film reviewer, and contributor of feature articles in major dailies, he has so far published four highly acclaimed novels in Bengali. His work has played a major role in establishing the adult thriller genre in Bengali literature. While the first two novels in English, Coke and Murder in the Monastery, are crime stories, Ray :The Man Who Knew Too Much would be his first non- fiction book in English.

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Gajra Kottary

Author and Scriptwriter

Gajra Kottary is an author and scriptwriter who made a transition from journalism, after winning The Hindu gold medal from the Indian Institute of Mass Communications. Having worked at The Statesman in New Delhi and written for Choices, the magazine of the United Nations Development Program, she published her first collection of women-centric short stories Fragile Victories in 1996.

Her debut novel, stemming partly from her own life experiences, Broken Melodies was published by HarperCollins India Publishers in 2011. Her other novels include Once Upon A Star, which is based on the entertainment industry, was released in 2014 and Girls Don’t Cry, which parses the lives of three generations of women in a family, was issuedin 2017; all by HarperCollins India. Her e-book Not Woman Enough waspublished by Juggernaut Publishers on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2021. Gajra’s latest work, her first in non-fiction, Healing at the Movies, which she co-wrote was released in early 2021 by Hay House Publishers. It deals with the therapeutic value of Hindi Cinema.

Gajra entered the audio-visual world by being a script associate with Mahesh Bhatt in 1999 on a film Ye Zindagi Ka Safar. She subsequently has written the stories of several successful nationally telecast television shows such as the record-setting Balika Vadu, Astitva - Ek Prem Kahani, Jyoti, Hamare Tumhare and the mega-historical 55-episode Buddha. For her endeavours in television, Gajra has won almost all the industry awards, several times over.

Most recently, Gajra has turned her attention to the world of audiobooks. She has written two audio books for Storytel; The Perfect Switchand#Couple Goals, voiced by Soha Ali Khan. A 10-episode Hindi audio series is slated for release in late 2022.

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Suhail Mathur

Book Agent

Suhail Mathur is an award winning and bestselling author of the historical-mythological fiction, THE BHAIRAV PUTRAS and the mythological-fantasy, THE HUNT FOR RAMA’S BOW, a TedX speaker, and is one of the country’s premier literary agents via his agency, THE BOOK BAKERS, through which he has worked on more than 800 books.

An alumnus of Delhi Public School, NOIDA and National Law University, Delhi, Suhail, a lit fest regular and the festival director of the largest & longest online Literature Festival; The Book Bakers Online Literature Festival, has also worked as an English cricket commentator for Star Sports & Airtel’s mobile app.

His name has also been listed as one of the ‘Top 51 Indian Writers To Follow’ by EBooksIndia and called ‘India’s JK Rowling’ by and ‘India’s Rick Riordan’ by ED Times.

He has sold several Book To Screen deals, worked with several actors, cricketers and bestselling authors apart from having written and worked on web series, TV shows and animated series. He is currently working in a leading General Entertainment Channel where he looks into new show development and the acquisition of international animation shows & movies, and Indian live action content.

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Sri Chanchalapathi Dasa

Senior Vice-President of ISKCON, Bangalore, Vice-Chairman of the Akshaya Patra Foundation

His Grace Sri Chanchalapathi Dasa (legal name Chandrashekar) was born in 1963 in Bengaluru, India. While an undergraduate student in PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, he became interested in the message and mission of Srila Prabhupada, the founder-acharya of ISKCON. Later he joined the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore for a Masters program in Electrical Communication Engineering. In 1984 he became a full-time dedicated member of ISKCON, Bangalore and soon became the Vice President. He has been involved in the implementation of the various programs of ISKCON, Bangalore and The Akshaya Patra program.

He was also involved in the story research, script direction and creative design of the 13 episode (23 minutes each) 3D animated TV serial Little Krishna, which became a prime time show in Nickelodeon Channel in India.

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K K Muhammed

Archeaologist and Historian

Shri Muhammed K.K, retired from the Archaeological Survey of India as Regional Director ( North ) in 2012,is known for his enlightened and broad views on some of the issues for which he was felicitated by no less a person than Dr Subhramanya Swami. He was awarded INDIA HARMONY AWARD 2014” by Dr Najma Heptulla for working closely with various religious groups.

During his distinguished carrier he excavated IBADAT KHANA (the hall of interreligious discussions) where Akbar, the Great promulgated the composite religion, known as Din-e-Ilahi. He also located and excavated the first CHRISTIAN CHURCH of North India built by Akbar at Fatehpur Sikri.

As superintending Archaeologist in Bihar (1998-2000), Shri Muhammed, discovered a new BUDDHIST STUPA at Rajgir and excavated KESARIYA STUPA where LORD BUDDHA had handed over his begging bowl to the people of Vaishali.

He conserved Samlur temple at Dante wada in Jagdalpur (Chattisgarh) working with NAXAL group of the area in 2003. Shri Muhammed, reconstructed EIGHTY TEMPLES at CHAMBAL VALLEY with the help of the DREADED DACOITS of the area. It is considered as a milestone in the field of conservation (2004-2008).

Of the four TRANSPLANTATIONS so far executed in India, Shri Muhammed has the distinction of heading two of them, namely KURDI MAHADEV temple in Goa (1994-1997) and CHAUBIS AVATAR TEMPLE temple at OMKARESHWAR in Madhya Pradesh (2004-2007).

Naturally due to his excellent track record, the Archaeological Survey of India deemed it fit to entrust him the conservation work of Delhi monuments on the occasion of COMMON WEALTH – 2010.

In Delhi Shri Muhammed attracted the attention of AMERICAN PRESIDENT BARRACK OBAMA by running SLUM SCHOOLS for the labourers working in the monuments for its conservation.

He was honored with India's fourth highest civilian honor Padma Shri in 2019 by the Hon'ble President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind.

For his excellent work, Shri Muhammed has to his credit three International Awards, seven National Awards and one State Award. The details are as given below

International Awards:

  • SAARC ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD for Conservation of Bateshwar temples by Foundation of SAARC writers and Literatures 2009-2010 (2010).
  • SRILANKA MAHA BODHI SOCIETY AWARD 2010 for “Invaluable contribution and effort in resurrecting the ancient Buddhist heritage of Mahabharath.”
  • REACH FOUNDATION AWARD for the year 2010 by the Board of Trustees in Chennai.

National Awards:

  • NATIONAL AWARD FOR MAINTAINING SANCHI STUPA, A WORLD HERITAGE SITE as the Best Maintained & Tourist Friendly Monument. The award was instituted by the Ministry of Tourism Govt. Of India 2006-2007. Award for Sanchi Stupa.
  • NATIONAL AWARD FOR MAINTAINING QUTB MINAR as the best Maintained & Tourist Friendly monument 2007-2008. Award for Qutb Minar.
  • 3. NATIONAL AWARD FOR THE FIRST BARRIER FREE MONUMENT (QUTBMINAR) 2007-2008. Award for Barrier Free Monument (QutbMinar), shared with Swayam An NGO.
  • NATIONAL AWARD FOR MAINTAINING HUMAYUN’S TOMB as the Best Maintained & Tourist Friendly monument 2008-2009.
  • CITIZEN JOURNALIST AWARD- Be the Change given by Network18 (CNN IBN) 2009-2010 for running Slum School initiative. Award of Citizen Journalist for running Slum Schools.
  • NATIONAL AWARD FOR MAINTAINING RED FORT as the Best Maintained & Tourist Friendly monument 2009-2010. Award for Maintaining Red Fort.

State Award:

  • MADHYA PRADESH GOVERNMENT AWARD for Tourist Friendly Archaeologist 2009-2010.

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Nishtha Satyam

Head, Strategic Partnerships, Policy Impact & PR, UN Women

Nishtha Satyam heads Strategic Partnerships, Policy Impact and Public Relations for UN Women, the entity of the United Nations that is dedicated to working towards Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment. Nishtha has had a long standing career with the United Nations in India prior to which she spent around a decade working in the private sector with leading firms such as KPMG and American Express as an Economist. As a futurist and feminist, she is an active advocate of the urgency to mainstream women across the marketplace, workplace and community. Nishtha has authored a number of studies on the business value of inclusion and continues to be excited about exploring the interplay of policy, politics and people to foster growth for the most marginalized. She spends her time advising businesses of approaches to create shared value and is closely associated with India's first integrated sports portal, Book My Sports.

Nishtha holds a Master's Degree in International Business from the University of Nottingham, UK and Bachelors in Economics from Delhi University. She loves to write travelogues and also hopes to write a war love story one day. She believes strongly in the power and outreach of creative media in reaching out to people's lives and thoughts and manages the Gurgaon Documentary Club, which brings together like minded individuals interested in the power of outreach through documentaries.

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Poonam Saxena

Journalist & Editor

Poonam Saxena went to school and college in Delhi. She did her BA and MA in History from St Stephen's College in Delhi University. She went on to do an M Phil from DU on "Women and Political Participation in the United Provinces 1937-47".

She has been a journalist for almost 20 years, first as a freelancer and then as features editor with newspapers such as The Asian Age. Poonam launched the Hindustan Times Sunday magazine, Brunch, in 2004 and edited it for 12 years, making it one of the most popular and loved Sunday offerings of any newspaper and also one of Hindustan Times' biggest brands. She has now moved to her new role in HT -- National Weekend Editor, looking after the special weekend feature pages in the main paper, as well as building up a strong digital Sunday section. She also wrote a popular TV review column in HT called Small Screen for almost ten years.

She recently translated Gunahon Ka Devta, the iconic 1949 novel and Hindi fiction's biggest ever bestseller, into English (Chander & Sudha, Penguin Viking). The novel was written by one of Hindi literature's most well known and brilliant writers, Dharamvir Bharati, when he was just 23 years old. Chander & Sudha has received excellent reviews. She has also co-authored celebrity filmmaker and television host Karan Johar’s memoir, An Unsuitable Boy, which will be published later this year.

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Rashmi Menon


Rashmi Menon has been part of the Indian publishing industry for nearly a decade. She is currently the commissioning editor at Amaryllis. Rashmi enjoys helping new authors to develop a book idea and outline to really make it their own. She gets a kick from seeing her projects realised in print.

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Satyarth Nayak

Crime Fiction Writer

Satyarth Nayak is an author & script-writer based in New Delhi. Holding Masters in English Literature from St. Stephen’s, his debut novel The Emperor’s Riddles was a best-selling thriller. Described as ‘a history meets mystery’ by Times of India and ‘a gripping tale of intrigue’ by Hindustan Times, the book was also acclaimed by Amish Tripathi and Ashwin Sanghi. Earning comparisons with Dan Brown, the thriller is now being released as an Audio Book by Amazon in US. Satyarth’s short stories have also been published by Penguin and Westland. A regular speaker at various literature festivals. Satyarth was recently named one of the Top 50 authors to follow on Facebook. He is currently working on his next thriller and also planning books on Mahabharat and Indian scriptures.

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Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri


Shantanu Ray Chaudhuri is an editor, author, journalist and film critic. Books he has commissioned and edited have won a number of national awards. He has worked with leading Indian authors and contributes to Cinemaazi, Daily Eye, Film Companion, Telegraph, among other magazines and portals.

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Swati Rai


Swati Rai is a freelance corporate, English language and Soft Skills trainer. She writes on her experiences as a Flexi'mom' and a careerist. Her writing canvas includes lifestyle, career tips and trends, cinema, technology and society! Heritage, history and its preservation is a theme close to her heart. She is currently working on a book that is an amalgamation of career trends, tips and life mantras! She can be caught on @RaiSwatiRai on twitter

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Vish Dhamija

Crime Fiction Writer

Vish Dhamija is a marketer, classic car enthusiast, single malt aficionado and a crime fiction author of four bestselling novels: Nothing Lasts Forever, Bhendi Bazaar, Déjà Karma and Doosra . On the release of his first legal thriller Déjà Karma, Glimpse magazine called him “India’s John Grisham” for stimulating the genre of legal fiction in India. His fifth book releases this December, with two legal thrillers in the pipeline for 2017

More about me, if you need:

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Kulpreet Yadav


Kulpreet Yadav is a bestselling author, motivational speaker, startup mentor, and Founder-Editor of Open Road Review , South Asia's leading online magazine of literature and culture. Kulpreet’s latest novel, The Girl Who Loved a Pirate , is India’s first thriller based on marine piracy and hijacking. A new novel, The Girl Who Loved a Spy , is forthcoming in end Aug 16. Passionate about Creative Writing, Kulpreet also mentors aspiring writers at schools and colleges and has spoken at many literary festivals in India and abroad. An ex-armed forces officer, he now lives in New Delhi. More at

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Asif Noorani

 Newspaper & Television Writer

Asif Noorani is a former editor, senior columnist, author, book and music reviewer and a prominent Pakistani television personality. He is the author of Tales of Two Cities in which Kuldip Nayar narrates the migration of his family from Sialkot to Delhi, while Asif Noorani, who was only five at the time of Partition writes about his family's migration from Mumbai to Pakistan, when he was only eight. His second book, on the flamboyant Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi, was also a bestseller. His book on Mehdi Hasan, with two CDs, one of rare renditions of ghazals, and the other a medley of folk, film and semi-classical numbers will go into production for the third time. In 2012, he rewrote and updated the quick selling coffee-table book Journey Through Pakistan.

Asif Noorani contributes to leading Pakistani Dawn Group of Newspapers and occasionally Indian publications. His articles are on art, literature and music. He reviews books and music recordings. He is particularly known for his humorous writings and travelogues. He writes in English and Urdu.

An ardent crusader of the need for close contacts between Pakistanis and Indians, as also warm cultural relationship between their two countries, Asif Noorani was born in Mumbai, India in 1942 and belongs to a secular Urdu speaking family. His family migrated to Pakistan from Bombay. He obtained his Masters in English Literature in 1965 from the University of Karachi.

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Fazal Rashid


Fazal studied History in college. A love of reading led him to work as an assistant editor at Random House. A love for plants then led him to a job in which he helps create kitchen gardens. A love for stories led him to dastangoi. Fazal performs dastans with Fouzia.

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Fouzia grew up in the streets of Turkman Gate, Old Delhi. She studied at Bulbuli Khana, an Urdu-Medium school in her locality. Her love for literature led her to learn the art of storytelling known as dastangoi. During the last eight years she has performed over seventy shows, including at the India Habitat Centre, India International Centre and the National School of Drama. She is also the first female dastango of modern times.

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Rashmi Agarwal

Sufi & Ghazal Singer

RASHMI AGARWAL is a versatile musician, composer and performer, specialising in Sufi, Bhakti and Ghazal singing. Rashmi is the only Indian woman to win the Grand-Prix Award, at the prestigious IX International World Music Festival “Sharq Taronalari”(Melodies of Orient)in August, 2013, Samarkand, Uzbekistan. She is an empaneled artist of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). Extensively traveled and multi award winner Rashmi has performed at various national and international forums including USA, UK, Indonesia, Turkmenistan etc. Her music is emotive, expressive and soulful, having the blend of the rich Thumri gayaki, and the rustic earthiness of the folk style.

She has also released a number of original Sufi, Ghazal, Folk and Devotional albums and Singles.

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Tarun Vijay

Film Maker, Poet, Photographer & Writer

Author, film maker, poet and photographer Tarun Vijay has written 23 books, three in English and some have been translated into Kannada, Gujarati, Marathi and Chinese. A ‘ faithful vagabond,’ who loves to trek in most difficult regions like Zanskar and shoot and write . Scripted and Directed the story of Indus with famous film director Mr Ravi Chopra

His books include The Saffron Surge,,India Battles to Win (Rupa) and An Odyssey in Tibet. . Contributed for " Sita " ( Penguin). He writes regular column in more than 22 newspapers including Kannada, Gujarati, Marathi, Hindi, English, Punjabi, Urdu and sometimes in Tamil language media. He participated in the Shangri La dialogue in Singapore. Also led a multi party Parliamentary Delegation to Japan in October 2014.

Former Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha (Uttarakhand), President, Friends of France in Parliament, President, Parliamentary Group on India - China Friendship, Member, President , Shri Nanda Devi Raj Jat Poorv Peethika samiti, Uttarakhand, He is also Member, Governing Board, Parliamentary Network on WB and IMF.

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Rabi Thapa

Writer & Editor

Rabi Thapa is a writer and editor based in Kathmandu and London. He is the author of the short story collection Nothing to Declare (2011, Penguin India) and the Editor of the literary magazine La.Lit ( Rabi's writing has appeared in Outside Online, Profil, Indian Quarterly, Himal Southasian, The Cricket Monthly, Live Mint, Mumbai Mirror, The Sunday Guardian, and The National. His short biography of Thamel, Kathmandu's tourist quarter, is due to be published by Speaking Tiger in November 2016, and he is now working on a book on the environment.

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Rishu Nigam

Manager-Visual Media, Film and Television Unit of TERI

Rishu Nigam is a documentary filmmaker with The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) since 2001. She is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, and a recipient of the British Chevening Scholarship in Broadcast Journalism.

Over the last decade, Rishu has led TERI’s Film & TV Unit, with the objective of sharing TERI’s research in the fields of energy and environment with the wider public through the medium of films. She has directed and mentored a range of documentary films on ecology, livelihoods and climate change.

Rishu has also been instrumental in founding TERI’s community radio, Kumaon Vani, in Nainital. Here, she mentors the local farming community to use radio as a tool for accelerating sustainable development in the region.

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Ravinder Singh


Ravinder Singh is the bestselling author of I Too Had a Love Story, Can Love Happen Twice?, Like It Happened Yesterday, Your Dreams Are Mine Now & This Love That Feels Right. He has edited and compiled two crowd sourced anthologies named Love stories That Touched My Heart and Tell Me A Story. He is among the three highest selling authors in this country. After having spent most of his life in Burla, a very small town in western Odisha, Ravinder is currently based in New Delhi. He has an MBA from the renowned Indian School of Business (Hyderabad). His eight-year-long IT career started with Infosys and came to a happy ending at Microsoft where he worked as a senior programme manager. One fine day he had an epiphany that writing books is more interesting than writing project plans. He called it a day at work and took to full-time writing. He has also started a publishing venture called Black Ink to publish debut authors.

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Josy Joseph

Journalist & Writer

Josy Joseph is the author of the just released ‘A Feast of Vultures: The Hidden Business of Democracy in India.’

He is an award-winning investigative journalist based in New Delhi. His stories have repeatedly fostered public debate, and continue to contribute to significant policy and systemic changes in India. His investigative stories include the Adarsh Apartment scam, Naval War Room Leak case, several aspects of recent scandals such as the conduct of the Commonwealth Games, the 2G Spectrum Allocation scam, and other government decisions that have highlighted nepotism and corruption in governance at all levels.

The Prem Bhatia Trust elected him India’s best political reporter of 2010 ‘for his scoops and revelations, which include a list of scams that have become familiar names in the political lexicon’. In July 2013, the Ramnath Goenka Foundation run by the Indian Express group awarded him the Journalist of the Year in print media.

Joseph was with The Times of India until August 2015. He is presently the national security editor of The Hindu.

Joseph holds a master’s in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, and Bachelor of Science in mathematics from Kerala University.

He lives in New Delhi with his wife Priya and daughter Supriya and available at

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Priyanka Sinha Jha


Priyanka Sinha Jha is a journalist who in her 18-year long career has written on celebrities, films, lifestyle, business and more.

Born in Patna, Bihar she lived out a suitcase for a greater part of her growing up years in Asansol, Delhi and Pune gathering up an honours degree in English Literature from Miranda House and a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism before Mumbai claimed her as one of its own. She chartered a unique course as a correspondent for publications as varied as Citadel, The Asian Age and Intelligent Investor.

At the age of 26, she took on the editorship of Society, India's first celebrity magazine, followed by a stint as editor of HT Style and HT Saturday and then as the Editor of Screen, India's foremost film and entertainment weekly.

Currently, she is the Head of Content of Star Screen at Star India Network, She has also contributed to Outlook, The Week and Tehelka and is a regular columnist for The Indian Express.

Between analysing celebrities and earning her daily bread she likes to travel to unknown destinations, watch films and spend time arguing endlessly on egalitarian issues with friends and family.

Her recent mass-market self-help book 'Supertraits of Superstars' is a peek into the defining traits that can help a person live life star-size, should he or she decide to imbibe these traits.

Currently, the book is being translated into Gujarati and Marathi editions too.

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Antara Ganguli


Born in Kolkata, Antara Ganguli grew up in Bombay. Her novel Tanya Tania, an epistolary coming-of-age novel set in 1992 between Karachi and Bombay, was published by Bloomsbury India in July 2016. Antara has written for The Atlantic Monthly, The Wall Street Journal, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Times of India, Indian Express and others. She is a 2014 Asia Society Young Leaders Fellow and a 2015 Sangam House Fellow. She works in international development with a focus on girls’ empowerment and currently lives in New Delhi.

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Vikramjit Singh Rooprai

Heritage Activist

Vikramjit Singh Rooprai is a Heritage Activist and Founder of Youth for Heritage Foundation. He developed innovative techniques to spread awareness about history and challenged the traditional way of teaching. His methods include promoting heritage through poetry, theater, photography, music and discussions. Vikramjit started his career in the field of IT 14 years back and moved on to establish the Delhi Heritage Photography Club, which became India's largest platform for heritage lovers. His project is considered to be the most authentic and exhaustive resource on Delhi's heritage. He now works as a Digital Marketing Consultant and spends quality time for his belief of "Individual Social Responsibility". Learn more about him at

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Amrit Gangar

Film Historian and Writer

Amrit Gangar is a Mumbai-based author, curator, film theoretician and historian. He has independently authored books on cinema both in English and Gujarati languages, besides having edited and co-edited a number of books. His book Cinema Vimarsh has been awarded by the Gujarat Sahitya Akademi. For the past decade he has been engaged with his theoretical concept of Cinema Prayoga and has presented it at various venues in India and abroad. He has been on juries of numerous film festivals. Gangar is on the international advisory board of the Moving Image Review & Art Journal (MIRAJ) published from London. He is Consultant Curator for the National Museum of India Cinema being set up in Mumbai by Government of India.

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Rahul Bhatt

Scientist & Writer

Rahul Bhatt is a Scientist by profession but writing is his passion. He is an alumnus of ‘Kumaun University’ and also holds a master’s degree from ‘IIT Delhi’. He has published a few research papers in Indian and International Journals in the field of ‘Lasers’ and ‘Photonics’. He is also the first inventor in two Indian Patents.

He has written a novel - ‘Roots’, which is about memories, longing and displacement.

He lives in Delhi and his roots are in Pithoragarh (Uttarakhand).

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Smita Bahuguna Agarwal

Poet & Writer

Smita Agarwal belongs to Mussoorie, Uttarakhand. Her poems have received awards and residencies from the British Council. She is the author of Wish-granting Words, Poems (New Delhi: Ravi Dayal, 2002) and Mofussil Notebook (Calcutta: Sampark, 2016). She is editor of Marginalized: Indian Poetry in English , (Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2014). Her poems have been curated in magazines, journals and anthologies published from India and abroad. Her critical articles have appeared in Poetry Review, Journal of Commonwealth Literature and Plath Profiles for which she is also an editor. She is Professor of English, University of Allahabad, India, and a professional singer with samples of her songs available on , YouTube and SoundCloud.

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Janhavi Prasada

Janhavi Prasada is one of the founding members of the Kumaon Literary Festival. She was the co-host for the 1st edition of KLF at her heritage property in Nainital - Abbotsford ( Prasada Bhawan)

A graduate of St Stephen’s College, Delhi University and pursued her higher studies from Cardiff School of Journalism, UK. Sixteen years in the field of media she started her NGO – Youth 4 Gandhi Foundation in 2009 and worked for the next 3 years to research and bring back Gandhi in the daily lives of people.

Under the aegis of the foundation she ran a first of its kind online multimedia campaigns on re-discovering Gandhi across 3000 schools in Delhi , NCR and has the repertoire of collating one of the most extensive artwork archives on Gandhi in the 21st century in all formats (print, audio, digital) of new media. Her wide ranged experience led her to launch her NGO that uses media and technology tools to promote awareness about Gandhi and other issues such as health, education, environment, social justice.

More recently she conceived and created the only existing digital portal on Gandhi for children.

The publishing house – Harper Collins has approached Janhavi to write the first ever-graphic novel of Gandhi. It is to be launch shortly.

Janhavi is a contributor for travel articles as well as for her photography skills.

She is currently working as a “Peace Activist” in the area of “Technology.”

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Yossi Ghinsberg


Yossi Ghinsberg is an Israeli adventurer, author and speaker based in Australia .[1] He is most known for being lost and surviving alone in an uncharted part of the Bolivian Amazon for three weeks in 1981.[2][3]

Ghinsberg’s survival story was featured in a documentary in I Shouldn't Be Alive on Discovery Channel.[4] He wrote his first book titled Back from Tuichi in 1993.[5] The book became very popular in Israel and has been translated into 15 languages and published in several countries under different names - Heart of the Amazon (Macmillen) Back from Tuichi (Random House)[6] and Lost in The Jungle (Summersdale). In 2008, he wrote his second book titled Laws of the Jungle: Jaguars Don't Need Self-Help Books.

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Aditya Arya

Photograher & Collector

Aditya Arya ‘s Journey as a professional commercial and travel photographer, began in 1980 after graduating in history from St Stephens College, Delhi University. After a brief stint in the Bombay film industry, he shifted back to Delhi. Known for his advertising Photograohy work in the genres of Architecture ,Interiors ,Industrial and Food , Arya has been widely published by travel magazines and books,

He has curated many shows nationally and internationally of archival and contemporary visual works including some of them at at the prestigious Institutions like The National Gallery of Modern Art ,New Delhi , and the National Museum ,New Delhi .

Over the last couple of years, he has also been completely immersed in the subject and practice of photographic conservation. Uncovering the historic photographic works, pouring over thousands of negatives and vintage prints from the famous KULWANT ROY COLLECTION, honing his skills and knowledge on preservation, restoration and archiving. He has played a pivotal role in the formation of India Photo Archive Foundation.

He has also been on the Jury of the prestigious National Art Exhibition 2014 organized by Lalit Kala Akademi besides many other national shows.

Besides actively perusing his professional advertising and commercial assignments he divides his time in his photography archive and the only Photography and Camera Museum in India with more than 1000 cameras and other equipments tracing the history of photography from 1870’s to the Digital Era .

Aditya Arya started professional photography in 1980 after graduating in history from St Stephens College, Delhi University. Following a brief stint in the Bombay film industry shooting stills for Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro , Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho! , Arya shifted back to Delhi and has since gained eminence as a travel, as well as food, advertising and corporate photographer. He has been published widely in travel magazines and by book publishers. Notable among his works are the extensive travel and documentation of Nagaland, titled The Land of the Nagas published by Mapin, and the first ever exhaustive visual study of the masterpieces of Buddhist art at the Alchi Monastery in Ladakh.

Arya has been curator and organiser of several photography shows in Canada, USA and India. Over the last couple of years, he has also been completely immersed in the subject and practice of photographic conservation. Uncovering the historic photographic works, pouring over thousands of negatives and vintage prints, honing his skills and knowledge on preservation, restoration and archiving. Arya has played a pivotal role in the formation of India Photo Archive Foundation.

Aditya Arya started professional photography in 1980 after graduating in history from St Stephens College, Delhi University. Following a brief stint in the Bombay film industry, Arya shifted back to Delhi and has since gained eminence as a travel, as well as food, advertising and corporate photographer. He has been published widely in travel magazines and by book publishers. Notable among his works are the extensive travel and documentation of Nagaland, titled The Land of the Nagas published by Mapin, and the first ever exhaustive visual study of the masterpieces of Buddhist art at the Alchi Monastery in Ladakh.

Arya has been curator and organiser of several photography shows in Canada, USA and India. Over the last couple of years, he has also been completely immersed in the subject and practice of photographic conservation. Uncovering the historic photographic works, pouring over thousands of negatives and vintage prints, honing his skills and knowledge on preservation, restoration and archiving. Arya has played a pivotal role in the formation of India Photo Archive Foundation.

He was also a Director(2012 -2015) at Apex – Academy for Photographic Excellence, one of the leading photography academy of India in New Delhi,besides being a guest faculty at JAMIA ,Institute of Mass Communication ,New Delhi.

He was also a Guest Fellow(2012-14) at the prestigious INDIAN INSTITUTE OF ADVANCED STUDY ,Shimla

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Dr. Gaurav Raheja

Architect & Academician

Dr. Gaurav Raheja is an Associate Professor of Architecture at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee with over 10 years of teaching and research experience. Driven by a passion for architecture and human-space interactions, his professional dimensions span from inclusive designs for persons with disabilities, children and aging populations to developing stories of human-space relationships in visual formats through photo narratives and sketch renderings. He has been an IIT Faculty Exchange Scholar under the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), 2016. Also, he has been a visiting professor to various German Universities like Technical University of Berlin, University of Duisburg-Essen and Technical University of Darmstadt. He is a recipient of the Mphasis Universal Design Award in 2010, conferred upon him by the National Centre for Promotion and Employment of Disabled Persons (NCPEDP), India. Gaurav was one of the International Scholars for the DAAD Science Tour on ‘City of the Future’ during February, 2016.

He serves as an Expert Member in various national committees in Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India. Dr. Raheja is one of the co-authors of the Universal Design India Principles , copyrighted and released in 2011. He is a key consultant to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India under the Accessible India Campaign for some of the prestigious projects including Prime Minister’s Office, New Delhi Airport, New Delhi Railway Station, etc . His doctoral research cited in World Disability Report 2011, published by WHO & World Bank, offers an insight into creation of Enabling Rural Built Environments using Universal Design approach.

Besides his diverse interests in human centric urban studies, photo narratives and design pedagogy, Gaurav remains as one of the key managers in the Management Committee of ‘Anushruti’, a social initiative of IIT Roorkee for educating children with hearing impairments.

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Chandrashekhar Tiwari

Mr. Tiwari was born in Almora. With a Masters in Geography, he is currently working in Doon Library and Research Centre as a Research Associate. He has been continuously published in various magazines of Uttarakhand on subjects related to culture and socio-economic conditions. He has been an active part of programmes organised by Akashvani and Doordarshan. He has edited and written books related to the ways of people in Kumaon and Uttarakhand, on large. He has worked with UP State Rural Development Institute and Uttarakhand Environment Institute in the past.

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Sabarathinam Selvaraj

Sabarathinam Selvaraj is currently an Associate in the India practice of the Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG), an advisory firm chaired by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. At ASG, Saba helps multinational corporations and non-governmental organizations assess the policy landscape, identify advocacy opportunities, and help them collaborate with the Indian government. He holds a postgraduate diploma in liberal arts from the Young India Fellowship and an undergraduate degree in engineering. Having nursed political ambitions from a very young age, Saba has been actively volunteering by working in election campaigns. He also volunteers with organizations that enable more Indian women to join or stay in the workforce.

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Michael Swamy

Chef & Writer

Having studied at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu in London, and is a Gourmand Award-winning author himself, Michael Swamy believes in taking food and cuisine beyond the confines of a dinner table.

Touted as one of the ‘50 Masterchefs in India’ by the Indian Culinary Forum, Chef Michael has worked as a chef with several leading hospitality brands and properties and cooked for many personalities. He is also a consultant with many popular restaurant chains and stand-alone fine-dining restaurants. This experience coupled with his culinary expertise has enabled Michael to take Food Styling & Photography in India to a new level of refinement and global appeal.

As a food writer, he is the author of the Gourmand Award-winning “The East Indian Kitchen” and “Easy Guide to Pairing Indian Food and Wine” – his latest book Comfort Food has won several accolades and recently a publishers award for the Best Hard cover cookbook in India. Chef Michael has also worked as a food stylist, photographer and consultant on many award-winning cookbooks by leading publishing houses.

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James Champion

Naturalist, Conservationist & Writer

James Champion is a passionate wildlife enthusiast with a long and distinguished pedigree. His grandfather Frederick W Champion OBE IFS started campaigning vigorously for the protection of wildlife in the 1920s. FWC was also the pioneer of tripwire photography in India, now known as camera-trapping. His astonishing images graced the pages of publications including the Illustrated London News and Indian State Railways Magazine.

James has always been fascinated by wildlife, and is the guardian of much of his forefather's legacy. Conscious of the contribution that can still be made by FWC to wildlife conservation, with his astonishingly modern views of the importance of forests and nature, James' aim is to keep the legacy of his grandfather in India alive, and to inspire current and future generations of conservationists through his FWC's evocative writings and astonishing wildlife images.

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Dr. Rebecca Tavares

Ed.D. Representative, Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives & Sri Lanka, UN Women

Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, from Southern California, USA, has worked in the field of race relations and women’s rights. She is the representative of UN Women’s Office located in New Delhi, since July 2013, covering four countries of India, Bhutan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. Earlier, from 2009 to 2013, she was the UN representative for Brazil and Regional Programme Director of UN Women’s Brazil & Southern Cone Office.

Tavares has published, as editor, a book titled Race in Contemporary Brazil: From Indifference to Inequality, pertaining to racial inequality in Brazil and on issues of "black women’s status and roles." She has coauthored with Sonia Correa, a book titled Population and Reproductive Rights.

Tavares has written many books, monographs and papers related to sociology of race relations in Brazil, rights and entitlements of women, and microfinance in Latin America.

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Rishabh Raghavan

Young India Fellow

After completing his Bachelor’s in Journalism and Mass Communication from Manipal, Rishabh worked at a bicycle store in Bangalore. Two years and a couple of odd jobs later, he entered Ashoka University as a Young India Fellow, taking up the Master’s in Liberal Studies programme the following year, working under the mentorship of Jonathan Gil Harris. His thesis was on the Anti-Beggary Laws, focusing on the law’s phrasing; especially its criminalization of the Madari community and other street based performance artists. He is currently a Teaching Fellow at Ashoka University, simultaneously looking forward to pursuing his PhD in Social Anthropology.

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Ajay Rawat

Historian & Writer

Ajay Rawat is a much respected ecological crusader and highly acclaimed international authority on forests history and ecology. He was Chairman of the International Union of Forestry Research Organization,Vienna, from 1995 to 2005, the first Asian to be nominated to this position, It is the biggest and oldest forest research organization in the world. He has written many books chief among them being, Man and Forests, Forests on Fire, Forest History of the Mountain Regions of the World, Indian Forestry a Perspective, and Indian Forestry through the Ages. As an activist he successfully saved the famous Naini Tal Lake and nine other lakes in the Nainital Lake Region from ecological degradation owing to pollution through Public Interest Litigation .For his relentless work, erudition and passion he has been awarded with many accolades including the International Award, Order of the Golden Ark in Netherlands, Best RTI Citizen of India, Godfrey Phillips Bravery Gold Medal, Vijay Shree and First Narain Dutt Aushadhalaya Trust Award by the Vice President of India.

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Bharathi S Pradhan

Film Critic & Writer

Columnist, Critic & Author Bharathi Sanjaya Pradhan has written both fiction and non-fiction books, edited a variety of magazines and contributed to diverse publications that include Reader’s Digest, Mid-day, Savvy, Femina and Movie. She continues to be a Sunday columnist with The Telegraph (Kolkata), she hosts ‘Show Business’, a weekly show on analysis of films for LehrenTV, website and YouTube, and reviews English and Hindi films for LehrenTV, and a host of other digital platforms every Friday.

Bharathi has been a member of diverse juries, she was the Chairperson of the National Awards jury (for Best Writing on Cinema) and was a member of the Indian Panorama IFFI 2015.

She lives in Mumbai with Sanjaya, her Chartered Accountant husband and Siddhesh, her son who is currently studying law.

Books published

Author-columnist-writer Bharathi S Pradhan’s recently released book ‘Mr Bidi’, an authorised biography on an industrialist and philanthropist has been hailed for its inspirational value, for its honesty and for its readability Her ‘Heartfelt: The inspirational story of Medha Anup Jalota’ has been recommended as India’s answer to ‘The Secret’

Her book on communal harmony titled ‘Colas Cars & Communal Harmony’ received excellent reviews from a cross-section of critics

‘Anything But Khamosh’. the Shatrughan Sinha Biography, has been one of the best-selling books of 2016


Film critic for Film reviewer for Lehrentv & other platforms Sunday Columnist with The Telegraph Hosts Show Business on LehrenTV, website

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Jean Echenoz


Jean Echenoz was born in Orange in 1947. He was awarded the Médicis Prize in 1983 for his book Cherokee and the Goncourt Prize in 1999 for Je m’en vais.

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Maria Goretti

Former VJ & Writer

Maria Goretti is a popular MTV VJ. She has hosted several TV shows including Do It Sweet on the NDTV Good Times channel and I Love Cooking on Living Foodz.

Goretti was a popular MTV VJ before she was married to Arshad Warsi. She is the author of the recipe book “From My Kitchen To Yours”.

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Shatrughan Sinha

Film Actor & Politician

Shatrughan Sinha is an Indian film actor turned politician. He was selected by Rediff as one of the most unconventional actors in Hindi cinema. His first acting opportunity was playing a Pakistani military officer in Dev Anand's Prem Pujari.

Apart from being member of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha twice, he was also Union Cabinet Minister of Health and Family Welfare (Jan 2003-May 2004) and Shipping (Aug. 2004) in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. He was elected to 15th Lok Sabha in 2009. In 2016, a biography on him Anything but Khamosh was released.

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Dr. Sanjay Paswan

Former Cabinet Minister & Writer

Dr. Sanjay Paswan is former Central Minister, Associate Professor and a social thinker. He was Minister of state Human Resource Development in Vajpayee's government. He is former National President, Bharatiya Janata Party, S. C. Morcha and presently national executive member of Bharatiya Janata Party.

Educational Qualifications:

  • Ph.D., Patna University, Bihar.
  • M.A. in Sociology, Patna University, Bihar.
  • B.Sc., M.A. in Labour and Social Welfare.


  • Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi
  • Indian Society of Labour Economics, New Delhi
  • National Productivity Council
  • National Institute of Personnel Management, Calcutta
  • Indian Red Cross Society
  • Youth Hostel Association of India; Founder of N.G.O.s like “IJOT” and “LOKESHNA”; Member, Mineral Advisory Council
  • Member, National Railway Users’ Consultative Committee
  • Founder Chairman of "Vanchit Pratishthan" (N.G.O.)

Books Authored:

  • Biography of former Chief Minister of Bihar, Shri Bhola Paswan Shastri
  • The Problems of Scheduled Castes of Bihar
  • The Roots of Rural Violence
  • Encyclopedia of Dalits in India (in eleven vols.)
  • Rashtranishtha Babu Jagjivan Ram
  • The Social face of Indian Parliament (In Press)

Positions held

Former General Secretary Bihar; National Secretary and Incharge (Orissa), BJP

1999 Elected to 13th Lok Sabha

1 July 2002 - 28 Jan. 2003 Union Minister of State, Ministry of Communications & Information Technology 29 Jan. 2003- 23 May 2003 Union Minister of State, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment 24 May 2003- 24 May 2004 Union Minister of State, Ministry of Human Resource Development.

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Sanjay Hegde

Senior Advocate

Sanjay Hegde, the reputed Senior Advocate at the Supreme by his own admission is a “… history buff with a sense of humour & rumour. Militant secularist. Good food, good friends & good times make my day. Retweets are not endorsements.”

His twitter feed apart, few people know that Sanjay got selected by the UPSC for a non-IAS service, which he kept on hold for a couple of years, while he started out in the Supreme Court with the then Attorney General G.Ramaswamy who was his guru in court-craft.

As a debater and a quizzer growing up, clearly a quiet life behind a desk in a solicitor’s firm (that’s what corporate law was called then), did not appeal to Sanjay. It had to be courtrooms or nothing.

During this period he worked on several high profile cases, appeared for the Government of Indian before an international arbitral tribunal and from 1996 to 2004 was on the Union of India’s arguing panel before the Supreme Court. He also worked for a decade as the Advocate on Record for the State of Karnataka and thereafter focused on private practice.

He has frequently engaged in legal journalism including appearing on high-profile television panels, and writing as a columnist for newspapers such as The Hindu, India Today and Outlook.

Today, Sanjay has become the voice for civil rights, sometimes going against the “popular” grain. He believes, a democracy without a dissenter in it is impossible. Free men, in the exercise of free thought, will give vent in free speech. No matter how abhorrent the thought, or its manner of expression, a mature democracy will tolerate it, and even encourage its publication. It is better for an imperfect thought to be voiced, and rejected in the marketplace of ideas, than for it to fester within the warehouses of inexpressible thought. After all there is no greater idea of democracy than free men, freely and voluntarily, committing to the requirements of citizenship of a free country.

“Only totalitarian regimes suppress dissent and dissidents. Only a country not yet rid of its colonial hangover of a government that commands and controls, labels dissent as seditious. A truly free nation will confidently view even its advocated destruction as a bad idea that will fail in the marketplace of ideas,” he says.

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Sanjay Pandey

Journalist & Content Creator

Sanjay Pandey is the founder of Banyan Infomedia. The company provides specialised editorial and creative content for print, TV and web. Banyan Publishing, which is the publication wing of Banyan Infomedia, was launched with the objective of providing a platform to new and upcoming talent.

A postgraduate in Physics, Sanjay was born and brought in Uttarakhand and all his formative years were spent in the Himalayan state. He shifted to Delhi in 1994 but a part of him remained in hills of Kumaun. Sanjay feels very strongly about Uttarakhand and tries to raise the issues facing the state on every possible platform. Banyan Publishing's first venture, Roots is also based on the theme of rootlessness and loneliness, pangs of which have been faced by almost every second house hold in Uttarakhand.

He combines editorial sense with business acumen having worked in both fields. He was the Business Development Head for India's first private broadcaster, Zee News Limited. Before that he was output editor for Zee News, responsible for all the on air content and programming.

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Ravi Kant

Academician & Cinema Historian

Ravikant is a bilingual historian, writer and translator working with the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi. He read, taught and researched history at University of Delhi before joining the Sarai Prgramme in 2000. He has authored Media ki Bhasha-Leela (Vani Prakashan, 2016), and collaboratively edited Translating Partition: Stories, Essays, Criticism (Katha, 2001); Deewan-e-Sarai 01://Media Vimarsh: Hindi Janpad, and Deewan-e-Sarai 02: Shahernama (Vani). He also co-edits the Indian Languages Programme's academic journal Pratiman and his recent essays on inter-media history of Hindi cinema are available online at, Kafila, gadyakosh, janakipul and rachnakaar.

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Piyush Mishra

Film & Theatre Personality

Piyush Mishra (born 13 January 1963) is an Indian film and theatre actor, music director, lyricist, singer, scriptwriter. Mishra grew up in Gwalior, and went to graduate from National School of Drama, Delhi in 1986. Thereafter, he started his career in Hindi theatre in Delhi. Over the next decade he established himself as a theatre director, actor, lyricist and singer. He shifted to Mumbai in 2002, actor, lyricist and screenwriter, and receiving acclaim for his acting in Maqbool (2003) and Gangs of Wasseypur (2012).

As a film lyricist and singer, he is noted for his songs "Arre Ruk Ja Re Bandeh" (Black Friday, 2004), "Aarambh Hai Prachand" (Gulaal, 2009), "Ik Bagal" (Gangs of Wasseypur - Part 2, 2012), and "Husna" (MTV Coke Studio, 2012)

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Raj Shekhar


Raj Shekhar is a Hindi film lyricist who has woven numerous songs with his magical words; Tanu weds Manu and TanuWeds Manu

Returns being some of his most notable pieces of work.

He is also a poet and a celebrated fiction author of children’s literature. A post graduate in literature from University of Delhi, Raj Shekhar has come a long way from his native town in Bihar - Madhepura.

His original and translated published work includes: 'Ruru raag', 'Pakdo uss bille ko', 'Five little monkeys' and 'Abu'. Abu is one of his personal favourites. ‘Abu’ was a part of the much praised anthology “Being Boys” which also featured some of the country’s most remarkable authors like R.K. Narayan, Manjula Padmanabhan, Vikram Seth and Jerry pinto along with him. It was his privilege to be a part of such an ensemble. His poems have been published in several prestigious literary magazines and he has also performed in numerous literary and cinema events.

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Faiza S Khan


Faiza S Khan is the Editorial Director of Bloomsbury India and freelance culture writer. Her work has appeared in publications including the Guardian, the New Republic, Caravan, Mint, and The Daily Beast. She is based in Delhi and London.

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Pavan K Varma

Member of Parliament

Writer-diplomat Pavan K. Varma is a graduate in History from St. Stephen's College (securing the first position in the College), after which he took a degree in Law from the University of Delhi. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1976. He has been Press Secretary to the President of India, the Spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs, Joint Secretary for Africa, High Commissioner for India in Cyprus, Director of the Nehru Centre in London, Director General of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi, and Ambassador of India to Bhutan.

A writer of depth and insight, he has written over a dozen best selling, books including the highly successful Krishna: The Playful Divine on India’s most popular deity, the critically applauded biography of the Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib, Ghalib: The Man, The Times, and the Havelis of Old Delhi. His first book on a contemporary subject was the path breaking The Great Indian Middle Class (published also in French), followed by the astoundingly successful Being Indian: The Truth About Why the 21st Century Will Be India’s (Viking/Penguin 2004). Being Indian was described by The Economist as “one of the most subtle recent attempts to analyse the continent-sized mosaic of India and simplify it for the general reader.” It was published by Random House, in the United Kingdom, as Being Indian: Inside the Real India in March 2005. The Japanese, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian translations of this book were very well received. Another work is a witty adaptation of Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra, which was published early in 2007 by Roli Books and has been translated into French and German.

Mr. Varma has also translated the poetry of Kaifi Azmi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Gulzar (three volumes), all published by Penguin.

His book titled: Becoming Indian: The Unfinished Revolution of Culture and Identity (Penguin-Allen Lane) was launched in February, 2010 and deals with the pivotal issues of culture and identity for postcolonial societies. A Hindi and a French edition has been published.

Mr. Varma’s first work of fiction When Loss is Gain was launched in January 2012 by Aleph to much critical acclaim. It is now to be made into a Bollywood film.

Gulzar’s translation of Mr. Varma’s epic poem Yudhister & Draupadi (alongwith the published original in English) was released in October-November 2013 by Penguin. Yudhister and Draupadi has now been adapted into a Play –Paansa- written by Gulzar, with extensive performances both in India and abroad.

Mr. Varma’s book Chanakya’s New Manifesto: To Resolve the Crisis within India was launched by Aleph in January 2013. His latest book, The New Indian Middle Class: The Challenge of 2014 and Beyond, was published by Harper-Collins in 2014.

Mr. Varma was the chief guest at the Hyderabad Literary Festival (2011) and delivered the Inaugural Address.

Mr. Varma was conferred an Honorary Doctoral Degree for his contribution to the fields of diplomacy, literature, culture and aesthetics by the University of Indianapolis in 2005. Mr. Varma was also awarded by His Majesty the King of Bhutan, the Druk Thuksey Award, Bhutan’s highest civilian Award. He is the only serving Indian Ambassador in Bhutan to have received this Award. Mr Varma has also received the Lifetime Achievement Award by his school, St Xavier’s Delhi, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award by St. Stephen’s College, University of Delhi.

A widely admired public speaker and television commentator, Pavan K. Varma’s columns appear regularly in The Times of India, The Asian Age and several other leading publications. Mr Varma was till 1st January, 2013 the Indian Ambassador to Bhutan, after which he took premature retirement from service. In the same month, Mr Varma joined as Adviser (Culture) to the Chief Minister of Bihar, with the rank of Cabinet Minister. With effect from June, 2014 he was a Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) until July 2016. He was a member of the Standing Committee on External Affairs, Committee on Government Assurances and Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. He was also been nominated to the Samsad (Court) of the Visva Bharati University, West Bengal, and the Court of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Mr. Varma lives in Delhi and can be contacted at his email

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Dr. Kavita Pania


Dr. Kavita Pania, M.Phil, Ph.D (Hindi), hails from Udaipura, Madhya Pradesh, is a Writer, Composer and Poet | Committed to expanse “Hindi as a Language” with awareness for “Poetry”| Strong zeal to work on Literature with Hindi Language as its Axis | Felicitated with “Sahitya Sadhak Samman” in 2015 | First Poetry Book "Kavitanshu – Har Ummed Ek Nayi Shuruvat”, launched at “Bangalore Literature Festival, (BLF 2015)

Hindi Lecturer by profession at Bangalore, penned many articles & poems, which got articulated into “Kavitanshu” and other channels. She is vigorously participative in Literature based events like BLF, Bangalore Poetry Festival and with AIR Bangalore, Rajasthan Patrika, Naiduniya, Arnav (Research Journal), Sahitya Sadhak Manch, Sahitya Sangam and Guest Author at Schools.

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Apurv Kumar Mishra

Young India Fellow

Apurv Kumar Mishra is currently the Editor-in-Chief at India Law Journal and Senior Research Fellow at India Foundation. He is also Visiting Faculty at Ashoka University and teaches courses on law at several institutions including Maharashtra National Law University, Mumbai; Miranda House, Delhi University and NLIU Bhopal. Apurv is a founding member of Robin Hood Army (RHA)- a voluntary organisation of young professionals and students that works to get surplus food from restaurants across to the less fortunate people in 30 cities across 7 countries. He has previously worked at Albright Stonebridge Group- a Washington-based strategic advisory firm and is a freelance writer on public policy issues for several publications.

Apurv completed his B.A. LL.B (Hons.) from National Law Institute University Bhopal. After graduation, he joined the Mumbai office of law firm Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co. In 2013, Apurv was selected for the Young India Fellowship- a scholarship based, one-year, liberal arts program at Ashoka University.

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HE Krishan Kant Paul

Governor, Uttarakhand

HE Dr. Krishan Kant Paul is the 6th and current Governor of Uttarakhand. He had previously served as Governor of Meghalaya for over one year with additional charge of Mizoram and Nagaland for the same post.As a former officer of Indian Police Service he had previously served as Commissioner of Police, Delhi from February 2004 till retiring from service in July 2007.

Paul is credited with having cracked the first ever cricket betting racket in which South African captain Hansie Cronje was indicted. Paul has experience working in the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

While posted in Delhi, he had wide ranging experience of urban policing and was involved in handling some mega events like the 1982 Asian Games, followed by NAM and CHOGM in 1983.

Paul after retirement from police service, became a member of Union Public Service Commission, New Delhi on July 26, 2007. He served there till July 2013.

He did his post-graduation in Chemistry from Punjab University, Chandigarh, followed by Ph.D thesis in Fluorine chemistry, which was highly commended and resulted in 15 research publications, of a technical nature, in international scientific journals of repute. In the context of his research work in Chemistry, he has over 20 papers published in international scientific journals of repute.

Married to Omita Paul, a former Indian Information Service officer, who is currently posted as Secretary to the Hon'ble President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee. Paul is an avid cricket lover. He was amongst the first Ph.D holders in Police Service, he has maintained his touch with the academics and continued to write on various matters of topical interest. One of his Columns "Brass Tacks" appeared regularly in "The Tribune".

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Deep Belwal

Patron, Oldest Family of Dhela

Born in Ramnagar, Deep Chandra Belwal spent his growing years amidst the very people and the jungles that Jim Corbett considered his own turf.

His ancestors were the first settlers in this ‘Bhabhar’ tract adjoining Ramnagar. His grandfather, Rai Bahadur Prem Ballabh Belwal together with Jim Corbett, was instrumental in determining the boundaries of the Hailey National Park which now is known as Jim Corbett National Park.

Time spent at his orchards and farm, on the fringe of Jim Corbett National Park, have thrown into sharp reflection the increase in man animal conflict and much of his spare time is now utilised in promoting agricultural practices in tune with habitat conservation and in mitigating man animal conflict.

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Vikram Sampath

Historian and Writer

Bangalore based historian, Dr. Vikram Sampath is the author of six acclaimed books: Splendours of Royal Mysore: the Untold Story of the Wodeyars; "My Name Is Gauhar Jaan: The Life and Times of a Musician", "Voice of the Veena: S Balachander -­‐ A Biography" and "Women of the Records." His latest books are the two-volume biography--- "Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past" and "Savarkar: A Contested Legacy" from Penguin Random House India---both of which have gone on to become National Best Sellers and acclaimed by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

Dr. Sampath was recently conferred the honour of being elected as a Fellow of UK's prestigious Royal Historical Society. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi's first Yuva Puraskar in English literature and the ARSC International Award for Excellence in Historical research in New York for his book on Gauhar Jaan. The book has also been adapted to theatre as a play "Gauhar" by Lillette Dubey and is being adapted to a Bollywood film by Ashutosh Gowariker. Dr. Sampath was among the 4 writers and artists to be selected as a Writer-in-Residence at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in 2015.

He has a Doctorate in history & music from the University of Queensland, Australia and was a Senior Research Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, New Delhi. He is also an Aspen Global Leadership Fellow and an Eisenhower Global Fellow 2021. An Engineer/mathematician from BITS-­Pilani and an MBA in Finance from S. P. Jain, Mumbai, Dr. Sampath is also a trained Carnatic vocalist. He has established the Archive of Indian Music, India's first digital sound archive for vintage recordings, is the Founder-­Director of the Bangalore Literature Festival, Indic Thoughts Festival and 'ARTH-­‐ A Culture Fest'.