Launch of Main Hindu Kyun Hoon by Shashi Tharoor

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Shashi Tharoor
Dr Shashi Tharoor with Journalist Rahul Dev at lunch of Main Hindu Kyun Hoon

Dr Shashi Tharoor’s Why I Am a Hindu has been making international waves since its release earlier this year; Vani Prakashan’s publication of the Hindi language translation was hailed by its first readers as a welcome addition to the discourse of religiosity, Hinduism/ Hindutva/ Hindu-ness, as well as both political and quotidian, experiential function and forms of being Hindu in 21st century India.
Chaired by poet, writer/scholar, distinguished former member of the Prasar Bharti Board, Director General of A.I.R. as well as Doordarshan, and current Vani CEO, Leeladhar Mandloi, the panel was studded with eminent personalities who dialogued with Tharoor about his book and the precepts it is founded on. The panel presented wildly different, even divergent, views yet agreed about the book’s significance in this current age, the rigour of Tharoor’s research and the lucidity of his prose (as well as the felicity of Yugank Dhir’s translation), and the critical importance of this country’s commitment to secularism and “not just tolerance but acceptance” of plurality. The threat posed by mobbish exceptionalism and the dangers of eliding minority experiences and vulnerabilities were acknowledged, and there was a welcome, quiet sense of commitment through the room, of opposing both.
NCP General Secretary Devi Prasad Tripathi pointed out that Hinduism is a dynamic faith, constantly adding to its repertoire with conceptualizations such as the Arya Samaj and the figure of Sai Baba; journalist and Hindi scholar Rahul Dev took issue with Tharoor’s unproblematic condemnation of the word ‘Hindutva’; renowned writer activist Dr Tasleema Nasreen took issue with a legitimization of religious faith in a scientific age rife with sectarianism and fundamentalism; and CSDS stalwart and interdisciplinary scholar sociologist Dr Abhay Kumar Dubey delivered a wonderfully articulate critique of the entire historical process that has led up to communal majoritarianism in India. Dr Tharoor’s response, of satisfaction that the questions he touches on are live, and the various facets and nuances of this knotty complex are being seriously and conscientiously considered, left all directions open to exploration beyond the room and evening, the specific time and place.
Despite the contentious nature of Tharoor’s frames of reference, and the politically charged and fraught content of his book and the debates it participates in, the launch of Main Hindu Kyun Hoon was a surprisingly convivial and unequivocally celebratory event. All points of view received a respectful hearing through the evening, the diverse perspectives and identities surveyed and surveying the field doing so in an earnest spirit of happy intellectual curiosity and genuine camaraderie. The idea of the social good too often gets mired in ultimately egotistical, individual power struggles; too rarely does a group offer each participant recognition as an asset to the concerted development and progress of thought as a communal endeavour. If nothing else, Tharoor’s book and its Hindi translation have offered readers a chance to reinvent the way religion, faith, and group identities are approached and discussed; the subtle undercutting of acrimony they facilitated on 2 December 2018 at the India International Centre, New Delhi, makes for a powerful tool to be wielded by all, small and sincere makers of the secular nation state.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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Editorial Correspondent After completing 2 years of internship in science communication from the government institute National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources, (CSIR-NISCAIR), Priyanka joined Packaging South Asia and Indian Printer and Publisher magazines in October 2018. She is keen to learn and write about the technologies involved in publishing, printing and packaging industry.

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