Scheduled from 5 – 14 March 2022, the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) is all set to return with its 15th edition with women in power being one of its highlights. Taking ahead the legacy, the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’ will celebrate trailblazing women who have broken barriers and forged their own paths through a diverse set of sessions.
The rich program will feature, among others, a session that explores the boundless sacred feminine. The panel will be graced by award-winning author and poet Arundhathi Subramaniam, author of the remarkable book Women Who Wear Only Themselves: Conversations with Four Travellers on Sacred Journeys; art historian, curator, and author of Shakti: 51 Sacred Peethas of the Goddess Alka Pande who has worked extensively in the fields of gender identity, sexuality, and the traditional arts; and renowned academic and author Malashri Lal who has produced defining literature on women, gender, and the interpretations and manifestations of the feminine including In Search of Sita: Revisiting Mythology with Namita Gokhale.
Versatile writer and entrepreneur Koral Dasgupta, author of the Sati Series; historian and author of Song of Draupadi Ira Mukhoty; and author of bestselling novel Valmiki’s Women: Five Tales from the Ramayana Anand Neelakantan will get together to pay tribute to the women of the great epics, as they argue, plead, reason and assert, rising from the embers of myth, legend, and sacred texts that often focus only on heroic men. Moving on from historical fiction, medieval historian Katherine Pangonis, will discuss her latest book Queens of Jerusalem with Ira Mukhoty. The session will see them dissect the trailblazing women of the Crusades who were not passive transmitters of land and blood but formidable leaders with political agency and aspirations, integral to diplomacy, military strategy and even rebellion. Afghan-Canadian singer, media personality and women’s rights activist Mozhdah Jamalzadah is among the most powerful voices of her generation. In the session Voice of Rebellion: How Mozhdah Jamalzadah Brought Hope to Afghanistan, Mozhdah Jamalzadah will discuss her biography of the same name by Roberta Staley, and the power of dissent with journalist Jyoti Malhotra.
Author of What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape Sohaila Abdulali; journalist and policy and culture consultant Pragya Tiwari; and author of India Moving: A History of Migration and Age of Pandemics (1817-1920): How They Shaped India and the World Chinmay Tumbe will evaluate the mobilization of domestic violence shelters, organisations, helplines, and the governmental and social response to this insidious threat in conversation with social entrepreneur Amita Nigam Sahaya. In a session of readings and conversations, writer, poet, translator and activist, Meena Kandasamy will take the audience along on an arduous journey navigating through the dimensions of self, politics and gender. This Poem Will Provoke You will observe a vibrant and scintillating conversation between Kandasamy and Manasi Subramaniam, executive editor at Penguin Random House, where they will speak of the weight of words, beliefs, ideologies and the space in-between.
Eminent author and journalist Lisa Taddeo’s debut novel, Animal, is a provocative exploration of female rage fuelled by male violence and savagery. In conversation with Ajio Luxe’s editor-in-chief Supriya Dravid, Taddeo will discuss the raw embers of female rage in a male-dominated society and the precarious intertwining of violence and memory.
Some legendary names set to feature in this year’s Festival include one of the biggest names in Indian journalism, iconic journalist Barkha Dutt; novelist and disability rights activist CK Meena; award-winning British-Turkish novelist and the most widely read woman author Elif Shafak; former chief executive officer and chairperson of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi; mother-daughter duo Nayantara Sahgal and Gita Sahgal; deputy executive director of UN Women Lakshmi Puri; Hindi feminist author Mamta Kalia, who writes primarily on the lived experiences of rural, middle-class women; celebrated author of over twenty books and JLF co-director Namita Gokhale; multiple award-winning translator, writer and literary historian Rakhshanda Jalil; feminist publisher and writer Ritu Menon, author of the ground-breaking text Borders and Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition; former television actress and current Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Govt of India, Smriti Zubin Irani, author of her debut-novel Lal Salaam in a varied set of sessions, highlighting the many aspects of womanhood in today’s world.