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‘If you make good samosas, your stall will do well’ - 40 quotes from the Bangalore LitFest 2015!

Madanmohan Rao
7th Dec 2015
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The fourth annual Bangalore Literature Festival featured two packed days of panels by over 80 authors and artistes, covering topics ranging from politics and religion to music and entrepreneurship. Debates over Intolerant India and Startup India alternated with performances of Bharatnatyam performed along with poetry, and the Atta Galatta bookstore did brisk business selling titles in Indian languages.

Atta-Galatta-bookstore
Atta Galatta bookstore

In a playful manner, the two parallel tracks at the LitFest were titled ‘Right Wing’ and ‘Left Wing,’ and there were movie screenings and children’s workshops as well. Here is my pick of 40 quotes from the LitFest, but the fact that I could attend only one of the parallel tracks means there are many more insights and learnings that can be captured!

See also my takeaways from the earlier Bangalore LitFest 2014 (‘10 success tips for entrepreneurs’), Times Literary Carnival 2014 (‘India needs more entrepreneurs: Nandan Nilekani’), Times LitFest 2015 (‘From Infosys to Snapdeal: 25 years of startup wisdom,’ ‘20 Quotes’) and Bangalore Business Literature Festival 2015 (‘The entrepreneur boom: Creative models and digital content’).

Nandan-Nilekani
Nandan Nilekani

Only startup initiatives incubated in government can address the problems of a billion citizens quickly. – Nandan Nilekani

We have to enable the individual entrepreneur, not just the public or private sector. – MJ Akbar

The Indian government needs to find a way to involve and engage with youth effectively. – Viral Shah

Technology has changed the way we connect, love – and have affairs! – Preeti Shenoy

Twitter is a study on the human condition. – Devdutt Patnaik

Keep your eyes and ears open – there are ideas all around you. – Piyush Pandey

There is no place for conformity, unanimity and uniformity in art. – Shashi Deshpande

Art is not just about entertainment but pointing out gaps and shortcomings in society. – Deevas Gupta

This is the best time in India to be a reader and writer. – Nandita Bose

Sitting under a tree, reading a book and eating peanuts – that is a perfect goal! – Vasanti Hariprakash

The Gita is a poetic as well as a spiritual experience. – Mani Rao

You have a huge opportunity to impact society positively rather than just being a good salesman. – Piyush Pandey

Dance-interpretation-of-poe
Dance interpretation of poetry

I am not a leftist or a rightist – I am a straightist! – Hampa Nagarajaiah

Nothing is an alternative to good content. - Ayushmann Khurrana

A scientist will not say gold is more valuable than copper – only a businessman will. – Devdutt Patnaik

Social media is a double-edged sword. – Piyush Pandey

India is the only country in the world with ‘audible secularism’ – every morning you can hear the sounds of a mosque, temple and church. – MJ Akbar

There was no Golden Age of free expression in India, but things are worse now. – Ramachandra Guha

We must glory in the illumination of a lamp anywhere in the world. – Rabindranath Tagore (cited by Ramachandra Guha)

Would honey still be honey if you add a drop of poison to it? – Subramania Bharati (cited by Geetha Srikrishnan)

There is no final word on historical figures and their legacy or political standards. – Vikram Sampath

Every historical figure has a ‘gray’ area, we cannot paint them only in black or white. - Maya Mirchandani

Tipu Sultan was the pioneer of rocket science in India. - Dinesh Gundu Rao

Devdutt-Patnaik
Devdutt Patnaik

Liberty, faith equality, gender equality, and economic equity – no other country has these four pillars of the Indian constitution. – MJ Akbar

Some messages cut across all languages, but some magic gets lost in translation. – Padmavathi Rao

We should not create an inferiority complex for Indian languages by saying that only English-medium education will get you jobs. – Narahalli Balasubrahmanya

India is destroying India. We should not write the death sentence of Indian languages. - Subodh Sarkar

Forgetting your own language is like kissing with somebody else’s lips. - Mohammad Zaman Azurdah

We need to be intolerant about real issues that affect the country, like poverty. – Kiran Mazumdar Shaw

We will have failed as a nation if we cannot bring everybody out of hunger. – MJ Akbar

World War I was not just about whites fighting whites – it was about Indian and African soldiers being conscripted by European colonial powers as well. - Vedica Kant

1.5 million Indians were conscripted by the British to fight in World War I – more than 70,000 died. - Sunil Sethi

The first mosque in Germany was built in a World War I prisoner of war camp, before France. - Elke Falat

Many of today’s conflicts in the Middle East have their roots in the boundaries drawn after World War I, a hundred years ago. – Sunil Sethi

Vedica-Kant
Vedica Kant

India is fortunate to have a living mythology. - Kavita Kane

Indians put Ganesha statues on the dashboard – and then drive without seatbelts! - V Raghunathan

If you make good samosas, your stall will do well. – Piyush Pandey

When you have a big goal, everything else becomes background noise. – Nandan Nilekani

Indian thought is about conversation, Western thought is about argument. – Devdutt Patnaik

We need to decolonise what is written about Hinduism during British rule, and view it in new ways. - Vamsee Juluri

Rituals should be democratised, women should also be allowed to visit places of worship. – Akshaya Mukul

The sense of social responsibility of a woman is a great asset for a nation. – MJ Akbar

Don’t just be tolerant, be loving. – Piyush Pandey

Panel-of-Hindi-poets
Panel of Hindi poets


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