It was on a cold February morning in 2010 that I first knocked on the door of Martha Steedman’s beautiful Fife home. A tall, impeccably dressed woman opened the door and ushered me in. It felt like we’d known each other for years.
I was there because I had an idea that I’d like to write a book on Sikkim, a tiny Indian state perched between Bhutan and Nepal that had once been a Himalayan Kingdom. A year earlier, I had retraced a journey that my grandfather had made in 1922, walking 120 miles into a hilltop Buddhist monastery in the heart of Sikkim. Continue reading
I wrote an article for The London Library Magazine’s summer 2013 issue on the remarkable tale of four Tibetan boys educated at Rugby School during the First World War. You can read a preview below.
The Indian Quarterly is an excellent new magazine published by Madhu Jain and Jonathan Foreman. I contributed an article for the third edition, out now – available below.
My review in The Sunday Telegraph of Monisha Rajesh’s “Around India in 80 Trains” is available online here and below. Also picked up in the New Statesman’s Cutural Capital reviews round-up here. Continue reading
The Sunday Times of India has published a piece I wrote taking a sideways view of the Salman Rushdie/Jaipur affair. You can read it on the Times of India website here and below.
Do Indians now dream in English?
Sunday Times of India, 5 February 2012
The furore at the Jaipur Literature Festival this year prevented Salman Rushdie from contributing to the festival’s debate on the Englishlanguage in India. Though the debate went ahead, it focused mostly on issues concerning spoken English.
Rushdie would likely have broadened the debate to include the question of using English for Indian creative writing.His 1983 Booker prize for Midnight’s Children caused the chair of the judges to laud “the current adventuring in English language fictions”; a decade and a half later, he wrote that “prose writing – both fiction and non-fiction – by Indian writers working in English, is proving to be a stronger and more important body of work than most of what is being produced in the 16 ‘official languages’ of India, the so-called ‘vernacular’languages.”
I recently attended a 4-day conference on “Science, Spirituality and Education” in Gangtok, Sikkim. The Dalai Lama opened the conference, and I wrote the article below about his fascinating dialogue with members of the neuroscience community. It was published today in The Times.
Buddhists, the brain and neuroscience
Photo: Anupam Nath
December 23 2010 12:25PM
At a conference in Sikkim the Dalai Lama and neuroscientists are exploring the impact of neuroscience on the brain
An American once tried to tell the Dalai Lama that science is the killer of religion. The Dalai Lama’s response was straightforward. “The Buddha,” he explained “said do not accept things out of faith and devotion. Rather investigation and experimentation. I realized that whether science is killer of religion or not, I have to investigate!” Continue reading
I met the Indian publisher Professor Puroshottama Lal in his home in 2009 and wrote about it at the time. He died on November 5 2010. An obituary that I wrote (below) was published by The Times on 16 December. It is also available for subscribers to The Times website here.
Professor P Lal
Indian poet and publisher who believed passionately that his country’s writers should embrace English
Photo: Rosalind Solomon
Purushottoma Lal was a teacher, poet, translator and publisher. From his home in Calcutta, he championed Indian writing in English with his publishing house, Writers Workshop, for more than 50 years. He was the first publisher of, among others, Vikram Seth. Continue reading