Delegates 2014

Ajit Narayan |

Cartoonist / illustrator
Ajit Narayan

A freelance professional cartoonist / illustrator, Ajit Narayan has been drawing for various reputed publishing houses for over 20 years. He has served as a Cartoonist Consultant with N.I.E. (Newspaper in Education – The Times of India Group) for over 9 years and later as a Lecturer (cartooning) at Shankar’s Academy of Art and Book Publishing for two years. Conducting workshops in schools within and outside Delhi, he has served Scholastic India Pvt. Ltd., as a cartooning workshop consultant for over 10 years now. He began his career as a political cartoonist with Delhi Mid-day newspaper before starting out on his own. He is also the author of the books ‘Cartooning with Ajit Narayan’, ‘How to draw animal cartoons’, ‘Draw cartoons with Ajit Rai’, ‘Draw comic strips with Ajit Narayan’ !

Akhilesh |


Born 1960, in Kadipur, Uttar Pradesh, writer and editor Akhilesh has published three collections of short fiction – Aadmi Nahin Tootata, Mukti and Shaapgrast – one novel,Anveshan, and a book on the Hindi novelist Shrilal Shukla. He also writes scripts and screenplays for TV. He edits and publishes a literary quarterly Tadbhav from Lucknow.
His awards include the Shrikant Verma Award, Banmali Award, Parimal Samman and the Indu Sharma Fiction Prize of Katha (U.K.).

Alka Pande |


A female author who has explored each and every aspect of being an Indian woman and had the graciousness to pen it down to reveal the seen yet unseen to general masses through books like Mukhwas-Indian Food Through the Ages, Shringara- The Many Faces of Indian beauty, Ardhanarishvara the androgyne, and Indian Erotica. She is responsible for curating several significant and perceptive exhibitions in India and abroad, and giving a name to some of the most upcoming and influential artists, photographers and sculptors. Alka Pande is currently engrossed as the Consultant Arts Advisor and Curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. In December 2006, she was awarded Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) award bequeathed by the French government. An art critic, cultural theorist, teacher, curator, and an author, Alka Pande has been passionately involved with the world of art for nearly three decades.

Anwar Jalalpuri |

Poet / Writer

Anwar Jalalpuri is true genius of various languages. He was lecturer in English by profession, poet of Urdu by heart, academician of Hindi languages! Born in the town Jalalpur which is very famous for the Urdu poets. Early educated in Jalalpur & Azamgarh, whereas reached the climax of his literary intellect in Aligarh Muslim University ! He established a junior high school named after Mirza Ghalib in Jalalpur which is now an inter college. Lucknow is honoured to be the host city of his intellectualism. Anwar Saheb is also world famous for his ‘Nizamat’ which is always appealing to the people who love & admire poetry. We salute him for his unique task of translating all 701 Shlokas of the Bhagvad Geeta into Urdu poetry. He is also credited in translating 30th para of Quran as well as Geetanjali of Tagore into Urdu poetry! Dialogues and songs of the serial ‘Akbar The Great’ on television were penned by him. Anwar Saheb can also be seen in the movie ‘Dedh Ishqia’. Anwar Jalalpuri will always be remembered for promoting the Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb through his literary works! We are looking forward for many more milestones from the genius!

Asghar Wajahat |

Scholar / Writer

Syed Asghar Wajahat, popularly known as Asghar Wajahat is a Hindi scholar, fiction writer, novelist, playwright, an independent documentary filmmaker and a television scriptwriter, who is most known for his work, ‘Saat Aasmaan’ and his acclaimed play, ‘Jis Lahore Nai Dekhya, O Jamyai Nai’. He has published 20 books including five novels, six full-length plays, five collections of short stories, a travelogue, a collection of street plays and a book on literary criticism. He has also written film scripts and conducted workshops on screen writing. He has been placed among the top ten Hindi writers according to a survey conducted by Outlook (Hindi) magazine in 2007. Dr. Wajahat has also been involved in Hindi cinema as a scriptwriter since 1975 He has been honored by several literary organizations for his contribution to Hindi literature. Katha (UK), a London based organization gave him the ‘Best novel of the year award’ in 2006 for his novel Kaisi Aagi Lalaee.

Ashok Arora |

Trainer / Consultant

Ashok Arora, a well-known lawyer and a former secretary of Supreme Court Bar Association has done lot of research and has practical experience of more than thirty years in the field of Personality Development, Life/Communication Skills and Stress Management. Feeling concerned about the growing violent and suicidal tendencies, falling standard of physical and mental health of the youth world over, he resolved to renounce a lucrative law practice at the peak of his career to dedicate his life to guide the youth. Mr. Arora has authored many books book and articles. “Simple Tips for Sure shot Success” was authored to enable the youth to lead stress free/blissful life, imbibe moral values in a playful manner, make them more confident and assure them, by giving his own example that it’s not necessary to be born in a rich, powerful and well-connected family to succeed in life. Today After conducting over more than 200 talks across and more than 60 cities. He often fells that youth are full of positive energy, intelligence & talent they just need motivation and guidance to have success in life. However one of the most important aspects to a success full and happy life is motivation.

Ayaz-uddin Khalid |

Radio Jockey
Ayaz-uddin Khalid

Unlike the many personalities who have been introduced to you as of now, this person should be easy to identify with. Educated in La Martiniere Boys and Lucknow University, from the streets of the City of Nawabs itself we introduce you to Ayaz-uddin Khalid, popularly known as RJ Ayaz who must need no introduction to the regular listeners of the radio. Known through his talk shows on Radio City 91.1 currently and previously has worked with RTV, AIR FM, 92.7 Big FM and 94.3 My FM. Apart from this he holds a successful track-record of doing voice-overs for Discovery, National Geographic, CNN-IBN and other TV channels, on various documentaries for independent producers. A highly talented, dynamic & energetic Media professional, with 13+ years of successful career as a Producer, Radio Jockey, Voice over Artist, with reasonable grasp of operational aspects, we expect our young audience to be enthralled by his visit.

Bina Ramani |

Fashion designer / Socialite

She is an author who donned multiple roles in her life – fashion designer, entrepreneur, restaurateur, social worker, agony aunt, visionary, socialite and other labels. Bina Ramani recently launched her new autobiography ‘Bird in a Banyan Tree: My Story’ .People know her as the stubbornly honest witness who was taken into police custody and sent to Tihar Jail, was vilified by the media, and lauded by the country for her heroic role in the Jessica Lal murder case. But she is much more. Coming from a conservative and illustrious Sikh family that moved to Bombay from Pakistan after the tumultuous partition of India in 1947 what followed was a bitter divorce, a quest to reunite with her daughters against her ex-husband’s wishes and of course the Pandora’s Box that set itself open with her involvement with the murder of Jessicca Lal as an honest witness against the people with strong political backing. All this and a lot more has led her to be the epitome of strength.

Danish Husain |

Actor / Dastango

To the masses who hear his name he is identified in reference to his acting skills which he portrayed on the silver screen in films like Peepli Live, Dhobi Ghat and Losing Gemma. But Danish Hussain is much more than that. Apart from directing a classic play Chinese Coffee by Ira Lewis in which he acted as well and Krapp’s Last tape, he runs his own theatre company by the name of The Hoshruba Repertory. If this isn’t enough to keep him occupied he has even taken the task of reviving the lost art of Urdu story-telling known as Dastangoi at hand with Mahmood Farooqui. Even after this he finds time for pursuing his hobby if writing poetry. Glimpses into his life has led the glimpsers to the idea that he must sleep only about 20 hours a week.

Darain Shahidi |


Darain shahidi an alumnus of one of the finest media institute Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He is a journalist, political commentator, news presenter and storyteller (dastango). He is currently associated with Network 18 as a presenter at IBN7. His father Dr Shahid Ahmed Shoaib is a well-known Urdu poet and professor of anthropology in Magadh University. From a minor town of Bihar, Gaya, Shahidi has gone on to anchor for BBC, Home TV and Star TV. He lately joined another top notch sports broadcaster ESPN. Still active in theatres this man has done 15-20 plays in Urdu and Hindi. Even after becoming a successful journalist he has not forgotten his roots from where he started off and is hence still kept himself dynamic in Dastongoi (an old art form of storytelling in Urdu). With a desirable profile in the journalistic world due to his experience and work he was awarded with the best sports presenter in 2007 at the Annual News Television Awards. From mainstream TV journalism to super hit prime time sports news, Darain has raised his bar with each passing day.

Deepanjan Paul |


Deepanjan Paul is a Software Engineer at IBM, Gurgaon. When he was 10 years old, he shifted to Lucknow. He did his schooling from City Montessori School and graduated from University of Lucknow. Since his childhood he had interest in sports and got many medals and trophies for his school. Besides taking part in sports, he used to write for his school magazine. His first non-fiction book, Volunteering Common Wealth Games, was published in the year 2010 after being a Volunteer in the Common Wealth Games. His second book , Please Come to My Desk is a fiction based on the various effects of recession in different walks of life.

Farrukh Rahman Khan |


Programme Coordinator with Oxfam India, Farrukh Rahman Khan also leads Oxfam India’s urban poverty programme portfolio under its Emerging Themes. With over 16 years experience as development professional, Farrukh has also been part of the Oxfam’s team working on Communalism & Peace building with cross cutting thematic perspective. As part of Oxfam India’s engagement on post 2015 agenda, he’s facilitated national consultation on Muslims & post 2015 development framework debate & processes. Farrukh has also contributed to Oxfam’s efforts towards reaching out to & inclusion of issues and priorities of marginalized communities across regions in Uttar Pradesh under MY WORLD Survey.

Girish N. Pande |

Girish N. Pande, an IRS 1978 batch, has worked in the Income Tax Department in various capacities at various places. Presently he is Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax, Kolkata. His literary activities are not limited to any one area. Five collections of poems have been published; Yathartha Ke As Pas, Bolo Dharmaraj, Kavi Hota Hai Kisan, Guraudah Jhoppa and Dharti Janti Hai has been translated and published in Tamil. The book Takhti Ke Akshar has been very much appreciated in the world of education and it’s English and Urdu translation are very famous. Collection of prose satires Kuch Mati Ki, Kuch Kumhar Ki has been published by Lok Bharti, Allahabad. Jeevocracy is collection of satires, short stories, new interpretation of folk stories and pieces from the author’s diary. He has received Vijaya Dev Narain Sahi Award on the poetry book Kavi Hota Hai Kisan by U.P. Hindi Academy and Shree Narain Chaturvedi Award by U.P. Hindi Academy on the book of satires Kuch Mati Ki, Kuch Kumhar Ki by then Prime Minister of Indian in 1998.

Jagdish Piyush |


A famous name in Awadhi Literature, Editor of Amethi Samachar(regularly publishing since 1984) and Boli Bani (a third monthly magazine), He has written several books viz. Awadhi Sahitya Sarvekshan aur Samiksha, Awadhi Lok Kathaein, Gandhi-Gandhi, Gandhi aur Dalit Navjagran, Braj Sahitya Ka Itihaas etc.. Among his poetries Suyodhan,Tathagat, Paani Par Himalaya and Andhre Ke Haath Bater are the mos famous. He has been advisory member of several ministries (Rail, Vidhi & Panchayati Raj Mantralay). Mr. Jagdish Piyush is the founder of Awadhi Akademia nd Oriyadarshini Mahila Vidyapeeth. He has received several awards: Vishv Hindi Samman(Vishv Hindi Sammelan, New York, America), Maithlisharan Gupt Samman, Jaisi Samman(Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan).

Jaishree Misra |

Journalist / Writer

Jaishree Misra has an MA in English Literature from Kerala University and two post-graduate diplomas from the University of London, one in Special Education and the other in Broadcast Journalism. She returned to India from the UK, where she worked at the BBC, in the Social Services department and as a film examiner at the British Board of Film Classification in London. Jaishree has written four novels published by Penguin, all which have been Indian best-sellers (‘Ancient Promises’, ‘Accidents Like Love & Marriage’ and ‘Rani’, a historical novel based on the life of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi). Her more recent book deal, with Harper Collins in the UK, was to write three commercial fiction novels (‘Secrets & Lies’, ‘Secrets & Sins’ and ‘A Scandalous Secret’). A new book of fiction will be released in 2014. She currently lives in Trivandrum with her family.

Janardhan Waghmare |


Dr. Janardhan Waghmare is a Writer, Poet, Novelist, College Teacher and Educationist, Agriculturist, Politician and Social Reformer. He is a proud member of Nationalist Congress Party. He has credited as Member, Sub-Committee-I on the Implementation of the Right to Education Act of the Committee on Human Resource Development Dec. 2011 onwards. He is the author of more than 20 Hindi and Marathi books. Also he has a good command over English language. He has written articles and research papers in Marathi and English in various journals, periodicals and magazines. He has had the honour and privilege to be the President of various conferences and seminars. Awarded for literary, educational and social work, namely Meritorious and Ideal Teacher Award Ambedkar Dalit Mitra award, Late Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial Award,Dr. Ambedkar Vishesh Seva Puraskar, Dalit Sahitya Academy,Late P.Y. Deshpande Memorial Chandrabhaga Teeri Award for literature,Marathwada Gaurav Puraskar,Lal Bahadur Shastri Seva Gaurav Puraskar,Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar by Social Integration Institute, Parbhani, Late Narhar Kurundkar Puraskar, Rashtriya Ekta Award,Satyashodhak Dinkarrao Jawalkar Memorial Award,Bhooshan Award,Samata Puraskar.

Jatinder Singh |

Jatinder Singh

Jatinder Singh ‘Sahil’ was born in the city of Chandigarh in north India. He is currently based in Manchester, England practicing Medicine as a General Practioner. Dr. Singh started writing during his Medical School years at Medical College, Chandigarh and has recently published his first collection of Urdu poetry published in Devanagri script. “I believe that thoughts do not come dressed in the fabric of one language. They can come in any language and the poet just molds them into the fabric of the language he or she is most comfortable with.”
Apart from writing Dr. Singh is a keen photographer and traveller, having travelled across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Scandinavia and draws his inspiration from everyday life events, personal experiences, hardships of life and his professional interactions with the unique human nature of coping with disease and suffering in a very individual way.

Jawaid Danish |

Jawaid Danish

Jawaid Danish is the founder and artistic director of Rang Manch, Canada, a not for profit theatrical group which promotes Indian theatre in Canada. He organises the Hindustani Drama Festival annually, showcasing the varied and rich heritage of Indian theatre.  A celebrated author of 12 books in Urdu, Jawaid’s repertoire includes travelogues, poetry collections and drama. He prefers to write in Urdu which is his mother tongue, but his plays have been translated into English, Swedish, Hindi, Bengali and Kannada. Some of the plays from his award winning book ‘Hijrat Ke Tamashey’ were adapted for a 13-episode serial produced by Omni 2 T.V. in Toronto.  His latest book of plays is ‘Chalees Baba Eik Chor’; recently he produced a film ‘Bada Shayer Chota Aadmi’ the first Indo-Canadian Urdu Film. He has received numerous awards and recognition including The Civic Arts Award – Pickering 2010, South Asian Theatre Festival Award – New Jersey 2008 and the Shiromani Sahitya Award – India 2007

Kamlesh Tripathi |

Kamlesh Tripathi

Kamlesh Tripathi a Corporate citizen for over 35 years. Has worked for reputed Companies such as Mahindra & Mahindra, Escorts, Reliance Industries and Reliance Retail. During his long career he has held important positions, assignments and worked in many states and cities across India and travelled extensively around the world. He is the son of late Sri. K.P. Tripathi, member of the first Lok-Sabha, Vice-President INTUC and Ex Finance Minister of Assam. His earlier titles ‘Gloom Behind The Smile’ on a child cancer patient, is now catalogued in prestigious libraries including Library of Congress, Washinton DC. His second title is ‘One to Tango – Ria’s Odyssey’ on the burning topic of ‘singlehood.’ He has lived in Shillong, Lucknow, Delhi-NCR, Jaipur, Chennai & Mumbai. He also runs his NGO- ‘Shravan Charity Mission’ that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases.

Katyayini |

The pen is mightier than the sword. Katyayini has brought this saying to life with her actions. A Hindi poet and a writer who has been working for women’s rights, democratic rights and labor rights since 1980 , Katyayiniis also well-known journalist and has worked as correspondent for newspapers and journals like Navbharat Times, Swatantra Bharat and Dinman Times. She is the co-editor of DishaSandhan (a theoretical journal), Naandipath (a journal focused on media studies), and the World Classics Series of books published by RajkamalPrakashan. She has published 7 collections of poetry and 3 collections of articles which includes volatile themes such as the ones is SaatBhaiyonke Beech Champa, Is PaurushpurnaSamay Meinand ShadyantraratMritatmaonke Beech (articles focused on communalism, intellectual question and social significance of literature).Some of her poems have been published in the Penguin Anthology of Indian women poets ‘In Their Own Voice’.

M J Warsi |

Scholar / Writer

M J Warsi, Indian-American linguist named as the recipient of the prestigious James E. Mc Leod Faculty Recognition for the year 2012. The award is viewed as a very prestigious honor in academics and given to
those who have positively and profoundly influenced the educational experiences to the students at Washington University. He has been the recipient of UP Hindi-Urdu Literary Award for the year 2011, named as “unsung hero” by the University of California at Berkeley in 2005, a recipient of West Bengal Urdu Academy award for his book “Diploma in Computer Application and Multilingual DTP” in 2003. Mr Warsi presently teaching at Washington University, the best institution in the world for linguistic magnificence. In the United Sates, M J Warsi, is making the study of South Asian languages and literature more popular and viable.
Warsi, author of many books have written extensively on South Asian Languages and linguistics. His latest book “Mithilanchal Urdu” published from Germany slated to be released in Lucknow Literary Festival. The book
is about his recent discovery of a new dialect spoken in Bihar.

Madan Mohan Danish |


Madan Mohan Danish, a modern poet with profound sensibilities, has earned a name for himself on the literary firmament in a very short span with his insightful and sunlit compositions. His listeners admire him for his velvety poetry which not only touches the human soul but also stirs conscience by commenting on the contemporary issues that concern society. Working currently as Programme Executive at All India Radio, he often finds himself penning down his musings.
His much lauded collection of poetry Agar earned him the reputation of a poet whose writings are fragrant of aesthetics of life.
He was conferred upon the highly coveted Madhya Pradesh Urdu Academy Award in the year 2009. His commendable work has also earned him the Vasudev Sharan Chaturvedi Rashtriya Samman, Jaipur and theMrignayani Purskaar.
His literary voyages have taken him to the US, Dubai, Pakistan and Sharjah. Leading channels of the country such as ZEE, DD, Urdu TV, to name a few, have aired his poetry concerts and recitations.

Mahmood Farooqui |

Writer / Dastango

Story-telling, a lost art now, was the earliest form of entertainment. An art so powerful the storytellers were believed to possess mystical powers through which they could transport people into an entirely different dimension. Dastangoi is one such Urdu art of story-telling which was at its peak from the late 16th to 19th centuries, spinning tales around the adventures of Amir Hamza with over 50,000 characters and unlike Scheherazade of The Arabian Nights – whose stories lasted a thousand and one nights – Amir Hamza’s were never-ending. The reviver of this bewitching expertise in the present times is Mahmood Farooqui. This Rhodes scholar is author to Beseiged: Voices from Delhi 1857 in which he published a series of his translations of texts representing the views of those besieged in Delhi in 1857, translator of Habib Tanvir: Memoirs, and Co-Director, Peepli Live .

Mehru Jaffer |

Writer / Journalist

Mehru Jaffer is a Lucknow born author and journalist. She has taught Islam related topics at the University of Vienna, Austria and at the Vienna American Webster University. She is the author of The Book of Muhammad, The Book of Muinuddin Chishti and The Book of Nizamuddin Aulia, all published by Penguin India. She has contributed a chapter on Religion in Bollywood Films in Fokus Bollywood: Das indische Kino in wissenscaftlichen Diskursen, edited by Professor Claus Tieber, Lit Verlag 2009. Mehru has filed extensively for the Indian media from Europe and Indonesia, including television and reported for the BBC. She has made Vienna is so Bolly, a one minute film on the fascination for Bollywood in Vienna, Austria. Her 50 minute documentary film on Shahrukh fans in Europe called Mr Khan Vienna Loves You was screened at Shahrukh Khan and Global Bollywood, an international conference hosted by the University of Vienna in 2010 where Mehru also moderated a workshop on Song and Dance in Indian Cinema. She is presently the Editor of Lucknow Observer, Lucknow’s 1st interactive news magazine!

Mini Menon |


Mini Menon is an journalist who has covered both political and business news for the last 15 years. A popular face on Indian news television she is currently the Executive Editor of Bloomberg TV India, where she is in charge of news and features shows. Mini has won awards for her work as an news anchor and journalist and in 2013 she was adjudged as one of the 10 most influential women in Indian Marketing, Advertising and Media by Impact magazine. Over the last 16 years Mini has co- anchored some of the most iconic shows on Indian news television including Newshour with Arnab Goswami and Bazaar with Udayan Mukherjee. At Blommberg TV India, Mini does a popular series ‘Inside India’s Best Known Companies’ where she interviews India’s leading businessmen and CEOs. She also leads feature programming and has been responsible for creating cutting edge shows like ‘The Pitch’ & ‘Assignment’ and award winning documentaries like ‘In Focus’. In 2008- 2009 she was judged the best business news anchor by the Indian Broadcast Federation, Zee Astitva Award for Journalism, Rajiv Gandhi award for Excellence as a young achiever, Miss India Asia Pacific.

Nalin Ranjan Singh |


Dr. Nalin Ranjan Singh: After completing his secondary education in Science Group from Azamgarh,he opted for University of Allahabad for his higher education. He pursued his Post Graduation in Hindi Literature from Allahabad and later enrolled himself as a research scholar in the University of Lucknow.He has researched with the stories of renowned literator Amarkant regarding social aspects. The thesis is entitled ‘Amarkant ki Kahanio mein Chitrit Samaj’.At present he is appointed as an Assistant Professor in Jai Narain P.G.College, University of Lucknow.Apart from the primary responsibilities of his profession he is engrossed in research work focused on ‘Women & Dalit Studies’. He has established himself as an young critic & folklorist primarily concerned with the deprived classes of the society. He is also associated with Aakshvani & Doordarshan.He is editor of a famous journal named ‘WARIMA’.His edited book ‘anchlik lokgeet:ek vishleshan’ is published by seriels publication.

Naresh Saxena |

Naresh Saxena has worked as Deputy Manager in Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam, Executive Director technology mission and several other posts and has retired. He has worked as Engineering Consultant in Asian Development Bank, Manila and has worked as expert in several national and international projects. He has produced and directed several short films and was awarded by National Award in 1991 for Film Direction. He has written scripts for several plays. His play ‘Aadmi ka Aa’ has been presented more than 5000 times in several Indian languages. He has been awarded by Pahal Samman, Shamsher Samman, Rituraaj Samman, Sahitya Bhooshan, Kavita Kosh Samman, Saroj Smriti Samman for literature. His poetries are mentioned in the course of several universities. His poetry collection consists of Samudra Par Ho Rahi Hai Baarish, Suno Charusheela, Chambal Ek Nadi Ka Naam etc.

Natalia Hildner |

Natalia Hildner

Taal (rhythm), Ang (grace), and Abhinaya (expression) – Natalia integrates the three essential elements of Kathak to present this rich Indian classical dance form on stages internationally. Her holistic training as a dancer has combined the stylistics of tradition and the dynamism of the contemporary. As a performing artist, Natalia aims at highlighting the uniqueness of Kathak’s subtle and sensitive aesthetics. Rooted in a multi-ethnic background, Natalia presents this art to a variety of audiences of all different cultures, using her dance as a means of transcending cultural barriers. Since the beginning, she was passionate and dedicated about training and mastering the dance form, with support from her Peruvian mother and German-American father. Within the past few years Natalia has been continuously visiting India to receive intensive tutelage from her present Guru, Kathak maestro Padmavibhushan Birju Maharaj. However, much of her training took place in the U.S., prior to coming to India from Smt. Sandhya Desai, disciple of Padmashri Kumudini Lakhia. Natalia’s initial instruction began with Ms. Mekhala Natavar and later continued with Ms. Purnima Shah. In the year 2008, she was awarded a prestigious fellowship as Senior Performing Artist from the American Institute of Indian Studies. Graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in South Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Wisconsin and Masters from Roehampton University, London, Natalia now continues to perform as a Kathak dancer in India, U.K., and the U.S.A.

Navin Joshi |

Journalist / Writer

Born in 1956 in a far-flung village in the Lower Himalayas, Navin Joshi took to writing fired by his sheer concern for the downtrodden. His pain for the victimised has invariably manifested in all his writings including innumerable features and columns over the last 37 years.
Navin was mentored by the illustrious Editors Ashok ji and Rajendra Mathur as a journalist. Graduating in Science from Lucknow University in 1975, he joined Swatantra Bharat, the then leading daily of Lucknow as an apprentice in 1977. Later he worked for Nav Bharat Times, Dainik Jagran and Hindustan in various capacities. Presently he is associated as an Executive Editor with Hindustan.
During all these years he has regularly pursued his interest in literature. An awarded storyteller, Navin’s short stories have been published by various literary magazines. He has two collections of short stories published to his credit and a novel ‘Dawanal’ on the famous Chipko movement.

Nighat Gandhi |


Nighat Gandhi is a writer, mother, Sufi wanderer, and mental health counsellor. She spent her formative years in Dhaka and Karachi, and has subsequently spent many years in India and the United States. She consciously identifies as a citizen of South Asia to transcend limitations imposed by narrow nationalisms. She is the author of Ghalib at Dusk and Other Stories and What I am Today, I Won’t Remain Tomorrow: Conversations With Survivors of Abuse. Her memoir/travelogue entitled Alternative Realities: Love in the Lives of Muslim Women is forthcoming from Tranquebar.

Nikita Singh |

Nikita Singh

Nikita Singh is the bestselling author of six novels, including Love @ Facebook, Accidentally in Love, The Promise and The Unreasonable Fellows. She has co-authored two books with Durjoy Datta, titled If It’s Not Forever and Someone Like You. 25 Strokes of Kindness is her most recent book, which is an anthology of short stories, co-edited with Orvana Ghai. She has also contributed to the books of The Backbenchers series. She was born in Patna and grew up in Indore, from where she graduated in pharmacy. She is currently based in New Delhi, where she works as a Publishing Manager at a leading publishing house. Nikita received a Live India Young Achievers Award in 2013. With a library stocked with over 12,000 books, she is a voracious reader and adores her collection of fantasy novels. She is a cricket enthusiast and enjoys a good cardio workout.

Pankaj Prasun |


Pankaj Prasun is a young and renowned Hindi satirist who has a strong presence in literary circuits. His articles regularly appear in print media too. He is primarily credited for using scientific similes and terminologies in his satires and poems. Some of his work (couplets and poems) has already been published. His poems, written with complete sincerity, are appreciated by critics and readers in equal measures.

Pornpen Hantrakool |

Pornpen Hantrakool

Pornpen Hantrakool has been a Professor at Tenri University in Japan and an Associate Professor at Silpakorn University of Thailand. Her teaching specializations include Indian and Sri Lankan history, Eastern Civilization (China and India), Thai History, Japanese History, Southeast Asian History, Vietnamese Studies, Historiography and the Philosophy of History. She has taught and done research widely in many universities before her retirement. She has published widely in Thai and in English. Professor Hantrakool now writes and translates poetry as well as songs. She was granted an honorable certificate with a decoration from the Vietnamese Writer Association for her pioneering contribution to Vietnamese literature in Thailand.

Pranesh Prasad |

Pranesh Prasad

Pranesh Prasad is a writer of literary fiction, based in Canberra Australia. His debut novel “The Ultimate Laugh” which explores identity and terrorism was published in 2011 and subsequently, launched at the Ubud Writer’s Festival in Indonesia. His second novel “A Half-Baked Life” delves into the consequences of the 2002 Gujarat riots, human trafficking and the recent whittling down of the right to free expression. The novel was released in December 2013. He is also a trained economist and has worked in academia, the private and public sectors internationally. Apart from writing, he is passionate about animal welfare, social justice, Indian cricket, travelling, urdu poetry, the arts and music.

Rahat Indori |

Poet / Writer

A rags to riches personality. Born to a cloth mill worker, brought up in Indore, RahatIndori today is rich with more titles, national and international, than his humble heart can handle. A world-renowned Urdu poet, film lyricist, and even a teacher for a part of his career. Tracks like “BhumroBhumro” from “Mission Kashmir” and “DekhoDekhoJanam Ham” from “Ishq” are the prodigies of his penmanship. Truly an all-rounder, not only was he brainy but a sportsman as well during his college days as captain of both football and hockey teams. Some of the feathers in his cap include Honours from the Embassies of India, Riyadh, and Saudi Arabia, Dr. ZakirHussain Award by the Delhi Government, and Award of Excellence in Urdu Poetry, Social Educational & Welfare Association (SEWA), Mumbai .We appaluad this cocktail of talent that we have before us in the form RahatIndori.

Rakshanda Jalil |


Rakhshanda Jalil went to Delhi Public School and graduated in English Literature from Miranda House, Delhi University. She also has a doctorate in “The Progressive Writers’ Movement as Reflected in Urdu Literature” from the Academy of Third World Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. A well known critic and literary historian, Rakhshanda Jalil has edited two collections of short stories; written a collection of essays on the little known monuments of Delhi; a literary biography of a feminist writer; published more than eight works of translations, among several other publications. Rakhshanda Jalil runs an organization called Hindustani Awaaz, devoted to the popularization of Hindi-Urdu literature and culture and blogs at and another at IBN Live. At present, she is engaged in a study of Indian secularism.

Ram Puniyani |

Human Rights Activist

You’ll find many passer-byes carelessly remarking on the state of the country and the everyday mayhem which religion causes. But how many of them actually take a constructive step towards a solution. Mr. Ram Puniyani is one such persona who adapted himself to the need of the time to promote humanity as a path to be taken to secularism. Ram Puniyani was a professor in biomedical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, and took voluntary retirement in December 2004 to work full time for communal harmony in India. He is involved with human rights activities from last two decades. He is associated with various secular and democratic initiatives like All India Secular Forum, Center for Study of Society and Secularism and ANHAD.

Rambahadur Mishra |


Dr. Rambahadur Mishra is a well-known name in Awadhi. He is a famous poet, writer and editor. He has written several books and has contributed to the Awadhi Literature with his works, among his famous works Awadhi Lokoktiyan(1992) and Awadh Ma Holi Khelain Raghubira (1999, in which he has composed 1000 Awadhi Phaag), are much praised. His awarded works consists of Yak Rahein Raja(Awadhi Nibandh), Awarded by Jayasi Puraskar by U.P. Hindi Sansthaan(2004) and Awadhi Ke Pratinidhi Muhawre, Awarded by Ram Naresh Tripathi Puraskar by U.P.Hindi Sansthan(2005). He has edited several Awadhi Magazines like Nakhat(all the four parts.), Ye Maati Awadhraani Hai(2005), Aapani Dharti Aapan Dhaam(2010) and much more. He has been awarded several times by Awadhi Ratna Sammaan(2003,2010), Rashtriya Hindi Sewa Samman(2010), Awadhi Shiromani(2012), Kavya Shri Sammaan(2011) and so on. He is widely appreciated by Bhartiya Hindi Parishad(1998), Hindi Saahitya Sammelan Prayag-Ayodhya Adhiveshan(2010) and recently by Akhil Bhartiya Vaicharik Kranti Manch Lucknow(2013). He has given his contribution to Awadhi Language not only in India but in Nepal also he has propagated the same.

Raza Naeem |

Scholar / Writer

Raza Naeem is an independent Pakistani Arabic-speaking social scientist, book critic and translator based in Lahore. He is also a longtime activist of the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP), being involved in organizing and mobilizing workers, peasants and youth in Lahore and Karachi for over a decade. He has been trained in Political Economy from the University of Leeds in UK, and in Middle Eastern History and Anthropology from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, US. He has travelled and lived in, and written widely about Egypt, Yemen and Turkey over the years. He is presently working on three books, namely, a political and cultural history of Yemen post-Arab Spring, on the contradictions of bourgeois democracy in Pakistan, as well as translating Saadat Hasan Manto’s Letters to Uncle Sam and other postcolonial essays from the Urdu. His published articles on Manto, and selected translations from Manto, have already been translated into Tamil. He has recently been awarded a prestigious British Council and Charles Wallace Trust Fellowship 2013-14 to continue his work on Manto’s essays at the University of Bradford in UK.

Roop Rekha Verma |

Social Activist / Writer

Prof Roop Rekha Verma, formerly the Vice-chancellor, Professor & Head of the Philosophy Department and Dean, Faculty of Arts Lucknow University. She has taught there from 1964–2003. She has also been a recipient of the Commonwealth Academic Staff Fellowship for Oxford and has had the honor to be invited to deliver lectures and present research papers in various conferences and international seminars at many Indian and foreign Universities. She is a prolific writer and has published more than four dozen research papers in various books and journals, in India and abroad. Her publications include Philosophy of P.F. Strawson co-edited with Pranab Kumar Sen, published by ICPR in 1995. Her academic interests include pursuit of Philosophical Logic and Epistemology, Social Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind and Metaphysics. She has been nominated by the Government of India as Executive Council Member of Aligarh Muslim University, Mahila Samakhya and in the Academic Committees of NCERT, Bhatkhande Music University and UP Social Welfare Board. Besides, she has occupied higher advisory positions as Honorary Advisor, ICPR and Member of UGC Philosophy panel, thrice. Professor Verma is also a well- known social activist and has intervened in several dozen cases of violence on women and communal violence, and fought for justice for the victims.

Roshan Taqui |

Historian / Writer

Dr. Roshan Taqui is an alumni of AMU & Ph.D from Lucknow University on ‘Lucknow Monuments – Preservation, Conservation Solutions’. His books [ Lucknow Dastavez, Lucknow – 1857, Images of Lucknow, Conservation of Lucknow Monuments, Lucknow Monuments – Conservation Problems & Solution, Hazrat Mahel, Bani, Chanchal, Lucknow Ki Bhand Parampara, 1857 Ke Baad Lucknow Ki Barbadi, Lucknow Ka Shia Samaj, Lucknow Ka Pehla Krantikari, etc ] have been published, all being related to Lucknow and are widely appreciated by the people and more than 100 libraries are credited with the same. He has done a great job in translating many books in Hindi & Urdu. 42 research papers on Lucknow have also been published by him. He has also written 8 plays & directed 13 plays!

Sangita Malha |

Journalist / Writer

Sangita P Menon Malhan is a Delhi-based, former journalist. She worked at the Delhi Mid Day, The Statesman, and The Times of India, before experimenting with creative writing. In 2010, her short stories – Rastapherian’s Tales – were published by the Writers Workshop. In 2011, without having a working knowledge of Urdu, and while she was studying Bengali, she began writing poetry in the magical language. Her collection of poems in Urdu, Nusrat-e-Gham (The Triumph of Grief) was published in 2012 by Arshia Publications, following which she began studying the Urdu script. Her non-fiction on the greatest transformation that took place in the Indian media in the 1980s and 1990s – The TOI Story: How a Newspaper changed the Rules of the Game – was published recently by Harper Collins. Prior to this, she was a national gliding champion, and had acquired a Private Pilot’s Licence. Currently, she is a freelance editor and translator; she teaches French, and is picking up Spanish.

Satya Varghese |

Satya Varghese

Rising from the slums of Mumbai Satya has become a globe-trotter travelling to more than 100 cities in 25 countries and has lived in Dubai, England and now in Bulgaria. From young age he is fond of reading and invested a lot of time and energy in self-development. Besides earning master’s degree from Mumbai university, Satya is also an Alumnus of IIM Kolkata.  Satya gave up his high profile banking job to follow his heart and embarked on a passionate journey of writing, motivating and coaching. His dream is to see every fellow Indian become a super star. Satya is an expert author at and also contributes articles to Times of India. Yoga and meditation are his mantra for health and spiritual nourishment. He is happily married to a Bulgarian and spends most of his leisure time with his 2 kids.

Sehba Ali |

Scholar / Writer

Dr. Sehba Ali is a scholar in languages and a distinguished teacher of languages. She obtained her education from Karamat Hussain College, I T College & University of Lucknow. She has a post graduate diploma in teaching English as a foreign language from University of London. She received her MA & Ph.D degrees in Applied Linguistics from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA. She has also obtained a Certificate of High Proficiency in French from the University of Ottawa and a Certificate in Spoken French from the University of Geneva. Dr. Ali has written ‘Learning a Foreign Language – Role of Linguistic Environment’ & ‘Interference from the Second Language in Learning a Third Language’ which are widely acclaimed as renowned Linguistic books. She is a prolific writer and has contributed many research papers and articles on Linguistics to Journals, Workshops & Seminars. She is freelance reporter and was editor of newsletter of United Nations Women’s Guide, Geneva. ‘Majaz Ki Baatein’ is a beautiful book written by her on the life & poetry of Asrar-ul Haq Majaz as she being a very close relative of ‘Majaz – Keats of Urdu Poetry’.

Shabana Azmi |

Actress / Social Activist

Shabana Azmi is an actress of film, television and theatre. She made her film debut in 1974 and soon became one of the leading actresses of Parallel Cinema, an Indian New Wave movement known for its serious content and neo-realism. Regarded as one of the finest actresses in India, Azmi’s performances in films in a variety of genres have generally earned her praise and awards, which include a record of five wins of the National Film Award for Best Actress and several national and international honours. Azmi has appeared in over 120 Hindi films in both mainstream and independent cinema. In addition to acting, Azmi is a social and women’s rights activist, active in supporting child survival and fighting AIDS and injustice in real life. A Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), and a member of the Rajya Sabha. She is proud daughter of poet Kaifi Azmi and wife of Javed Akhtar.

Shafey Kidwai |

Shafey Kidwai

Shafey Kidwai is a bilingual critic, reviewer, translator and communication scientist who has twelve books to his credit. His doctoral thesis Forging bond with Modernism : An Assessment of SirSyed ‘s Periodicals has broken a new ground in Sir Syed Studies and critical appraisal of the nineteenth century vernacular journalism. It was published simultaneously in Germany and India. His Latest book comprising twelve articles on different genres of literature and journalism has just been published by the Cambridge university Press. The National Academy Of Letters -Sahitya Academy has published his three books – Meeraji, R.K.Naryan and Michael Madhu Sudan Dutt Fiction Mutaleat : Pus Sakhtiyati Tanazur and Khabar Nigari, are his widely appreciated books. He also prepared style book for ETV Urdu and glossary of mass communication terms published by NCPUL, NewDelhi. He writes regularly for The Hindu on literary and cultural aspects. He is a general council member of Sahitya Academy and also a member of its Urdu advisory board. At present he is also the convener of Urdu Advisory Committee of Bhartiya Jnanpith. Professor Kidwai visited U.K. Thailand, Syria, Doha and Pakistan (twice) to present papers in seminars. Presently he is Chairman, department of mass communication AMU Aligarh

Shalini Sinha |

Social Activist
Shalini Sinha

Shalini Sinha works as an expert on gender and developmental issues and is based in New Delhi. She is currently affiliated with Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), a global network that holds a secretariat at Harvard University and seeks to improve the status of the working poor, especially women, in the informal economy. Ms Sinha was introduced to the world of Disability by her son, and like Alice in Wonderland, she has found the journey both disturbing and charming; angst ridden and humour laced; challenging and inspiring. She has written extensively on gender and development issues but this is her first attempt to chronicle her life with her special needs son.

Shashank Prabhakar |


Shashank Prabhakar has emerged as an eminent poet among galaxy of modern literary artist. His unmatched talent and unusual literary caliber has enriched his artistic career. He was brought up in a literary environment as his father honourable Padam Bhushan Gopal Das Neeraj is a well known and versatile poet and literary artist. His mother late Manorma Sharma was an active socialist and endeavored for the welfare of others. Therefore, he inculcated the multifacinated traits of his parents. He has also contributed in the well known news channel Sahara Samay. Prabhakar’s poetic career not only lasts in the nation but also on international ground. His valuable contribution is vividly perceived for fifteen years. His poetic genre is embellished with many poemsHe has also been an editor of a famous poetic book. He has the musical element, Figurative language and vivid imagery is predominant in his poems. His poetic talent is further embodied with various works of art which he will provide his readers and audience in the forthcoming scenarios.

Shreyas Navare |


Shreyas Navare freelances as Editorial Cartoonist, Hindustan Times. He holds an MBA from IIT Bombay and B.E. (I.T.) from VJTI, Mumbai University. Shreyas has covered elections in six Indian states and the Presidential polls in the United States of Americathrough the eyes of a cartoonist on behalf of HT. He has held many cartoon exhibitions, one of which was inaugurated by the President of India in 2006 and by cartoonist R. K. Laxman in 2012. His first solo international caricature exhibition was held at Bangkok in 2011. One of Shreyas’s cartoons on foreign affairs has been published in an 8th std. history textbook in Finland. The Politickle Pickle, a compilation of his HT cartoons has been recently published by HarperCollins India.

Smriti Lamech |

Smriti Lamech

Smriti is a mother, writer and blogger and freelancer as she couldn’t bear to let her son and then her daughter out of her sight. She loves her garden, her fridge full of chocolate, her teetering stacks of books and her lily pond, all of which she appreciates thoroughly when she is not busy fighting deadlines. A prolific blogger, she has strong opinions and likes to wear her feminist badge on her sleeve.

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