Makarand R. Paranjape, Professor of English at JNU, New Delhi, is a scholar, critic, poet, novelist, and columnist. He read English at St. Stephen’s College before getting an MA & PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA). He has published over 45 books, 170 academic papers, and 500 newspaper/periodical articles. His recent books include Cultural Politics in Modern India (Routledge, 2016), The Death and Afterlife of Mahatma Gandhi (Penguin Random House, 2015), and Transit Passenger/Passageiro em Transito (University of Sao Paolo, 2016), an Indo-Brazilian book of poems. Makarand is currently a columnist for Swarajya, DNA, and Mail Today. Bookstalkist spoke with him on sidelines of the Bangalore Literature Festival, 2017. 

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I don’t remember the last time I read a non-fiction that kept me on the edge of my seat while I kept turning the pages, one after the other. Commandohappens to be that rare-breed of a non-fiction which makes your heart skip a beat and won’t let you put it down until you finish a chapter. However, you will want to pause, take a breath and soak in what you just read before you move on to the next chapter. The next chapter is going to be another breath-taking ride. Written by Michael Bar-Zohar and Nissim Mishal, and published by Jaico Publishing House in India, Commando brings to you the real stories of some of the death-defying missions of the Israeli Special Forces.

Almost every time Rahul Gandhi starts campaigning before the elections, he seems to be aspiring for a loss. His speeches sound like appealing for a thumping defeat. Every time I hear him appeal for votes, his sentences get autocorrected in my head to sound something like this – “Hamein vote na dekar bhaari maton se haraayen!” (By not voting for us, inflict a massive defeat on us). After all, when you get rewarded after every loss, why would you want to win?

It was the 10th Chennai International Film Festival. I surprised myself during the film festival that year by managing to watch a respectable number of films despite a hectic schedule at work. Michael Haneke’s Amour, which later went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, was also scheduled to be screened that year. It was on my must-watch list. I made it on time for the show and the movie was surely beautiful. However, I could not sit through the entire movie and had to walk out.

The speaker of the house was Hannelore Vogt with Satish Hosamani, the former is the director of Cologne Public Library, Germany and the latter represented Karnataka State Libraries. The session started with Hannelore presenting us some articles which looked like toys and one would wonder about its significance, only to realise from her presentation that those were printed out from the 3D printer of Hannelore’s public library.