april 2009 programmes

 

thursday 2nd april
6.30 pm
'The flight of the century -The Dalai Lama's journey to India' a talk by Claude Arpi 

monday 6th  april
6.30 pm “
Sacred Scriptures, Sacred Calligraphy in China” a talk by Michele Archambault

wednesday 8th  april
6.30 pm “
Left Behind: Thoughts On Left Rule And Forthcoming Elections In West Bengal” a talk by Rudrangshu Mukherjee  

saturday 11th  april
7. pm “ Good Hands / Godspeed”  two monologues by Neel Chaudhuri  performed by Momo Gosh and Kriti Pant

monday 13th april    
6.30 pm
The Unstressed Life: 3 ancient paths to happiness” a talk by Simran Bhargava.  

friday 17th april   
6.30 pm
‘Concerto Grosso’ - an illustrated talk by Punita Singh as part of The Attic’s Divertimento Music Appreciation Series
 

monday  20th april   
6.30 pm Mayawati “The new Face of Indian politics” a talk by Ajoy Bose

thursday  23rd  april   
7.00 pm “Marathon Man “
 stories by Haruki Murakami. Off the Mantle # 26 The First City Theatre Readings

 

 

 

 

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thursday 2nd april
6.30 pm
'The flight of the century -The Dalai Lama's journey to India' a talk by Claude Arpi

One of the 20th centuries crimes against humanity has been the Chinese occupation of Tibet. The Holocaust, The genocides in Rwanda , Darfur and Croatia have received International attention but the slow and steady destruction of Tibetan culture in Tibet continues. In October 1950 the Peoples Liberation Army crossed the Yangtse river and soon occupied Lhasa. In March 1959 the entire population of Lhasa revolted against the Chinese troops to save their revered leader. The Dalai Lama secretly made the long, arduous journey to India guarded only by a handful of bodyguards seen in the accompanying picture, where he was immediately    

The Dalai Lama's bodyguards from 50 years ago  
 
granted asylum. Since then exactly 50 years ago he has been conducting a largely peaceful battle for Tibetan Independence and even acceptance of Chinese Nationhood to preserve Tibetan culture and religion. He lives in Dharamsala with a Tibetan government in exile and his spiritual strength and single minded efforts in the cause of the Tibetan people have won him International sympathy and The Nobel Peace Prize but no recognition of the rights of the Tibetan people.

Claude Arpi will speak about the circumstances of the ‘Flight of the Century’, the reactions in India and abroad and will look at the Tibetan cause fifty years after 50 years of exile.

Claude Arpi is French-born author and journalist who lives in Auroville, India. He has interviewed many eminent personalities including the Dalai Lama. His most recent books include Tibet: The Lost Frontier (2008), India and Her Neighbourhood: A French Observer's Views (2005), Born in Sin: The Panchsheel Agreement (2004), The Fate of Tibet: When Small Insects Eat Big Insect (1999).

  

monday 6th  april
6.30 pm “
Sacred Scriptures, Sacred Calligraphy in China” a talk by Michele Archambault  

For the first 500 years the teachings of the Buddha were primarily oral. Only when Buddhism reached China during the Han dynasty were the oral teachings transmitted, transcribed and then translated into Chinese. And the written word became as, if not more important than the spoken.
As more and more sacred texts were collected, sutra copying started to become a sacred practice. Michele will introduce the different calligraphic styles that were used to copy the Buddhist sutras from the 2nd to the 14th centuries.

Michele Archambault was introduced to Chinese Calligraphy in the early 1970's while she was studying Chinese at the Hong Kong University. During the seventies and eighties she made many trips to specific sites in China to study stone inscriptions and gather material relating to calligraphy. She also travelled to Japan where she met one of the great Japanese calligraphers, Tejima Sensei, with whom she kept a close relationship until his death. For the past 15 years, she has lived in New York City where she has been privileged to study with one of the world masters of calligraphy, Professor Zhang Lung Yan. Her work has been exhibited in his studio "The White Camellia" and regularly at the China Institute in NY.

 

wednesday 8th  april
6.30 pm “
Left Behind: Thoughts on Left rule and the forthcoming elections in West Bengal” a talk by Rudrangshu Mukherjee 

                                                      For long West Bengal has been associated with the Left – not only with leftist ideas and political movements but for 32 years the State has been ruled by a combination of leftist parties led by the CPM. During the first four years of the United Progressive Alliance they were influential if finally destructive players in the decisions of the Central Government. Now there are straws in the wind that their long monopoly with the governance of West Bengal may be changing. As the editor of the opinion page of The Telegraph for many years Rudrangshu is most qualified to detect such a shift. Today he will analyse how it’s success has become its principal weakness in an election that could prove to be a real test for the Left in the state.

 

Rudrangshu Mukherjee is currently editor, editorial pages of The Telegraph, Calcutta. He is an historian, teacher and journalist who has worked and taught at Princeton University, the University of Manchester and The University of California, Santa Cruz as well as the University of Calcutta. He has edited The Penguin Gandhi Reader and Great Speeches of Modern India and written 4 books on1857 the latest being Mangal Pandey: Brave Martyr or Accidental Hero. He has also worked on the history of the leftist movement in India and this talk is perhaps a sequel to an earlier article ‘Left Baggage’.

saturday 11th april
7. pm “ Good Hands / Godspeed”  two monologues by Neel Chaudhuri  performed by Momo Gosh and Kriti Pant
 

Godspeed received the Toto Funds The Arts Award for Creative Writing in 2009. To commemorate this prize, The First City Theatre Foundation presents a single show of the two monologues, Good Hands / Godspeed, which were first presented at The Attic in July-August 2008.

In Good Hands, a young man presents a slide show of ‘unsung superheroes’, highlighting their elemental virtues and narrating short episodes from their adventures. It was written for and is performed by an actor who loves comic books with unfeigned vigour. In Godspeed, a girl cleans up a room that belonged to a boy who died, finding comfort in songs from his music collection. It was transplanted from an abandoned idea by a writer-friend, and written for and performed by an actress who loves songs
.

A Performance by The First City Theatre Foundation 

 

monday  13th april   
6.30 pm  “
The Unstressed Life: 3 ancient paths to happiness” a talk by Simran Bhargava.
 

What is happiness? Where can it be found? How do you make it last?    Those questions have baffled researchers for years.  And yet, everything we do—work, play, love, raise a family—are all ultimately attempts to find happiness.  

This talk will explore some of the latest international research on happiness and also share some simple but surprisingly powerful tools for happiness that can be found within the heart of Indian spiritual traditions.  Once understood, these can be applied at both, a corporate and personal level to live a significantly happier, less stressful and  more meaningful life. Simran Bhargava has a Masters in Communication from Stanford University. She was writer and editor with the India Today group for several years.  She now has her own weekly television show on NDTV called “One Life To Love” which aims to help viewers lead a happier and freer life.  She has also recently done a six-part series for NDTV on "Happiness: A journey with Deepak Chopra"  

 

friday  17th april   
6.30 pm  ‘Concerto Grosso’ - an illustrated talk by Punita Singh - as part of The Attic’s Divertimento Music Appreciation Series
 

The ‘concerto grosso’ evolved as a music performance genre during the late 17th century, with eminent composers of the Baroque period writing major works that contrasted sections played by a small group of solo instrumentalists with those played by the larger orchestra.  

Popularized by composers such as Stradella, Corelli and Vivaldi in Italy, the style was adopted by other European composers such as Bach and Handel and developed further to contrast the performance of a single soloist with the orchestra. Such performances allowed virtuoso playing by the soloist to be displayed in sharp focus and led to the concerto form emerging as one of the staples of the western classical music repertoire. In this presentation, Dr Punita Singh will present audio and video excerpts of some concerti grossi and discuss the special features of the style and its influence on later composers of the Classical, Romantic and Modern periods.  

Punita is a musicologist, linguist, psychoacoustician, editor and educator based in New Delhi. Special areas of interest and expertise include Christian sacred music, music of the Renaissance, twentieth-century music, Flamenco, and contrastive aspects of Indian and Western classical music. 

monday 20th april    
6.30 pm Mayawati “T
he new face of Indian politics” a talk by Ajoy Bose

How did Mayawati, a studious, diffident Dalit schoolteacher, the summit of whose ambitions was to be an IAS officer, become the iconoclastic, combative politician, universally known as Behenji today? With her in-your-face political style, unabashed display of accumulated wealth and mercurial nature, she is, perhaps, the most enigmatic Indian politician for decades. Possibly her greatest achievement has been to forge, with the help of her mentor, Kanshi Ram, a completely new context for Dalit politics. Bypassing both the slogans of victimhood, as well as those of street-level activism, she has negotiated from within the system to create new alliances with lower backward castes, Muslims and now, surprisingly, upper-caste Brahmins as well.

 

Eminent journalist Ajoy Bose brings his in-depth experience of covering Indian politics for over three decades to a pioneering political biography of Mayawati. He explores the background of her meteoric rise and examines the growing national clout of this unique woman who could, quite possibly, determine the shape of the next Indian government, and even be the country’s prime minister one day.   

Ajoy Bose, has been associated for over three and a half decades with a wide range of media at home and abroad. During the 1998 national elections he co-hosted along with Vinod Dua and Mark Tully the popular television poll programme Chunauv Chunauti. In 2004, he along with Arati Jerath produced a weekly foreign affairs television show Global Challenges on Doordarshan News. He has written three books, the latest of which is Behenji – a political biography of Mayawati (2008).

thursday  23rd  april   
7.00 pm “Marathon Man “
stories by Haruki Murakami. Off the Mantle # 26.
 

Haruki Murakami is Japan's most important and internationally acclaimed living writer. Since 1979, and his first novel Hear the Wind Sing, he has written more than 35 works of fiction and nonfiction in his native language and translated more than 30 titles from English into Japanese. Dauntingly prolific and almost aggressively healthy, he swims and runs daily, and has run marathons in New York, Boston and Sapporo. He is in bed by 9 p.m. and up at 4. "You need power to be a good writer," he once explained.  

The First City Theatre Foundation reads excerpts from his novels, stories and non-fiction writing.