The International Festival of Sacred Arts, Delhi 5 to 9 March 2010



                                                                                                      december 2009 programme

 tuesday 1 december
6.30 pm Book Release -Targeting Iran by David Barsamian (Nov 2009) followed by talk
“Obama’s Wars in Afghanistan & Pakistan”

saturday 5th december
India International Centre Main Auditorium
6.30 pm ‘Cooking of the Maharajas’ a talk by Shalini Devi Sally Holkar)

sunday 13th december
1 to 3pm “Food Meditation”, What and how to eat mindfully

wednesday 23rd  december
6.30 pm “The Indian Christmas and Christmas music across frontiers” A talk and musical presentation by R P Jain and Robinson





tuesday 1 december
6.30 pm Book Release -Targeting Iran by David Barsamian (Nov 2009) followed by talk
“Obama’s Wars in Afghanistan & Pakistan”

  This book will be released by Manoranjan Mohanty (Iformer Professor of Political Science and Director, Developing Countries Research Centre, Delhi Univ. currently Co-Chair, Institute of Chinese Studies.) the time of George Bush, Iran and the United States were on a collision course. Washington’s sabre rattling in response to Iran’s hardline government eerily evokes U.S. rhetoric prior to the invasion of Iraq.  

In Targeting Iran David Barsamian presents the perspectives of three experts on Iran who discuss the 1953 CIA coup and the rise of the Islamic regime; Iran’s internal dynamics and competing forces; relations with Iraq and Afghanistan; and the consequences of U.S. policy. 

In a new introduction to the Indian edition Barsamian discusses in depth the emerging scenario in Iran after the June 2009 elections, and U.S. preoccupation with Afghanistan and Pakistan.


"This slim book is heavy with historical and cultural background that doesn't often find its way into news accounts; it's a great primer on a simmering conflict." – Publishers Weekly

"Insightful, timely, and laced with rich historical perspective, Targeting Iran presents a bracing exploration of Iran's current place in the world, and its tangled relationship with the West. These fascinating interviews capture Iran’s complexity and illuminate the morning’s headlines."  – Azadeh Moaveni, author of Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America And American in Iran 


“Obama’s Wars in Afghanistan & Pakistan” by David Barsamian 

One year has passed since the election of Barack Obama. It was greeted in many circles with a combination of relief and euphoria. But does Obama represent genuine change? Eloquence and charisma, while attractive qualities, are not policy. Obama is imbued with the same imperial mentality that prevails in Washington in that he believes America can reengineer other countries like Afghanistan. This hubris will lead to further death and destruction. Obama has declared that Afghanistan is “a war worth fighting” a “war of necessity” and has doubled the number of troops there.

One of the justifications for the invasion was to liberate Afghan women from Taliban oppression. As Arundhati Roy  commented, “We are being asked to believe the U.S. marines are actually on a feminist mission.” Beyond puppets in Kabul, we hear little from Afghans themselves. Instead, there is a media parade of U.S. military, government officials, and think tank experts who talk about tactics. The right of the United States to invade and occupy other countries is never brought up much less challenged. So the discussions focus on: How many troops do we need? What should we do in Helmand Province? Are air strikes counterproductive? Does Gen. McChrystal have the right plans?  In all of this Afghans barely count. What do they want and in particular what do Afghan women want?

 A little history would be instructive. The mighty British Empire, among others, on multiple occasions, tried to conquer Afghanistan. They never succeeded. One high 19th century British official astutely observed that the Afghans “do not want us, they dread our appearance in their country and will not tolerate foreign rule.”

David Barsamian is the award winning founder and director of Alternative Radio, the independent weekly series based in Boulder, Colorado. AR presents information and perspectives that are ignored or distorted in the corporate-controlled media. The one-hour program is broadcast on public radio stations in the United States, Canada, Australia, and other countries. His interviews and articles appear in The Progressive, The Nation, Z and other journals and magazines. He is winner of the Media Education Award, the ACLU's Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism, the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Award and the Cultural Freedom Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. The Institute for Alternative Journalism named him one of its Top Ten Media Heroes. He is the author of numerous books with Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Eqbal Ahmad, Tariq Ali and Edward Said. His latest books are ‘What We Say Goes’ with Noam Chomsky and ‘Targeting Iran’. He lectures all over the world. In December 2007, he gave the Eqbal Ahmad lectures in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore.




Along the Spice Routes of the World

Indian 'chicken tikka masala is now the national dish of Great Britain and any day now Mcdonalds in the US will be launching their newest culinary invention 'McAloo Tikki Burger'. Almost everyday there is a new book on Indian cooking and this series will celebrate the vast diversity that is Indian Cuisine and its international influences. We will explore history with 'Cooking of the Maharajas', geography with 'Cooking under the Raj', literature with 'Mistress of Spices', travel with the cooking along the Grand Trunk Road, globalization with 'Bound Together' and medicine with Ayurvedic cooking.

This series of 12 lectures is brought to you by The India International Centre and The Attic. Some lectures will be followed by a dinner relevant to the subject.


saturday 5th december
India International Centre Main Auditorium
6.30 pm ‘Cooking of the Maharajas’ a talk by Shalini Devi Sally Holkar)

 Twenty one years old, straight from an American diet of fried chicken and hamburgers  and catapulted into the world of Maharajas, just at the tail end of the maharaja era. A million things to consider, food definitely.

Armed with new husband’s first gift, Larousse Gastronomique, decided to identify the wondrous assortment of unidentifiable wedding dishes. Why not gather recipes from as many erstwhile rulers as one could, capture and compile them into a recipe book?

So, we wrote off to everyone: from the grand to the humble: from Nizam’s to Thakur Sahebs: “Hi! We’re from Indore.  We’d like to come and collect some recipes from your palace (fort, estate, bungalow)..and publish them in a cook book.  You see, this way of life might not be around long; and we need to preserve the recipes...”

Amazingly, some rulers (not a lot) actually replied and invited us to come visit, taste their food, and to write down whatever we pleased . 

So we hopped into a cavalcade of cars, with red flags, of course. It was still Maharaja Days, and we headed out to save Princely Cuisine for posterity.  The journey began in Kishanghar, around Holi in 1967.

In the course of our talk, we’ll go over the various types of kitchens (and non-kitchen cooking places) we encountered, the utensils, methods, ceremonies and rituals.not to mention to spices, meats, vegetables and – of course – the recipes.

Each and every detail is loaded with nostalgia and when I look over the book now, I’m so happy we did capture some of the flavour of princely yesteryear.  So much of that has disappeared now.

There will be gentle tales told, sometimes names will be used; sometimes not and starting with Pandit Shastri who – pandit like – insisted that we learn all about the ‘philosophy of food’ before we set out to prepare and eat it.

Nothing could have happened without the late Maharaja Digvijaysinghji of Sailana – great master that he was -so he will be very much around in this presentation, throughout.  Viking chose to use the word Cooking – rather than ‘cuisine’ – for the title of our book because – in the early Seventies, cuisine was considered a word that Americans might not understand.

Still the meals live on in memory...I look forward to sharing it all with you. 

Sally Holkar was born in the midwest of America and educated at Stanford University. Married in Indore, during her senior year at Stanford, she accompanied her husband on extensive travels, co-authored Cooking of the Maharajas and rebuilt an old farmhouse in the South of France before returning to raise a family in India.   

A frequent contributor to the Indian Express, Times of India and various magazines, she wrote extensively about food in the 1980's and 1990's, editing The Food Magazine in 1998. 

With co-author, Sharada Dwivedi, she published 'Almond Eyes and Lotus Feet' in 2007. From 1978 to 2002, she was responsible for Rehwa, a not for profit society, dedicated to the uplift of the handloom weaving community of Maheshwar, MP.  Since 2003, she has founded and managed WomenWeave Charitable Trust, which works with handloom weavers across India.   


This lecture will be followed by dinner organized by The India International Centre under the supervision of the speaker. Details of this dinner will be available on our website (  and on the IIC programme listing. Reservations can be made by members 24619431



Special Dinner Menu 5th december after the lecture ‘Cooking of the Maharajas’ a talk by Shalini Devi Sally Holkar at IIC Main Dining Hall 8 pm


                   Sikampuri Kababs
                   Dahi ka Kabob
                  Subzi Tali Hui 

Main Course
                    Murgi Survedar
                    Hari Mirchi Wala Kima
                    Machi ka Sula 

Toor Dal
          Bhuti ka Kees
          Jam ki Lonji
          Patiala Vegetables

Pulaos and rotis
                   Palak Pullao
                   Vegetable Pullao
                   Dahi Samosa Maz 

Tava phulkies
Rumali Roti
Bajra Roti

                            Hari Mirch Aachar 

Salad and Raita
                  Kele ka Raita

                            Baroda Bhuran
                            Wheat Sweet
                            Puran Poli



Forthcoming Lectures 2009 - 2010 






       Title of Talk


5 Dec

Sally Holkar

Co-Author Cooking of the Maharajas

Cooking of the Maharajas


2 Jan

Nayan Chanda

Director of Publications, Yale Centre for the Study of Globalization

Spicing Up The European Imagination: The Impact of Indo-Arab Trade on the European Kitchen



Prof. Zilkia Janer

Associate Professor of Global Studies at Hofstra University in New York

Indian Cusine and the geopolitics of Culinary Knowledge


8 Feb

Dr Vinod Verma

Director, The New Way Health Organization .NOW . Author Ayurvedic Food Culture and Recipies

Healing Foods: the Ayurvedic Tradition



David Housego

Journalist and Chairman Shades of India

Raj Cooking and the spread of Indian cuisine in Britain



Salma Husain

Persian scholar and food connoisseur

Turkish, Persian & Afghan cooking and

its influence on Mughal Cuisine

Consultants to the series Pushpesh Pant, Jasleen Dhamija, Prabeen Grewal.
                 Cooking Utensils Exhibition IIC Annexe 26 April to 2 May 2010



sunday 13th december
1 to 3pm “Food Meditation”, What and how to eat mindfully

In spite of having 2 or more meals a day few of us know how and what to eat. Is water with meals good or bad? Is talking at mealtimes OK? In the last 2 sessions excellent, simple and nutritious food has been served and eaten in total silence. For this session we will serve a light restorative, healing and uplifting menu with millets, herbs and spices.

1.       Popped Amaranthus with Raisins and dry fruits

2.       Milk+ Turmeric+Jaggery

3.       Jhangora + Naurangi daal + jakhia tadka (Its actually a khichdi)

4.       Amaranth laddu

5.       Honey 

Amaranth seeds, like buckwheat and quinoa, contain protein that is unusually complete for plant sources. Most fruits and vegetables do not contain a complete set of amino acids necessitating additional protein supplementation. The nutritious content of Amaranth seeds include its high protein, calcium, folk acid and vitamin C content as well as a  nearly perfect balance of essential amino acids that the human body needs to make proteins. Essential amino acid lysine, which is scarce in all other cereal grains, is abundant in amaranths. Popped amaranth seeds provide a good source of protein, which can satisfy a large portion of recommended protein requirements for children and can also provide 70% of necessary calories. In addition, a combination of rice and amaranths, in 1:1 ratio, has been designated as an excellent way to achieve the protein allowance recommended by the World Health Organization.

Aesop's Fables (6th century BC) compares the Rose to the Amaranth to illustrate the difference between fleeting and everlasting beauty.

A Rose and an Amaranth blossomed side by side in a garden,
and the Amaranth said to her neighbour,
"How I envy you your beauty and your sweet scent!
No wonder you are such a universal favourite."
But the Rose replied with a shade of sadness in her voice,
"Ah, my dear friend, I bloom but for a time:
my petals soon wither and fall, and then I die.
But your flowers never fade, even if they are cut;
for they are everlasting.

There will be no verbal exchange during meditation and cell phones will need to be switched off. Questions and discussion after the meal on rice, grains and breads.

Participation is by registration on payment only. Telephone The Attic 9911950530 or email Charges Students Rs 25. Others Rs 100.

Only 15 participants. Registration closes on 10th december. No walk-ins please.


wednesday 23rd  december
6.30 pm “The Indian Christmas and Christmas music across frontiers” A talk and musical presentation by R P Jain and Robinson

  The diversity of Indian Christianity, its unique regional elements from Kerala, Goa, The North East , Punjab, Bengal and Central India, it’s plurality which includes ever growing sects within Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodox and Independent Churches makes the celebration of Christmas in India a fascinating cultural experience.  This talk by Robinson will explore various well known and the not so known traditions encompassing church services, rituals, food and music across the country. The fascinatingly varied cultural traditions where Pine or fir are replaced by decorations in Banana and Mango leaves, where lights are replaced by oil lamps and the traditional roast is replaced by anything from chicken curry to pork vindaloo.  

One of the most important elements of Christmas celebrations is the music, the singing of hymns and carols, some of which like Silent Night and  Hark the Herald cut across all boundaries. In the musical presentation R.P Jain  highlights not only the diversity of  the Classical Western tradition, the Eastern Orthodox but also the huge diversity of the Indian Christmas musical tradition in Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, Mizo, Marathi and Khasi. 

Do come and share the joy and the message of peace this Christmas at  the Attic with our traditional homemade Christmas cake and the non Rum Punch.

Robinson will speak on the Indian Christmas. He is an alumnus of St. Stephen's college, Delhi, a Theologian, Meditation Practitioner and a Poet. He has an advanced certificate from Soon Bible Studies and papers on comparative religion. He is currently researching on the mystical and meditative aspects in various religious traditions. His book Christianity; An Indian Theological perspective awaits publication. He has a   published poetry collection. Reminiscences: The Poetry of Communion. Robinson also conducts walks on specific themes in Delhi like the old city Mehrauli, the Churches and Dargahs of Delhi.  

Dr R.P. Jain will select and play Christmas music from the Eastern Orthodox and Western Churches as well as regional Christmas music. He graduated with a PhD from the University of Hamburg. He taught German language and literature for over 22 years in J.N.U. His interest in Western music grew imperceptibly, almost by osmosis from his earlier years in London to his stint in Germany where his interest in classical music was kindled. He lives a retired life in Delhi and is an active member of the Opera fraternity.