This year, JLF will feature a host of powerful women whose talent has defined their own personal journeys and have transformed and inspired the lives of many. In the inspirational session, ‘Mithali Raj: The Warrior Skipper of Indian Cricket’, Mithali Raj talks about her journey to the top and the challenges she faced as recounted in her recently-released autobiography. Raj stares down at gender stereotypes and skewed opportunities for women players with characteristic steel and discusses the way forward for an environment that actually rewards grit and talent.
There are few personalities like Usha Uthup – with immense joi de vivre combined with a voice that ricochets straight off your soul and the enduring strength of perseverance. Uthup will be in conversation with Sanjoy K Roy in ‘I Believe in Music’, talking of what music means to her and her all-encompassing belief in its power.
The stark and unadorned ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape’ will have Sohaila Abdulali share her heart-rending story of being gang-raped as a teenager more than 30 years later.
Priyamvada Natarajan, Professor at Yale and acclaimed author of Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos, takes us on a tour to “map the heavens” across the greatest cosmological discoveries of the past century. In ‘Healed: Life Learnings from Manisha Koirala’, the actor shares the highs and lows of her life, career, relationships and her relentless battle to overcome ovarian cancer.
Silicon Valley-based classics scholar Donna Zuckerberg re-appropriates the legacy of the ancient Greeks and Romans and repositions it in a larger context, away from misogynistic, racist and patriarchal interpretations that are gaining currency in the digital age. In conversation with biographer, historian and academic Patrick French and writer and editor Sharmila Sen in ‘Not All Dead White Men: Classics and Misogyny in the Digital Age’, she dismisses the myopic and sexist vision which colours the study of the classics and the unparalleled wisdom found in Ovid, Euripides, Marcus Aurelius.
A session on the enigma of Radha, illicit-by-law consort of Krishna and yet paradoxically worshipped and revered as a goddess over his legally-wedded but ignored wife Rukmini, ‘Finding Radha’ delves into deeper social questions of cultural context and the play of perceptions. Namita Gokhale and Malashri Lal have co-edited the anthology Finding Radha: The Quest for Love. Pavan K Varma, Yudit Greenberg and Devdutt Pattanaik have all contributed significantly to the collection of essays on Radha and will share their insights and perspectives with Lal.