Leander Paes discloses what it takes to be an Olympic Winner at Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest


The noon session also saw a book launch by authors Ashwin Sanghi and Sunil Dalal

It’s not often you can sit in front of an Olympic medallist and hear their story first-hand on what went into a spectacular win that brought pride to an entire nation. At NCPA, professional tennis player and bronze medallist, Leander Paes did just that where he discussed and recounted his journey that brought India an Olympic medal in 1996.

The discussion, chaired by Festival Director of Tata Literature Live! Anil Dharker, was also joined by senior writer at The Straits Times, Rohit Brijnath. Paes credited his desire to play for the people and the Indian flag for his success. He said, “Playing for the national flag gave me a sense of responsibility.” The session also discussed the sports culture in India and delved into how being an Indian and a sense of ‘Indianness’ can hold the key to success in sporting events. The discussion concluded that Indians have all the necessary expertise required to excel in international sporting events, however, governance, better training and coaching, and state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities must be provided for athletes to reach their true potential.

Prithvi Theatre saw Burmese writer and human-rights defender, Ma Thida and independent multi-disciplinary theatre-maker from Tehran, Nassim Soleimanpour come together for a panel discussion on ‘Words Behind Bards: Being a Prisoner of Conscience.” Executive Director of Amnesty International Aakar Patel chaired the discussion who quizzed the two authors about their literary journey, against the backdrop of political upheaval in their respective countries.

Thida, narrated the time she spent in prison, saying “Meditation and Vipassana helped me to get through this difficult period. It was during this time that I realised that I wanted to pen my prison memoir.” Soleimanpour brought forward his journey in Tehran to the audience, saying “I was denied a passport because I dodged two years of compulsory military service, a diktat for 18-year-old boys in Iran. At the age of 26, after finishing drama school, I had to apply for service again, however, I was invalided because I am half-blind.” Through their personal experiences and stories, both panellists insisted on using literature as a tool that helps people in their individual pursuits of bringing about greater good in a society.

At the same time, Day 3 of the festival marked the book launch of ’13 Steps to Bloody Good Wealth’ at NCPA. Co-authored by Ashwin Sanghi and Sunil Dalal, the book demystifies and puts forward 13 steps that can help an individual amass wealth even if they’re not blessed with the proverbial silver spoon. It takes on jargon such as inflation, asset allocation, risk, return, and time and puts it forward in a way that is easy for the reader to understand. Sanghi, summing up the challenges he faced while writing the book, aptly said, “Easy reading often corresponds to damn hard writing!”

An engaging discussion on Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and the politics of Dalit-Muslim alliance in India also took place with panellists Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, Narendra Jadhav, Co-Founder of Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, Noorjehan Safia Niaz and author Venkat Dhulipala. The discussion, chaired by seasoned journalist Ayaz Memon, provided the audience with a deep insight on Dr. Ambedkar’s view to create a liberal India and shone perspective on the lack of a Dalit-Muslim alliance in the country.

Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest will bring up several other engaging discussions and topics over this weekend for everyone to enjoy.


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