New Delhi, Aug 4 | Kalinga Literary Festival (KLF) will host author, diplomat and former MP Pavan Varma along with MP and author Shashi Tharoor on August 10.
The session on ‘KLF Bhava Samvad’ will witness the launch of Pavan Varma’s book ‘The Great Hindu Civilisation’, followed by a discussion.
The book dwells on the fact that a great Hindu civilisation existed, and continues to. It is marked by great antiquity, substantial — even unprecedented — refinements, audacity of thought, and achievements both in the spiritual and secular realms.
Of course, this does not mean that it is unblemished, and objectivity demands that the blemishes too must be taken into account. Nor does it mean that it evolved in an insular silo or untouched by outside influences. On the contrary. And yet, this intermingling has not diluted or erased its essential identity as a verifiable civilisation.
Unlike many other great civilisations of the past, the Hindu civilisation has not become a historical relic, an antiquary of the past, but has survived as an unbroken continuum to the present.
The introduction says: “It is important to know more about this civilization, most of all for Hindus themselves. The civilisation faces a rather unfortunate paradox. On the one hand, it is notable for its resilience and continuity, and its spillover into every aspect of a Hindu’s life; and, on the other, Hindus themselves show little real curiosity or interest in knowing more about it.
This indifference is a matter of concern, not least because, if Hindus do not know about their own civilisational legacy, their authenticity as Hindus — based on knowledge — is stunted and reduced to ritualistic tokenism.”
Varma is the author of several best-selling books, including ‘The Great Indian Middle Class’, ‘Being Indian’, ‘Adi Shankaracharya: Hinduism’s Greatest Thinker’ and ‘The Greatest Ode to Lord Ram: Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas’.
He was an MP in the Rajya Sabha between 2014 and 2016. Earlier, he was Advisor to the Chief Minister of Bihar, with the rank of Cabinet minister. He was also India’s Ambassador in several countries, including Bhutan, besides being the Director of the Nehru Centre in London, official spokesperson of the MEA, and press secretary to the President of India.