The $44.3-billion Aditya Birla Group is in the League of Fortune 500. It is anchored by an extraordinary force of over 120,000 employees, belonging to 42 nationalities. Over 50 per cent of its revenues flow from its overseas operations spanning 35 countries. The Aditya Birla Group was named the AON best employer in India for 2018—the third time over the last seven years. The Group was earlier ranked fourth in the world and first in Asia-Pacific in the ‘Top Companies for Leaders’ study 2011, conducted by Aon Hewitt, Fortune Magazine and RBL (a strategic HR and leadership advisory firm). The Group has also topped the Nielsen’s Corporate Image Monitor 2014-15 and emerged as the ‘No.1 Corporate’, the ‘Best in Class’, for the third consecutive year.
Globally, it is a metals powerhouse, among the world’s most cost-efficient aluminium and copper producers. Hindalco-Novelis is the largest aluminium rolling company. It is one of the three biggest producers of primary aluminium in Asia, with the largest single location copper smelter. It is also the biggest producer of viscose staple fibre, carbon black and the fourth-largest producer of insulators and fifth-largest producer of acrylic fibre globally.
Aditya Birla Group also has the distinction of being the world’s fourth-largest cement player, barring China. It is the largest Indian MNC with manufacturing operations in the US, with 95% of the workforce comprising Americans.
For the Aditya Birla Group, reaching out to underserved communities is part of its DNA. This entails transcending business interests and grappling with the “quality of life” challenges that underserved communities face, and working towards making a meaningful difference to them. The Group reaches out to 7.5 million Indians in 5,000 villages annually through the Aditya Birla Centre for Community Initiatives and Rural Development, spearheaded by MrsRajashree Birla. It has set up a midday meal kitchen in the Keonjhar district of Odisha, facilitating the provision of midday meals to 268 schools, along with transport facilities. Additionally across 625 schools, with 50,000 children, spanning Lucknow, Jaipur, Mysore, Bengaluru, Surat, Vadodara, Puri, Cuttack and Ahmedabad, the Group sponsors midday meals. It also runs 56 schools that provide quality education to 45,000 children, of which 18,000 students belong to the underprivileged segment. Merit scholarships are given to an additional 12,000 children from the interiors.
The Group’s community engagement is in the field of healthcare, education, sustainable livelihood, infrastructure development and social reform. It stems from their philosophy of caring and giving. The Group feels duty bound and cares for those at the bottom of the pyramid.
A $13 billion Indian conglomerate, JSW is part of the OP Jindal Group and has played a key role in India’s growth story. Ranked among India’s top business houses, JSW’s innovative and sustainable forays into the core sectors of Steel, Energy, Cement and Infrastructure are helping build a new nation. With a diverse workforce of over 40,000 people, JSW continues to strive for excellence with its strengths, which comprises its differentiated product mix, state-of-the-art technology, excellence in execution and focus on sustainability. It takes a strong will to be ranked among India’s top business houses. But it takes stronger dreams to foray into the core sectors of Steel, Energy, Cement and Infrastructure. The JSW Group’s strengths, state-of-the art technology and excellence in execution have helped it grow and that has helped India grow multi-fold. The Group is building a Better Everyday by keeping a strong focus on sustainability and a philosophy of giving back to the country at large.
Odisha is one of the richest states in India in terms of mineral wealth. However, this wealth was largely untapped as mining is a very capital intensive industry and in the early years of independence capital was scarce. Under these circumstances, the Odisha Mining Corporation Limited (OMC) was incorporated on 16th May 1956 as a joint venture Company of Government of Odisha and Government of India with the objective of harnessing the mineral wealth of the State of Odisha through exploration, extraction as well as value addition.
Four years later, following the Government of India’s withdrawal from the company, OMC became a wholly State-owned Corporation of Government of Odisha on 17th Nov 1961. As of now, it continues to be a wholly-owned corporation of the Odisha Government, which has subscribed to the entire paid up capital of `31.45 crore of an authorized capital of `100 crore. The major minerals mined by OMC are chrome, iron and manganese ore which cater to the requirement of mineral-based industries such as steel, sponge iron, pig iron, ferro-manganese, ferro-chrome, etc. OMC has been growing steadily over these years and today is the largest State PSU in the mining sector of the country.
GAIL (India) Ltd. is a Central Public Sector Undertaking under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, with the mission of accelerating and optimizing the effective and economic use of Natural Gas and its fractions for the benefit of the national economy. It started as a Gas Transmission Company during the late eighties, and has grown organically by building a large network of Natural Gas pipelines covering over 11,400km; two LPG Pipelines covering more than 2,000 km; six Gas Processing plants for production of LPG and other liquid hydrocarbons, with a combined production capacity of around 1.3 MMTPA.
GAIL has a Petrochemical plant in North India with a capacity 810000 TPA, North-east India with a capacity of 2,80,000 TPA and western India with capacity of 140000 TPA. The company has integrated upstream into the business of Exploration & Production with participating interests in 12 E&P Blocks, including 2 blocks in Myanmar. GAIL has also integrated downstream into the high growth retail City Gas Distribution business both in India and abroad. GAIL is today an integrated energy company in the hydrocarbon sector with focus on gas and beyond. It has overseas presence in five countries.
With an aim to ensure cleaner and quality energy in Eastern India at an affordable Price, Government of India (GoI) aggressively promoted the execution of 2655 Km Jagdishpur-Haldia&Bokaro-Dhamra Natural Gas Pipeline Project, popularly known as the Urja Ganga of Eastern India. This is being taken up at an investment of `12940 crore and is scheduled to be completed from 2018 to 2020 in phases. The project caters to the energy requirements of five states, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal.
Oil India Limited (OIL) is a fully integrated E&P company in the upstream sector, whoseorigin dates back to the glorious year (1889) of oil discovery in India. ANavratna PSU, OIL is the second-largest national oil and gas company in India as measured by total proved plus probable oil and natural gas reserves and production. The Company has carved a niche as a leading Indian national oil and gas company in the upstream sector with a legacy of hydrocarbon exploration for over five decades and having a share of about 8.8% of the country’s total crude oil production and natural gas production.
OIL owns and operates a wide array of facilities & equipment to carry out seismic & geodetic work, 2D & 3D data acquisition, processing & analysis, drilling, oil & gas field development & production, LPG production and Pipeline transportation, with all other ancillary services to make it a fully integrated E&P Company. It has vast experience in reservoir management of ageing/ depleting fields and expertise in IOR/EOR operations. It has over 2000 km of trunk & feeder pipeline with in-house Operation and Maintenance. Besides having a Pan-India presence, OIL has Participating Interest in blocks in over ten countries overseas.
One of OIL’s strategic initiatives has been to enter the Renewable & Alternate Energy sector by installing and commissioning projects in the Wind and Solar domains. Its current total Renewable Energy capacity stands at 188.10 MW segments comprising of 174.10 MW of Wind Energy projects and 14 MW of Solar Energy projects. Since 2013, the PSU has maintained International credit ratings, Moody’s “Baa2” (stable) (higher than sovereign rating) and Fitch Rating “BBB (-)” (Stable) (equivalent to sovereign rating). It was ranked #232 in the Platts Top 250 Global Energy Company Rankings for 2017.
Paradip is one of the major ports of India and only major port of Odisha. BijuPatnaik, former Chief Minister of Odisha, is the founder father of Paradip Port. It is situated 210 nautical miles south of Kolkata and 260 nautical miles north of Visakhapatnam on the east coast, on the shore of Bay of Bengal. Jawaharlal Nehru, former Prime Minister of India, laid the foundation stone of the port in 1962 near the confluence of the river Mahanadi and the Bay of Bengal. The Government of India took over the management of the Port from the Government of Odisha on June 1, 1965. INS Investigator had the privilege of the maiden berthing at the port on March 12, 1966. The Government of India declared Paradip Port the eighth major port of India in April 1966 making it the first major port in the East Coast to be commissioned after Independence. With a vision to becoming the premier port on India’s East Coast by providing efficient and cost-effective integrated port facility to its users, PPT has committed itself to fulfilling the requirements and expectations of its esteemed customers and the nation by equipping itself with state-of-the-art equipment and technology. PPT maintains the best industry standards and offers competitive rates ensuring security and safety of life.
Odisha is rightly regarded as a land of myriad marvels. The state’s dynamic topographical and vegetational strength have combined to form stunning destinations that offer not only visitors a visual feast but also an educative and culturally pleasing insight into one of the world’s oldest civilizations. Temples and sanctuaries, beaches and waterfalls, hot springs and lakes, captivating wildlife, vibrant crafts and festivals that can take on a ‘Juggernaut’-like momentum–Odisha has them all and more. Cradled between the Bay of Bengal and the forested, blue-hued hills of the Eastern Ghats, Odisha’s beauty has a gem-like reflection and is spread over 1,55,707 sq km. Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism have all flourished in this land. The state offers visitors religious architectural wonders in the Golden Triangle of BBSR-PURI-KONARK as well as ancient tantric temples and yogini shrines. In addition, beautiful beaches beckon visitors while dolphins cavort in the Chilikalake in playful abandon. If that’s not enough, Odisha’s art and craft orientation is brilliantly manifested in its ikat silk, pata paintings, silver filigree and stone carving.
Established in 1961 in Odisha, IMFA is known for its rich natural resources. It is India’s largest, fully integrated producer of ferro alloys with 187 MVA installed furnace capacity, backed up by 258 MW captive power generation and extensive chrome ore mining tracts. The company is unique from the quality perspective due to comprehensive ISO 9001 Quality Management certification besides ISO 14001 Environment Management and ISO 18001 Occupational Health & Safety certification. It is recognised globally as a reliable and cost-competitive producer with a particular focus on customer satisfaction. Over the years, IMFA has developed long-standing relationships with multinationals like POSCO of South Korea, Marubeni Corporation and Nisshin Steel of Japan and leading stainless steel producers in China and Taiwan. Within India, Jindal Stainless and Shah Alloys are the company’s leading customers.
National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO), a Navratna Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Mines, Govt. of India, has not only addressed the need for self-sufficiency in aluminium, but has also given the country a technological edge in producing this strategic metal as per world standards. With low-cost operations since 1987 and an international customer base covering more than 20 countries, NALCO is the largest integrated alumina-aluminium complex of Asia. The company’s resource base has been further strengthened recently with the allocations of Utkal D & E Coal Blocks in Angul and the clearance of Pottangi Bauxite Mines in Koraput. But more importantly, this aluminium major is not all about aluminium alone. With time, it has also diversified into other important sectors of mining, power and renewable energy.
SR Rungta Mines Ltd (RML), a flagship company of the SR Rungta Group, has been in the mining business for the past six decades and was incorporated by late SR Rungta in 1962, to support India’s steel industry. Today, the group is headed by NL Rungta, as CMD. It has operations in the mineral-rich belts of Bihar and Odisha and is involved in the mining of iron ore and manganese ore. RML’s management is highly conscious of its social responsibilities and obligations towards its employees and community. Hence, it makes regular efforts to promote the causes of education, family welfare, healthcare and recreation, and works to provide a pollution-free environment for everybody.
The Odisha Hydro Power Corporation has recently earned the Gold Rated State PSU status for its consistent performance, which is considered as one of the major success story in the Odisha Power sector reforms. It provides the cheapest power to Odisha Grid. It caters to more than 25% of Odisha’s energy requirement. The corporation is consistently contributing to the state exchequer by immensely keeping power tariff low in Odisha.
It is worth mentioning that the corporation contributes to the peak support up to 1850 MW, which is more than 50% state demand during peak period. While doing so the corporation keeps the environment clean, green & sustainable. It has earned name by contributing in the field of Education, Health, Livelihood and infrastructure development in the remote and tribal-dominated areas of Odisha.
The MGM Group, founded by the late MG Mohanty, started out with the ownership and development of mines in the 1940s. MGM has been developing and operating its own iron and manganese mines in the mineral-rich district of Sundargarh in Odisha. The company has set up an integrated steel plant in Dhenkanal district that has a capacity of 0.25 million tonnes per annum. The plant has already gone into commercial production and subsequent phases of the plant are in the project stage. In keeping with its commitment to an eco-friendly and responsible investment, the MGM Group has also made a foray into projects in the domains of hi-tech horticulture and agriculture solutions in Odisha.
Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Bhubaneswar is a unique initiative of social transformation through holistic education. Founded by noted educationist and social activist DrAchyutaSamanta in 1993, it is now the largest residential institute for tribals in the world, providing accommodation, food, healthcare, and education from KG to PG, vocational training and all other basic amenities of life absolutely free to 25,000 poorest of poor children.
Some of the recent achievements of KISS provide an insight into the role it is playing in empowering tribal communities. It was the only NGO from India selected to participate in the United Nation’s 55th session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD55), held at the UN Headquarters in New York from February 1 – 10, 2017.
While its numbers alone are impressive enough to merit a special documentary in the National Geographic (India’s Mega Kitchen, August 29, 2016) and entry in the Guinness World Records (the Largest Human Sentence and Longest Human Chain-High Five), the Institute’s real credit lies in its remarkable success in transforming the most underprivileged children into powerful change-makers. With a focus on overall personality development of these children, KISS has produced hundreds of uncommon achievers, who herald new hope for the tribal community as a whole.
Established in 1919, Oxford Bookstore is the best-equipped ‘base-camp’ for journeys of the mind, offering customers the widest range of titles and consistently courteous and informed service for close to a century. Today, with stores in major metros, Oxford offers book lovers access to the very best in publishing enhanced by a variety of events which salute books, visual & performing arts and celebrate the word. Oxford Bookstore measures its success by the smiles on the millions of customers that it has served. There are few treats as sumptuous as a visit to an Oxford Bookstore in India. Each time you walk into the iconic store in Kolkata, where the brand started in 1919, its charm leaves you wanting for more. Oxford’s fleet of happy-to-help booksellers and informed hosts work day and night to bring to customers a world-class experience, be it through their books or fine teas, and live by the brand’s motto, ‘Much more than a bookstore’.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik needs no introduction. One of the most admired and respected political leaders in the country, he has been consistently ranked among India’s best-performing chief ministers year after year. Blessed with the trust of the people, he is the longest-serving Chief Minister of Odisha with an uninterrupted stint since 2000. Under his leadership, Odisha has undergone a massive transformation from a Bimaru state to one that is hailed for its economic growth and social progress, posting a complete turnaround in human development indices, poverty alleviation, industrial and infrastructure development. Patnaik is also lauded for leading a transparent and corruption-free government.
He joined politics in 1996 after the death of his father, Biju Patnaik. First elected to the LokSabha from Aska, he was Union Minister in the AtalBihari Vajpayee government between March 1998 and March 2000, before moving to the state. Educated at Doon School and Delhi University, he has worked actively to industrialise Odisha. Apart from being a politician of unflinching integrity, he is a man of letters and culture. He has authored the critically-acclaimed A Second Paradise: Indian Country Life 1590-1947; A Desert Kingdom: The People of Bikaner; and The Garden of Life: An Introduction to the Healing Plants of India.
Starting his political career with ABVP, the students’ wing of BJP, the 48-year-old Rajya Sabha member has risen through the ranks and is now one of the most prominent faces of the NDA government and among the top-performing ministers in the Cabinet. Entrusted with the responsibility of making crucial reforms to the PNG Ministry and implementing the flagship Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Pradhan has displayed deft leadership in making them a success. The Ujjwala scheme crossed the targeted five crore gas connection distribution among poor people, eight months ahead of schedule.
Pradhan also earned plaudits for successfully implementing the Give it UP campaign and the Pahal Scheme, which has entered the Guinness World Records as the largest cash transfer programme in the world. His success in the PNG Ministry earned him the additional charge of the Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Ministry. Here, he has initiated several measures to transform the skill development sector to mould an employment-ready youth force and create a vibrant ecosystem for entrepreneurship.
Pradhan’s heart lies in social work and he has always worked for the development and welfare of farmers, backward classes, poor and marginal sections. He is also committed to tackling youth-related issues such as unemployment and the lack of skill-based education. Pradhan has played a major role in mobilising the youth in politics and is actively working to create better leaders for tomorrow. In his
free time, he reads books on history and politics and tracks social trends.
A journalist, columnist and author, Ashutosh was the Managing Editor of IBN7 from 2006 to 2014, when he gave it up to become a political activist. He started his journalistic career with Saptahik Hindustan and went on to work at Dainik Hindustan, BITV and AajTak. In 1997, he was awarded the UN’s prestigious Dag Hammarskjold Memorial Scholarship, becoming the sixth Indian and the first-ever Hindi journalist to get it.
Ashutosh has authored two books. Anna–13 days that awakened India is a detailed account of the Anna agitation and The Crown Prince, The Gladiator & The Hope–Battle for Change is a narrative about the changing politics in India in the context of the 2014 elections written, from the perspective of a journalist as well as a political activist. His upcoming book is an analysis of the five years of the Modi government, tracing its ideological foundations.
In January 2014, Ashutosh joined the Aam Aadmi Party. After a successful career in journalism, he felt it was time to be a direct participant in the movement for change that was the call of the moment for the country. Political activism afforded him the chance to connect with people at the grass root level. He resigned from the party in June 2018 to return to journalism.
Ashwin Sanghi is one of India’s highest-selling English fiction authors. Till date, he has written ten best-selling books, The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant, The Krishna Key, The Sialkot Saga, Keepers of the Kalachakra, Private India, Private Delhi, 13 Steps to Bloody Good Luck, 13 Steps to Bloody Good Wealth and 13 Steps to Bloody Good Marks.
Ashwin self-published his first novel, The Rozabal Line in 2007 under the pseudonym Shawn Haigins. The theological thriller based upon the theory that Jesus died in Kashmir was subsequently published by Westland in 2008 in India under Ashwin’s own name and became a national bestseller. His second novel was Chanakya’s Chant, a modern-day political thriller with roots in ancient Mauryan history. The third offering, The Krishna Key, was a fastpaced thriller that explores the secrets of the Vedic age and the Mahabharata. The Sialkot Saga was a business thriller with a historical twist while his fifth title in the Bharat series came out in January 2018.
Ashwin has co-authored two New York Times bestselling novels with James Patterson. The books are Private India and Private Delhi. Included by Forbes India in its Celebrity 100 and winner of the Crossword Popular Choice, Ashwin also co-writes the 13 Steps Series of motivational self-help books. The three books already out are to be followed by many more in the series. The writer was educated at Cathedral & John Connon School, Mumbai; St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai; and Yale University. He lives in Mumbai with his wife and son.
Born into a military family, Avalok Langer grew up playing hide and seek in tank garages. He was exposed to war and conflict at a young age and, after being banned from joining the army by his father (quite rightly), found himself in awe of the conflict journalists on TV and hoped to join their ranks one day. Oddly enough, a BA in political science from Delhi University led him to a job in NDTV. Having anchored far too many food shows, he realized he needed to jump the long queue that led to his initial interest, conflict journalism. So, with a ‘soft loan’ from his parents and his own savings, Avalok spent a year travelling along the western border from Gujarat to Jammu and then on to Northeast, where he met various underground groups, revolutionary leaders, military and political personnel, who gave him a perspective far removed from his military background, highlighting the on ground realities of conflict.
Running out of money before he could explore the ‘red corridor’, he joined Tehelka Magazine where he reported primarily on the Northeast. His travels, experiences and conversations as a reporter led to his first book In Pursuit of Conflict, a personalized narrative of the region’s long-standing conflicts.
Avalok is currently based in Delhi making documentaries on varied subjects or, as he puts it, on anything that allows him to escape Delhi’s heat.
Chandan Mitra is the Editor and Managing Director of The Pioneer. He is a well-known journalist with wide-ranging experience in both the print and television media, spanning more than 30 years. Mitra has served in senior editorial positions of leading national publications such as The Statesman, The Sunday Observer, The Times of India and The Hindustan Times. He appears frequently on major national news channels as a political commentator. The Pioneer Group, of which he is Chairman, also publishes Exotica, a lifestyle magazine for top hotel chains.
An alumnus of La Martinere, Kolkata, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, and Oxford University, Mitra has authored several books including Corrupt Society. He has served as a Member of Parliament in the RajyaSabha for two terms from 2003 to 2016. He was first nominated to the Upper House by the President of India in 2003 and for his second term, was elected to the House from Madhya Pradesh as a BJP nominee in June 2010. He was in the BJP’s National Executive Committee from 2005 to 2018. Recently, Mitra left the BJP and joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) under the leadership of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
An author, linguist, social scientist and professor, Debi Prasanna Pattanayak played a key role in acquiring Classical Language status for Odia in 2014. The eminent linguist was instrumental in preparing the report containing historical, literary and archaeological evidence for classical tag for Odia, which received the Linguistic Experts’ Committee nod. Founder-director of the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, Pattanayak was awarded the Padma Shri in 1987 for his contribution to inclusion of the Bodo language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India.
He has held positions in prestigious organisations like the Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts, National Council of Teacher Education, Deccan College, American Institute of Indian Studies, Utkal University of Culture and Viswabharati University. He is currently the Chancellor of Centurion University in Andhra Pradesh.
Pattanayak has authored several books on language including Kabilipi; Multilingualism in India; VacanaSataka; Oriya Bhasa O Bhasha Vijnana; A Controlled Historical Reconstruction of Oriya, Assamese, Bengali and Hindi; and Orissa, Oriya and the Multilingual Context.
For his contribution to the promotion of Indian languages, Odia in particular, he has won many honours, including the Sarala Puraskar and Jawaharlal Literacy Award. He is a life member of the Linguistic Society of India, Linguistic Society of America, and a permanent member of The New York Academy of Sciences.
Devapriya Roy is the author of two novels, The Vague Woman’s Handbook and The Weight Loss Club. Her third book, The Heat and Dust Project: the Broke Couple’s Guide to Bharat, co-written with SauravJha, is the story of an eccentric journey around India on local buses, on a very, very tight budget of `500 rupees a day. Roy’s latest project is Indira, a graphic biography of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, framed in a novella, which she created in collaboration with artist PriyaKuriyan. At the moment, her new novel The Romantics of College Street is being serialised in The Telegraph. An alumna of Presidency College, Calcutta, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, she spent many years in pursuit of a PhD in performance studies, on Bharata’s Natyashastra, an ancient Indian text of dramaturgy. She lives in Delhi where she writes, teaches, and plots and plans to turn over a new leaf very soon.
A popular name in the realm of film direction and production, Dhiraj Kumar is much admired for his contributions to the Indian television and regional film industry. Following his graduation from the Asian Academy of Film and Television as a film student, he directed and produced many regional films and television serials for national TV channels. In 2018, he is debuting in Bollywood as a director and producer with the Hindi suspense thriller Kaashi, in Search of Ganga, which will hit the theatres in October.
Feroze Varun Gandhi is a second-term Member of Parliament, who represented the Pilibhit constituency in 2009, and was elected from the Sultanpur constituency in 2014, winning both elections by record margins. He was the youngest-ever National Secretary of the BJP from 2008-2011, and the youngest-ever National General Secretary of the party from 2011-2014. He is a member of its National Executive.
Gandhi has been a member of a number of Parliamentary Standing Committees, including those on Defence and External Affairs. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.
He is a widely respected opinion leader and policy analyst, writing widely in English, Hindi and other regional languages for India’s top media houses He is the widest read columnist in the country, reaching over 200 million readers.
A poet by inclination, Gandhi has published two bestselling volumes of poetry, The Otherness of Self and Stillness. The latter was the best bestselling non-fiction book of 2015 and sold over 10,000 copies in the first two days of release. Gandhi is currently working on his third book of poetry, Surrender, while his more academic and deeply-researched work, A Rural Manifesto, will be published in November this year. It is a book seeped in agrarian economics and seeks to answer the fundamental question, ‘What is the economic future of Indian villages?’.
Gandhi’s latest initiative, Sapnonka Ghar, is to provide pucca homes to people who have never owned them or lived in them, even in previous generations. He started with a personal donation of 100 homes in Sultanpur. Since then, the movement has built 1,000 homes in nine districts, reaching out to the local elite as well as large farmers to contribute.
Ira Mukhoty is the author of Heroines: Powerful Indian Women of Myth and History and Daughters of the Sun: Empresses, Queens and Begums of the Mughal Empire. She has two degrees in Natural Sciences and has studied in Delhi and Cambridge. While living in Delhi, one of the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world, she developed an interest in the evolution of mythology and history and its relevance to the status of women in India. Ira is particularly interested in the way history is manipulated to suit changing narratives and the need to present historical non-fiction in an accessible way.
In Heroines, Ira wanted to discover some great Indian women who could be role-models for the women of today, both through their courage and their vulnerabilities. In Daughters of the Sun, she has attempted to reclaim women whose collective memory was tainted by the colonial legacy of India and its complicated relationship with Islam. By using a range of materials; a variety manuscripts, travel documents, miniature paintings, architecture etc, Ira wants to create histories that feel immediate and tangible while also remaining instructive. She is currently working on her third project, a biography of Akbar the Great.
Jatin Nayak is an eminent translator and critic who has published widely in India and abroad. Educated at Ravenshaw College, Cuttack and Merton College, Oxford University, he retired as Professor of English from Utkal University in 2016 and is currently a visiting professor at Ravenshaw University.
He has co-translated into English Fakir Mohan Senapati’s classic Odia novel ChhaMana Atha Guntha (Six Acres and a Third). Nayak’s other translations include A stride the Wheel, A Time Elsewhere and The Maternal Uncle. The anthologies he has edited include Reminiscences: Excerpts from Odia and Bangla Autobiographies, Memories, Images, Imagination, Meeting the Mahatma: Gandhiji’s Visits to Orissa, Fakir mohan Senapati: Perspectives on His Fiction and A World Elsewhere: The Image of Orissa in Odia Autobiographies.
Nayak is a member of the advisory board of Dhaka Translation Centre and the English Advisory Board, Sahitya Akademi. He has been editing marg ASIA, the journal of Centre for Asian Studies, Bhubaneswar since 2013.
A former Chemistry Student at IIT Bombay, Kavish Seth is an independent singer, songwriter and poet, who primarily writes in Hindustani. He has conceptualized and crafted a new instrument called ‘Noori,’ which enables contemporary musical expression, while maintaining a connection with the rich legacy of Indian string instruments. Kavish has also created a musical project called ‘Zubaan’. Here, independent artists from different musical, linguistic scenes come together, collaborate and perform across the mainland. ‘BoltiDeewarein’ is yet another of his projects, where he makes the venue his mindspace by writing all over it,” and performing there. He has also ventured into interlingual poetry by writing in Russian and English.
Kota Neelima is an author and researcher, who writes on farmer suicides, gender and the rural poor. She has a Doctorate in Political Science from the University of Delhi and a Master’s degree in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi. Neelima was Senior Research Fellow, South Asia Studies at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC. She has been also a journalist for over 23 years, and was Political Editor for The Sunday Guardian newspaper.
Neelima’s new book, Widows of Vidarbha, Making of Shadows, presents the life of the widows of farmer suicides due to agricultural distress. The narratives of farm widows reveal their invisibility to the state, the community, and even to their own families, and their constant surrender to the rules of patriarchy. Between the ages of 26 and 63, the lives of these widows were followed for three years to record how they survived without hope, and what impact it had on their children. Neelima’s earlier books fictionalised the narratives of rural poor and discussed facets of the crisis in Indian villages. Riverstones explored the deliberate neglect of farmer suicides, while Death of Moneylender revealed the role moneylenders play in a farmer’s life. Shoes of the Dead was a chronicle of rural anger and The Honest Season questioned the principles of Indian democracy.
Neelima is also an artist and her works are part of collections in India and aboard, including the Museum of Sacred Art, Belgium. More details at www.kotaneelima.com
After passing out from Rai University, Ahmedabad, Manish Kishore worked for several news channels in the capital before landing up in Mumbai, where he worked as a creative in television shows like Indian Idol, Kaun Banega Crorepati, Raaz Pichle Janamka, X Factor, Ye hai Aashiqui, Shaitan, Aamna Saamna and Crime Patrol across all the top entertainment channels. He also travelled to Pakistan as a creative supervisor of singing reality show Pakistan Idol.
As a writer, he has worked for TV shows like CID, Crime Patrol and Police Files and has written films for Insite India. He is the writer and co-producer of the upcoming Hindi thriller, Kaashi in Search of Ganga.
Manjima Bhattacharjya is a researcher, writer and activist. She has been part of the Indian women’s movement for over two decades. She holds a PhD in sociology. Her areas of specialization include gender and sexuality, and labour and the body.
Her first book, an edited volume Sarpanch Sahib was long-listed for the Crossword Best Non-Fiction Book of 2009. She has written for several publications including The Times of India, ELLE and Info-change India. She lives and works out of Mumbai.
Manjima’s newest book is Mannequin: Working Women in India’s Glamour Industry. It was published by Zubaan Books in June 2018.
Neyaz Farooquee is a journalist based in Delhi. He works with the editorial and opinion section of The Hindustan Times. He was a fellow at the New India Foundation and a non-fiction fellow at Sarai-CSDS, and has contributed to The New York Times and Al Jazeera. An Ordinary Man’s Guide to Radicalism is his first book. It’s a memoir of being a Muslim in India, in which he talks about his growing up years in his village in Bihar and then, at the age of 10, of migrating to New Delhi and living alone in a ghetto. Through his personal stories, the author deals extensively with the fear and uncertainty that religious minorities face when the State and media treats them as the “Other”.
Piyush Roy is an Indian critic, columnist, curator and film scholar. Former editor of Stardust and StarWeek, he has worked at and written for India’s leading publications. Teaching Indian cinema at UK universities and Indian media schools for over a decade, he completed his doctoral thesis on The Aesthetics of Emotional Acting from the University of Edinburgh, UK (2017). Author of two works of fiction, Never Say Never Again and Alexander – An Epic Love Story, his forthcoming projects are the non-fiction Bollywood FAQ and a documentary Pleasures Prejudice & Pride: An Indian Way of Filmmaking.
Honoured with ‘Special Mention’ for Best Critic at the 60th Indian National Film Awards (2013) by the President of India, he’s a recipient of Sir William Darling Memorial Prize (UK, 2014). He’s been on the jury of Bollywood Power Brands Awards, a judge on Star TV Writers Program 2017, and is the Founder-Festival Director of the Edinburgh Festival of Indian Films & Documentaries. Currently, he is Associate Professor in Liberal Studies at Jain University, Bengaluru.
Author of various monographs, books and eloquent scholarly works, Rakesh Sinha was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the President of India in 2018. His seminal work Builders of modern India: Dr KB Hedgewar, published in 2003, has made fundamental contribution to our understanding of the RSS. Sinha’s well-researched counter-narrative on the Sachar Committee report compiled in his work, titled Roti, Rajya aur Rozgar ka Sampradayikaran, has uncovered the lacunas in it and earned him laurels in the political treatise. His work Decolonization of Indian minds has started new discourse among academicians on resurrecting pride in our own values and ethos. An upcoming collection of articles, RSS in intellectual discourse: Contesting prejudices, myths and coercions will unfurl a plethora of facts to demolish the false perception built around the RSS. For his exemplary academic record, Sinha has many awards to his credit, including the Prof CJ Chako Award for Gold Medal in MA, the BC Pal Award for nationalistic writing and the Pt Deen Dayal Upadhaya Award. The author is an alumnus of Hindu College and earned his doctorate in CPI(M): Its organizational and ideological transformation since its inception in 1964 to 2007. He is an academician in Delhi University and Honorary Director of the India Policy Foundation.
One of India’s most famous cartoonists and journalists, Ravi Shankar Etteth published his first book of short stories The Scream of the Dragonflies in 1996. He then went on to write five novels, The Tiger by The River, The Village of Widows, The Gold of Their Regrets, The Book of Shiva and The Brahmin. They have been translated and published in eight international languages. The books cut across genres like literary fiction, horror, crime and spirituality and periods like feudal Kerala, Nazi Germany and the Magadha Empire.
Ravi Shankar has also collaborated with artist Paresh Maity on a coffee-table book on Kerala. He is now working on his sixth novel, Killing Time in Delhi, which he says is “a novel on the shenanigans of Delhi’s super rich”. A Bollywood film on The Brahmin is also in the works.
Ravi Shankar worked for Indian Express in the 1980s, and later was Creative Director of the Observer Group. He joined India Today as Art Editor and went on to become its Managing Editor and, later, Editor-at-Large. He was briefly CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Voice of India and Millionaire. He is now Consulting Editor with The New Indian Express and is based in New Delhi.
Salman Khurshid is an eminent politician, designated senior advocate, author and a law teacher. He started his political career in 1981 as an officer on Special Duty in the Prime Minister’s Office under Indira Gandhi, and went on to hold various portfolios in the Union Cabinet. Khurshid has been writing and acting in plays since his student days in Delhi and Oxford. He is the author of the play Sons of Babur, which has been staged at the Red Fort in Delhi.
His latest offering is At Home in India: The Muslim Saga. It is a comprehensive and forceful book that highlights the fact that Muslims feel at home in India and provides rare insights into their thought processes, aspirations and problems. His book, Beyond Terrorism: New Hope for Kashmir is a poignant tale that has received many rave reviews. A number of educational and non-educational institutions have been opened across India as part of Khurshid’s ongoing welfare efforts. This includes a number of Industrial Training Institutes opened exclusively for women and special computer centres that also offer Urdu typing classes.
The talented 39-year-old Sharman Joshi has worked in and directed several productions in English, Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati theatre, but is most widely known for his work in Hindi films. In 1996, the now defunct Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited (ABCL) held an all-India search for acting talent. It was called Star Track. Sharman was one of the nine persons selected out of millions of entrants. ABCL disappeared soon after, but Joshi stayed the course.
He made his acting debut in Godmother in 1999, and appeared as a co-lead actor in the Hindi film Style two years later. This was followed by memorable roles in hit films such as Rang De Basanti, Golmaal, Life in a... Metro, Ferrari Ki Sawaari, Hate Story 3 and 1920 London, but it is his portrayal ofthe character ofRaju Rastogi in the movie 3 Idiots that audiences remember and love the most.He is now playing the lead role in the upcoming Hindi suspense thriller Kaashi in Search of Ganga.
Soumya Ranjan Patnaik is a politician and media moghul, founder of Eastern Media Limited, the largest media conglomerate comprising leading Odia daily newspaper Sambad, TV channel Kanak, digital media & radio, movie production house as well as Jatra (folk opera) troupes in Odisha. The RajyaSabha MP is a gold medalist from Benaras Hindu University and alumnus of illustrious institutions like Ravenshaw University, Oxford University and London School of Economics. He left his career in academics to become a journalist and started Sambad in 1984. It was Odisha’s first morning vernacular newspaper and has been a trendsetter in Odia journalism since.
Patnaik’s vision and commitment to Odisha’s development and social welfare led him into politics. He had trysts with major national parties including the Congress, BJP and NCP, and even formed his own regional party Ama Odisha Party before joining BJD in 2018. With a penchant for social service, he formed the Ama Odisha organisation for promotion of Odia language. He was also founder chairman of the Odisha Assembly of Small and Medium Enterprises.
A sharp and incisive writer, Patnaik has authored Ama Gharara Halchal, a collection of writings on contemporary issues. His writings have won him praise from all quarters.
Subhashish Panigrahi has spearheaded a movement to create an Internet-based open ecosystem for developing and preserving lesser-known marginalised languages of the country. A community manager having worked with Wikimedia Foundation, Mozilla, and Internet Society, he is also a documentary filmmaker.
Subhashish has founded OpenSpeaks, a project that helps communities to digitally document marginalized languages. He has also co-founded the O Foundation, a Bhubaneswar-based organisation that is working in the intersection of under-represented people, languages and cultures. He has led teams to document several lesser-spoken and fading languages of Odisha and the all but extinct Kusunda, a language of Nepal that was spoken by only one person.
He was instrumental in reviving the Odia language Wikipedia which has become the largest online Odiaencyclopedia with over 14,000 articles. He has mentored and developed many new Odia input tools, which are now used by online users to type in Odia. He has authored Rising Voices: Indigenous Language Digital Activism.
Sujit Mahapatra heads Bakul Foundation, which he founded. Bakul is a movement for volunteerism and channelises this primarily for the promotion of reading. One of the foundation’s first initiatives was to bring together 1,000 people to set up a children’s library in Odisha. This library now has a collection of over 20,000 books, including some very interesting and engaging educational resources for children, and runs entirely with individual contributions and without any funding or user surcharge.
Sujit studied English Literature at Utkal, Hyderabad and Delhi Universities. His research interests are in the fields of Environmentalism and Children’s Literature. He is currently working on a book on the cultural construction of the tropical jungle. He taught English literature at Ravenshaw University, and has been a consultant to UNICEF and the Government of Odisha on reading promotion. He was a Member, Drafting Committee of Odisha State Youth Policy and is a Member of several State level Committees. Sujit is a popular speaker on social entrepreneurship and has been invited to speak at prestigious fora such as TEDx, the IIMs, XLRI, XIMB and BITS Pilani. For his work with Bakul, Sujit was chosen to represent India on Volunteerism at the International Visitor Leadership Program 2010 by the US Department of State.