Dec 14, 2013
14:19 (IST)
Session 4 highlights:

Anish Kapoor

It is not "Indianness" that defines what we do as artists
I see that as a problematic stigma
We need to allow the creative to emerge, rather than it relate it to the background

Zubin Mehta

My Indian part doesn't enter my spirituality on stage
Disgrace that there is no concert hall in Delhi
For Indian music

Anish Kapoor

We are institutionally poor when it comes to visual arts

Vikram Seth

We (artists) are happy to be claimed as long as it isn't a constraint
Not happy to be disclaimed, like MF Hussain
Art is a very private thing
If you're claimed by people who are moved by your art, that's the essence of art


I am not in favour of nationality-based art

Homi Bhabha

If you want soft-power, then you have to have the infrastructure for it
Need proper humanities and liberal arts education

Dec 14, 2013
14:18 (IST)
AAP ki khatir: Dr Prannoy Roy welcomes Prashant Bhushan

Dec 14, 2013
14:12 (IST)
A Vikram Seth-ism: I'm wondering whether Indian classical music would have survived after 1947 after patronage disappeared if it had not been for All India Radio and the Indian tobacco companies which put things in our lungs but at least ensured that what came out of Kumar Gandharva's lungs was heard.

Dec 14, 2013
14:08 (IST)
Zubin Mehta: I've heard so much criticism in the last 45 minutes I'd like to say something positive. This country has an infinite number of people who are so talented, people who cannot read and write but produce crafts that are admired all over the world. I am very grateful for that.
Dec 14, 2013
14:06 (IST)

From the audience, Prithvi Theatre's Sanjana Kapoor gets a round of applause with: I think of all artists, theatre-wallahs are the lowest of the low. But we need to demand that systems also work for us. What is our reality is the massive organization of India and claiming our place in it. We have to demand it. We need the media to support us. Where are they supporting us? We need to be on TV and all sorts of media a huge amount more.

Dec 14, 2013
13:59 (IST)
Artist Subodh Gupta, famous for his installations using everyday utensils, delivers a damning verdict from the audience: This country really sucks in terms of art. This country destroys, doesn't make art.
Dec 14, 2013
13:56 (IST)
Zubin Mehta: I have grown up in America and in Europe. In Europe, till recently government supported culture. In America, government has never supported culture but gives you the opportunity to deduct donations made by individuals from taxes.
Dec 14, 2013
13:53 (IST)
Homi K Bhabha: Need proper liberal arts and humanities education globally
Dec 14, 2013
13:52 (IST)
Anjolie Ela Menon: The real minority in India are not the Muslims or the Christians but the artists. The greatest gift that the republic gave artists is the freedom of expression. The strictures on M F Husain did not come from the government but from religious extremists. There was a wonderful Supreme Court judgment that exonerated him of any blame but the State failed to bring him back by not offering him enough protection.

Dec 14, 2013
13:48 (IST)
Behind-the-scenes: Dr Prannoy Roy's close encounter with cinema's golden girl Waheeda Rehman

Dec 14, 2013
13:47 (IST)
"It's the city that matters," says Homi K Bhabha, "Bombay was a deeply cosmopolitan place and has carried me and my work all through."

Dec 14, 2013
13:43 (IST)
Dayanita Singh: I'm not completely in favour of nationality-based art and have always seen it as a burden.

Dec 14, 2013
13:42 (IST)
Vikram Seth: It's no good writing 'A Suitable Boy' if it is not believed by people who lived in 1950s India. And then, if it has any merit at all, it becomes universal.
Dec 14, 2013
13:40 (IST)
Vikram Seth: We as Indians are happy to be claimed but not happy to be disclaimed. M F Husain was not able to rest his dying head in his own homeland. That was a shame.

The audience agrees, and claps.
Dec 14, 2013
13:36 (IST)
Off-stage: Vikram Seth's 'what-me-worry?' face

Dec 14, 2013
13:34 (IST)
Zubin  Mehta: Hamara dil toh Hindustan ka hai. Unfortunately, the music I interpret has been written by Europeans and there's little Indianness I can inject into it apart from the yoga that helps me do breathing exercises.

Another big cheer. Mr Mehta has so far got the most claps of the day, more even than Suhel Seth and Shekhar Gupta combined.

Dec 14, 2013
13:30 (IST)
Anish Kapoor: As a young artist, didn't like my work being labelled Indian. I fought against it hard because I don't think that being viewed as from an exotic background helps the creative process.

Dec 14, 2013
13:26 (IST)

This is clearly the most popular panel. Every panelist gets a rousing cheer and a big hand. Zubin Mehta gets the most claps when he says he's Calcutta-born and not a Bombay boy.

Dec 14, 2013
13:20 (IST)
Ahead of the session, Vikram Seth chats off-stage with Zubin Mehta and Y K Hamied.
Dec 14, 2013
13:02 (IST)
In just a few minutes, author Vikram Seth, sculptor Anish Kapoor, conductor Zubin Mehta, photographer Dayanita Singh and Harvard University's Homi K Bhabha discuss art, music, culture and how to harness India's soft power as a globally strategic asset.
Dec 14, 2013
12:52 (IST)
Session 3 highlights:

Amartya Sen

Our institutions are as safe as we make them to be
There is no point in blaming the institution
India continues to have some people who are privileged and some who are not, that worries me
Criminalisation of homosexuality violation of protection of minority rights

Arun Shourie

The word 'Secularism' has been prostituted
It is not just that every religion will be tolerated, but that they will be respected

Fali Nariman

Not very charmed with the word 'secular democracy', more by 'tolerant democracy'

Y K Hamied

Essence of India depends on a healthy India
Health in India is a permanent crisis
If anybody is in healthcare, it has two dimensions: business and humanitarian

Amartya Sen

Secularism and democracy are important to me
Democracy has never been defined as majority rule
Democracy is governance by discussion

Narayana Murthy

Every Indian has to be enthusiastic about the future
Government, state and religion must be separate

Y K Hamied

Cornerstone of the essence of India is education
Dec 14, 2013
12:48 (IST)
Is the essence of India contained in our ability to argue and ask questions without fear or favour? Amartya Sen thinks so.

On that note, this session is a wrap.

Dec 14, 2013
12:46 (IST)
Politician and columnist Sudheendra Kulkarni's question to the panel: The essence of India should be discussed in the context of ageless India, not India since 1947. At what age did Muslims in India become a minority? Why are we not able to go beyond this 'minority-isation' of our communities?

Dec 14, 2013
12:43 (IST)
Professor Nandy's denouncing of education as bogus finds a supporter.

Anjolie Ela Menon declares herself "the devil's advocate" and agrees with Professor Nandy: If you have education without even the glimmer of a hope of job at the end of it then you are sitting on a time bomb.

Dec 14, 2013
12:40 (IST)
Not everyone agrees with Zubin Mehta's focus on education.

Professor Ashis Nandy says: I am a greater admirer of Zubin Mehta than he is of India (another laugh from the audience). But I find his emphasis on education 'bogus'.

Dec 14, 2013
12:38 (IST)
N R Narayana Murthy: "I would like to transcend the question and answer the earlier question asked."

That gets a laugh from the audience. OK then, Mr Narayana Murthy sir.

He answers the earlier question with this: What should be the economism we follow? We need compassionate capitalism.

Dec 14, 2013
12:28 (IST)
Y K Hamied: Like Zubin, all of us are really proud to be Indian. We fly the flag all over the world. But it's what we do when we come back home that really matters.
Dec 14, 2013
12:25 (IST)
Zubin Mehta joins the conversation from the audience: I am one of the proudest Indians I know of.

He gets a rousing cheer and applause from everyone else.

Mr Mehta's question to the panelists: How are we going to convince the farmer to send his son and daughter to school? If every Indian can read and write and think in rational terms, then we will achieve greatness.

Dec 14, 2013
12:17 (IST)
If you are in healthcare, your main objective is saving lives, says Y K Hamied, Cipla chief and the man who made AIDS drugs available to poor people across the world, on why he surrenders profits.

The essence of India depends on the health of India, he adds.

Dec 14, 2013
12:17 (IST)
Fali Nariman, former Additional Solicitor General of India, says: I don't place great regard on the word democracy. Even North Korea, which just executed it's uncle, is a democratic republic.

Audience laughs

Mr Nariman goes on: And I'm not very charmed by the word secular. So I would like to see a tolerant democracy and I think we are becoming intolerant.

Dec 14, 2013
12:13 (IST)
Arun Shourie: Secularism is very different from pluralism. In India, we should shift to pluralism because secularism as a word has been so prostituted. Indian secularism consists of calling other people communal.

Dec 14, 2013
12:12 (IST)
N R Narayana Murthy: As long as we accept that we did something that was not right, as long as we show a sense of contrition, and move on.

Dec 14, 2013
12:09 (IST)

In the audience, conductor Zubin Mehta with wife Nancy. He will be joining Vikram Seth in the discussion on arts and culture

Dec 14, 2013
12:09 (IST)
Fali Nariman on Section 377: Everyone assumes that verdict of two judges represents the Supreme Court. Constitutional bench of at least five should handle important matters.
Dec 14, 2013
12:06 (IST)
Amartya Sen: Our institutions as safe as we make them to be. No point in blaming the institutions. India continues to have some people who are privileged and some who are not, that worries me. Criminalization of homosexuality is a violation of minority rights.

Dec 14, 2013
12:03 (IST)

Behind-the-scenes: Vikram Seth and NDTV's Sreenivasan Jain will be on stage later today discussing the arts and culture. Though Vikram Seth looks like he's begun holding forth already

Dec 14, 2013
11:59 (IST)
As the next guests prep, Vikram Seth shares a quick chat with his mother Justice Leila Seth
Dec 14, 2013
11:57 (IST)

Dec 14, 2013
11:53 (IST)
Coming up, NR Narayana Murthy, Ela Bhatt, Arun Shourie, YK Hamied, Amartya Sen and Fali Nariman discuss the essence of India, what makes it different and special.

Dec 14, 2013
11:52 (IST)

Highlights of Session 2:

Omar Abdullah

Facebook and Twitter reversed the flow of communication, we now listen
The aam janata is talking back to us
As of now, Internet seems to be skewed in a particular direction, but there are more and more voice of reason
More reasonable comment made available

Swapan Dasgupta

Subtlety doesn't work on social media. The nature of interaction is still imperfect
Newness of media has allowed a lot of people to vent their anger

Rajan Anandan

India is adding 3-4 million Internet users in a month
Large number of Indians are doing research about political parties and issues, and a small number of people voice their concerns
People are more informed, but very small number of them are being vocal

Prof Ashutosh Varshney

Rural part of India has not been penetrated by the Internet
It is not reaching the urban-poor; the situation may change in 5 or 10 years

Rajan Anandan

Every single day, there are millions of Indians outside our metro cities who connect to the Internet

Shekhar Gupta

I think we are presuming too much, all of us are victims of the net-delusion
We are worried about what response one will get on Twitter
If we are not being digitally savvy, it's a black mark on your CV these days
It's an instrument of democracy but also one of trouble
Because of the Internet, many scoundrels tried to out victims' identity (referring to the Tejpal case)
Anonymity brings out the worst in human beings
S there are issues we will have to deal with

Suhel Seth

Internet is a tool but certainly it won't strengthen democracy. It is being used as a tool of hatred and ridicule.
Electoral reforms will strengthen democracy
We are giving it far more importance than it deserves

Prof Ashutosh Varshney

In America, a lot of electoral funding is done via Internet
Internet can be used for campaign finance

Naina Lal Kidwai

Internet delivers our democratic rights, an important one

Prof Ashutosh Varshney

The moment you give certain discretionary powers to police or bureaucrats, there is an evitable tendency to exploit

Shekhar Gupta

Laws that apply to you in normal media, don't apply in Internet

Rajan Anandan

If content violates local law, it is taken down
We should evaluate the content

Rajan Anandan

30 per cent of Internet users in India are women

Omar Abdullah

With exposure to the wider world, comes greater aspiration
Pressure to deliver increases

Shekhar Gupta

Internet is a developing medium
The larger problem is where it becomes intrusive

Naina Lal Kidwai

There is a danger that we'll over-regulate to the point where we lose what is good

Prof Ashutosh Varshney

Internet will have to be regulated, how and by whom is the question

Rajan Anandan

It's an evolving medium
It's important for us to keep in mind the amazing things Internet can do for India
If you think about the core issues, Internet can be an enabler

Omar Abdullah

Don't think Internet can be regulated
Have to take the bad with the good
Dec 14, 2013
11:51 (IST)

In the audience, environmentalist Valmik Thapar and his actress wife Sanjana Kapoor, looking stunning in a red and beige ensemble

Dec 14, 2013
11:51 (IST)
Omar Abdullah: Nobody forces us to be on social media. If you are not comfortable, switch off.
Dec 14, 2013
11:50 (IST)
Rajan Anandan: It's very important to keep in mind the amazing things the Internet can do for India in its core issues like education and healthcare.
Dec 14, 2013
11:50 (IST)
Ashutosh Varshney: Internet has to be regulated. The question is how and by whom? Not sure there is an immediate solution.
Dec 14, 2013
11:49 (IST)
Suhel Seth: It's also about parenting. Cant shirk your responsibilities when it comes to the Internet.
Dec 14, 2013
11:49 (IST)
Naina Lal Kidwai: The issue here is how do you execute a law that disciplines the internet. There is also the danger of over-regulating
Dec 14, 2013
11:41 (IST)
Shekhar Gupta: The laws that apply elsewhere should apply to the Internet. Internet is a medium that is developing. Populations like in India which are used to arguments, anarchy and mutiny will respond in a certain way.

Shekhar adds a potshot at himself with a jibe about a 'bald head.' Laughs? Oh yes.

Dec 14, 2013
11:38 (IST)
Suhel Seth: Tourism is being helped greatly by the Internet. There are some good things that are happening.
Dec 14, 2013
11:36 (IST)
Naina Lal Kidwai: The government needs to ensure that women and girls are made Internet savvy for their own safety
Dec 14, 2013
11:34 (IST)
Nalini Singh asks Rajan Anandan if he knows what proportion of India's Internet users are women. Is the female voting mind being driven by something other than the Internet?

Rajan says 60 million out of 250 million users are women, making India one of the lowest ranking countries in the online gender divide.

Session 1 (10:00 - 10:45 am)
Topic:Innovation, Science & Technology: How can software, technology and science help solve many of India's key problems?
Panelists:Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, CNR Rao & MS Swaminathan
Moderator:Dr Prannoy Roy
Session 2 (11:00 - 11:45 am)
Topic:The Internet: How can it strengthen democracy?
Panelists:Suhel Seth, Omar Abdullah, Naina Lal Kidwai, Rajan Anandan, Shekhar Gupta, Swapan Dasgupta & Ashutosh Varshney
Moderator:Vikram Chandra
Session 3 (12:00 - 12:45 pm)
Topic:The Essence of India : What makes India different and special and how do we protect the essence of India?
Panelists:NR Narayana Murthy, Ela Bhatt, Arun Shourie, YK Hamied, Amartya Sen & Fali S Nariman
Moderator:Barkha Dutt
Session 4 (1:15 - 2:00 pm)
Topic:Art, Music & Culture: How do we harness India's soft power as a globally strategic asset?
Panelists:Vikram Seth, Anish Kapoor, Zubin Mehta, Dayanita Singh & Homi K Bhabha
Moderator:Sreenivasan Jain
Session 5 (2:15 - 3:00 pm)
Topic:Governance: Towards cleaner politics in India
Panelists:Piyush Goyal, Derek O'Brien, Manish Tewari & Prashant Bhushan
Moderator:Nidhi Razdan
Session 6 (3:15 - 4:00 pm)
Topic:Desi Cinema goes Global: How can India leverage the considerable global impact of Indian Cinema?
Panelists:Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, A R Rahman & Waheeda Rehman
Moderator:Sonia Singh