An Author’s Afternoon July 19, 2013, session, the ninth in the series, took off with renowned author and journalist Rahul Pandita at The Taj Bengal, Kolkata. This author’s critically acclaimed book Hello Bastar – The Untold Story of India’s Maoist Movement formed the focus of the interaction. His other eminent books include Our Moon has Blood Clots (based on eviction of Kashmiri Hindus) and Absent State co-authored with Neelesh Mishra.
Explaining his passion for revealing facts through stories about Maoists, Pandita shared with the audience a flashback of his disturbed childhood memories. How the socio political turmoil had compelled him to leave his birthplace as a teenager. The author was only 14 when Islamic extremists exiled his family from their ancestral land. In 1996-97 he started his career as a journalist. Rahul Pandita’s career graph included steemed publications like – The Hindu, Indian Express, TV Today. He made a mark with his reportage from the war zones of Iraq and Sri Lanka. Around 1998-99, while travelling through the hunger corridor Kalahandi-Borandi-Koraput of the then Odisha, Pandita came to know from an adivasi man that his son died of a disease called “hunger”.
Moved by the incident and to pour out his feelings and compassion, Pandita took to writing. As a journalist, he was the first Indian to have an interaction with Maoist supreme commander, Ganapathi. Pandita’s book Our Moon has Blood Clots was a best seller. He was also honoured by Red Cross Award for conflict reporting.
An Author’s Afternoon session, sponsored by Shree Cement Ltd, was organised by Prabha Khaitan Foundation in association with t2 and Siyahi.