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In this episode author Shoba Narayan discusses her new book- Food and Faith – A Pilgrim’s Journey Through India with poet and scholar Mani Rao.
What is the role of religion in your life today? Do you commune with the divine through rituals? Or is it a comforting routine, going to church or temple once a week or month? Are these questions making you uncomfortable? Do you think religion is a private act to be done in the confines of one’s home, with family, and not something to declare publicly? These are the questions this book seeks to answer. Shoba Narayan travels across some of the most prominent places of worship in India and presents to her readers the mythologies, histories and contemporary relevance of these sites.
This podcast is an edited extract from the session that was part of the Bangalore Literature Festival 2020.
Shoba Narayan is the author of four books and a columnist with Hindustan Times Brunch magazine. She writes about food, travel, fashion, art and culture for many national and international publications. She is the overseas correspondent for Radio New Zealand. She has taught at IIM-Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Science. Besides writing, she watches birds, quaffs wine, and enjoys gadgets. Her lifelong mission is to get fit without exercising and lose weight without dieting.
Mani Rao is a poet, translator and scholar with nine books of poetry including New & Selected Poems (Poetrywala) and two books in translation— Bhagavad Gita as a poem (Fingerprint), and Kalidasa for the 21st Century Reader (Aleph). Her latest book Living Mantra— Mantra, Deity and Visionary Experience Today (Palgrave Macmillan 2019) is an anthropology of mantra-experience among Hindu-tantric practitioners in Andhra-Telangana. Mani’s poems and essays are in or forthcoming in journals including Poetry Magazine, Wasafiri, Meanjin, Washington Square, Fulcrum, West CoastLine, Interim, Indian Literature, and in anthologies including W.W.Norton’s Language for a New Century, Penguin’s 60 Indian Poets, and the Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets. She has held writing residencies at Omi Ledig House (2018), Iowa IWP (2005 and 2009) and was the 2006 University of Iowa International Programs writer-in-residence. Mani has an MFA in Creative Writing from UNLV, and a PhD in Religious Studies from Duke University.