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Book contributors

Dr. Karan Singh

Dr. Karan Singh, an eminent scholar, philosopher, and visionary, is President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and a member of the Congress Party in the Rajya Sabha- India’s Upper House of Parliament. Son of the last ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, he was titled Sadr-i-Riyasat and later served as the Governor of the State and as Indian Ambassador to the US. As a minister in the Union Cabinet he has headed the Ministries of Tourism and Civil Aviation, then Health and Family Planning and later the Ministry of Education and Culture. Honoured with Padma Vibhushan in 2005, Dr Karan Singh has penned essays and authored several books on Hinduism, Vedanta, Jammu & Kashmir, and an autobiography amongst others. He is the Chancellor of the Banaras Hindu University and India’s delegate to the UNESCO Governing Board.

Dr. Annapurna Garimella

Dr. Annapurna Garimella is a Bangalore-based designer and art historian. She heads Jackfruit, an organization working in projects for artists, museums, government and private institutions and NGOs. She is the Managing Trustee of Art, Resources and Teaching Trust, a not-for-profit organization that runs a public art library, independent research projects and guides college and university students and the general public.

Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik

Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik is a self-taught mythologist based in Mumbai.Trained as a medical doctor, he worked in healthcare for 15 years before turning full time to his passion and authoring 25 books, and 400 articles on relevance of mythology in modern times. He consults Star TV and Epic TV on storytelling and is advisor to the shows Devon ke Dev Mahadev as well as Mahabharat. His radical yet accessible views on leadership, management,and governance on TV shows like Shaastrath and Business Sutra on CNBC have made him a popular speaker in corporates and business schools.

Dr. George Michell

Dr. George Michell trained as an architect in Melbourne and then went on to study Indian archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London where he is currently based when not travelling. He has worked on many research projects in India, over the last 20 years documenting the ruins of the great medieval Hindu city of Hampi Vijayanagara and written and lectured extensively on the subject. He spends his time between London and Goa.

Dr. Desmond Lazaro

Dr. Desmond Lazaro is a British born painter, currently based in Pondicherry. Following study for a Master’s degree in art from MSU Baroda, Desmond learnt miniature-painting techniques, under the guidance of Jaipur Master Banu Ved Pal Sharma and did his PHD thesis on the Pichvai painting. He has been researching on traditional Indian painting techniques, the pigments, papers and cloth that he uses for his own creative work. Desmond’s work has been exhibited extensively in India, the UK, and Germany amongst others. Author of “Methods, Materials and Symbolism in the Pichhvai Painting Tradition of Rajasthan”, published by Mapin, he lectures on the subject internationally.

Kenneth R. Valpe

Kenneth R Valpey Prof of theology at Bhaktivedanta College Durbuy and Chinese University of Hong Kong, is a permanent research fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (Oxford, U.K.). He specializes in the theology and practices of iconology in South Asian religious traditions and has taught courses on the subject at the University of Florida, Gainesville,amongst others. Author of Attending Kṛṣṇa’s Image: Caitanya Vaiṣṇava Mūrti-sevā as Devotional Truth (Routledge 2006, and Recensia Press 2013), he is currently working on a ‘companion’ to the Bhagavata Purana, and on a translation of a 16th-century Sanskrit Vaisnava ritual texts jointly with other experts.

Jaya Jaitly

Jaya Jaitly founder of Dastkari Haat Samiti is credited with evolving innovative strategies including the idea of Dilli Haat, a marketplace that helps artisans earn their sustenance and preserve country’s cultural heritage. She has undertaken projects to help Indian craftspeople improve their designs and network with their counterparts from Pakistan, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, South Asia and Africa. Formerly Samata Party’s national president, she continues to engage with socio- political issues such as women’s empowerment, and human rights, though restricting her public work to craft sector and writing. Author of Crafts of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, Craft Traditions of India, Viswakarma’s Children, Crafting Nature, Crafts Atlas of India and Akshara – based on a an exhibition that combined literacy, craft and calligraphy. She has also written stories for children and created a documentation of the arts, crafts and textiles of India.

Prof. Mushirul Hasan Guha

Professor Mushirul Hasan is a Padma Shri Awardee. A Cambridge graduate, he was Director General, National Archives of India (2010- 2013); Vice-Chancellor (2004- 2009) and earlier Pro-Vice-Chancellor (1992-1996) of Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi. He has been a Visiting Professor at several universities in Europe and North America and has authored books spanning a wide range of subjects including India’s partition, the country’s contemporary history, the plurality and syncretism of Indian social life, and the multiple Islamic traditions in South Asia. Prof Hasan has been felicitated with the highest French civilian award, the ‘Officer dans l’Orle the Palmes Academique’. His most recent publication is “Faith and Freedom: Gandhi in History”. Some of his earlier works are Wit and Wisdom: Picking from the Parsee Punch (2012); Between Modernity and Nationalism: Halide Edip’s Encounter with Gandhi’s India (2010); Moderate or Militant? Images of India’s Muslims (2008)- translated into Arabic; Wit and Humour in Colonial North India (2007).

Madhu Khanna

Madhu Khanna, Professor of Indic Religion, is a well-known scholar of Hindu Tantra. At present she is Bina and Haridas Choudhury distinguished fellow (2013-14)  in Asian and Comparative Studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, USA. Until recently, she was the Director of the Centre for the Study of Comparative Religions and Civilizations, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, where she now teaches courses in Hinduism, and cross-cultural studies in the areas of Religion & Gender and Religion & Ecology. She earned her PhD from Oxford University in Hindu Sakta Tantra. She has authored / edited seven books which include: The Śrīcakra: History, Ritual and Symbol of Goddess Tripurasundarī (forthcoming); Śāktapramodaḥ of Deva Nandan Singh (editor); Religions After September 11, Proceedings of an International Seminar (co-editor); The Subtle Body – An Illuminated Tantric Scroll; Ṛta – The Cosmic Order, Proceedings of an International Seminar (editor); Yantra: The Tantric Symbol of Cosmic Unity, London 1989, The Tantric Way – Art, Science & Ritual (co-author) of which the last two have been translated into German, French, Italian and Dutch. She is the Founding Member and Chairperson of Tantra Foundation, New Delhi.

Steven J. Rosen

Steven J. Rosen is a biographer, scholar and author in the fields of philosophy, religion, spirituality and music. Co-editor of the ISKCON journal Back to Godhead, as well as founding editor of The Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Rosen has written some thirty books published in different languages and on a range of topics – including the volume in Greenwood Press’ The World Religions series on Hinduism, as well as The Yoga of Kirtan: Conversations on the Sacred Art of Chanting (Folk Books) and Krishna’s Other Song: A New Look at the Uddhava Gita (Praeger Greenwood), and books on animal rights. Arktos has published his book The Jedi in the Lotus: Star Wars and the Hindu Tradition that explores Hindu myths, history and metaphysics. He has also written Food for the Soul: Vegetarianism and Yoga Traditions (Westport, CT: Praeger Publishing); and The Agni and the Ecstasy: Collected Essays of Steven J. Rosen (England: Arktos). A disciple of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Rosen is also known as Satyaraja Dasa.

Martin Gurvich

Director of the Museum of Sacred Art MOSA in Belgium and of the Gurvich Museum in Uruguay, studied Political Science at Syracuse University in USA. He has travelled across several cities, countries and continents and is an active member of the Hare Krishna movement (ISKCON). Mahaprabhu dasa Martin Gurvich also represents the Hindu Forum of Belgium and Europe including ENORB and is a Member of the URI (a global interfaith organization). His passion for art comes from his lineage, as the son of renowned artist José Gurvich (1927-1974), who died young leaving behind an impressive art repertoire, some of which is housed in the museum at Montevideo named after him. Besides a major publication Living Traditions in Indian Art co-published with Mapin India in three different European languages, he has brought out artists’ catalogues to document work in the devotional genre.

Sushma K. Bahl

Sushma K Bahl Former Head, Arts & Culture, British Council India is an independent arts adviser, writer and curator of cultural projects. She led on the festivals of India in the UK and South Korea besides artists’ residencies, exhibitions and collaborative cultural projects in India and internationally. Sushma is the author of 5000 Years of Indian Art. She has also edited and written for catalogs and artists’ books including those on Thota Vaikuntam, Paresh Maity, Satish Gupta, Sarla Chandra, and Shuvaprasanna.