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Pavan K Varma
Articles by Pavan K Varma

Gulzar: A seeker in the shrine of poetry

The reason is that Gulzar is, at his core, a poet, and by extension, a writer and film-maker. Writing — and reading good writing — has been his passion since he was a child

Gulzar the poet came into his own in his writings outside of films, and this is where his eternal literary legacy will lie (PTI Photo)
Updated on Feb 25, 2024 02:07 PM IST

Just Like That | Raja Ram Mohan Roy and his many contradictions

The 19th C. Hindu reformist and religious scholar sought to abolish Sati and rid society of fanatic orthodoxy. British colonialism would enlighten us, he felt

Raja Ram Mohan Roy, painted by Rembrandt Peale in 1833. (Wiki Commons)
Published on Feb 24, 2024 04:06 PM IST

Just Like That | Temple architecture is a spiritual journey

Hindu temple architecture mirrors the human form; from the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum, it leads away from the material world to commune with the divine

These days the prana pratishtha of the Ram temple in Ayodhya is much in the news. The designing of a temple is part of this matrix of aesthetic inter-connectedness and, as per rules, follows a certain pattern(ANI)
Published on Feb 18, 2024 07:50 AM IST

Just Like That | A poet caught in a whirlpool of politics

Shrikant Verma was a great Hindi poet, one of the pioneers of new Hindi kavya, and a powerful politician

Poet Shrikant Verma (HT Photo)
Published on Feb 11, 2024 08:00 AM IST

Goings on at the latest edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival

Associated with the behemoth lit fest since its inception, author Pavan K Varma tells us about this edition's book releases and idea exchanges

Famed lyricist Gulzar at the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) last week. The HT columnist was on a panel with Gulzar at the festival.(ANI)
Published on Feb 04, 2024 12:25 PM IST

Just Like That | In a sea of a billion people, a pandemic of loneliness sets in

Loneliness is a negative state of mind, solitude is a positive desire. The first is a problem that needs greater attention, the second is increasingly elusive

A detail of Sudhir Patwardhan's Bylanes Saga, a 2007 acrylic painting that shows the artist's preoccupation with the interior lives of the denizens of a teeming, crowded city (The Guild Art Gallery)
Published on Jan 28, 2024 12:36 PM IST

The contrast of Lord Ram and Lord Krishna: Uncovering the complexity of Hinduism

The choice to portray deities with varying attributes reflects Hinduism's nature. The incarnations represent both stability and playful divine energy

Ram temple in Ayodhya has been decked up for Pran Pratishtha ceremony on Jan 22. (Sourced)
Published on Jan 21, 2024 08:00 AM IST

Murli Manohar Joshi at 90: The storied journey of a politician

Dr Murli Manohar Joshi is the kind of political leader — rare to find these days — with whom one can talk on a range of issues apart from politics.

Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi.(Hindustan Times)
Published on Jan 13, 2024 11:20 PM IST

Just Like That | What the Khan trio tells us about our country and culture

The superstar status of all three Khans — Aamir, Shahrukh and Salman — remains unchanged to this day. In their popularity we see the true nature of us Indians

All three superstars, Shahrukh, Salman and Aamir Khan, were born in 1965. (HT Photo)
Published on Jan 07, 2024 02:56 PM IST

A philosophical musing on our lives as Earth completes yet another revolution

If cosmology tells us that the universe could be infinite, or certainly as close to infinity as can be imagined, what is the significance of our New Year?

People watch the New Year's fireworks display over Toronto's inner harbor just after midnight, on Monday, Jan. 1, 2024, in Toronto. (Arlyn McAdorey/The Canadian Press via AP)(AP)
Published on Jan 01, 2024 11:50 AM IST

Just Like That | The thousand tongues that bind us

In a land with 122 major languages, over 1500 dialects, and six classical languages, to assert one's dominance over the rest is a futile exercise

A cloud of some of the Indian languages with scripts(Wiki Commons)
Updated on Dec 23, 2023 02:37 PM IST

Just Like That | Pranab Mukherjee: Up and close, and candid

Former President Pranab Mukherjee's daughter releases a book revealing Pranab's opinions of Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi

Pranab Mukherjee.(REUTERS)
Published on Dec 17, 2023 08:00 AM IST

Just Like That | Legacy of the rebellious women saints of the Bhakti movement

From Lal Ded in Kashmir to Andal in Tamil Nadu, female devotees challenged gender orthodoxies through poetry and devotion

Mira Bai was born in 1498 CE, the daughter of a nobleman of the house of Mewar.(Wikimedia Commons)
Updated on Dec 11, 2023 10:48 AM IST

Just Like That | Chanakya's enduring lessons for India

Unearthed in 1905 after centuries of obscurity, Chanakya's Arthashastra stands as one of the world's most insightful treatises on statecraft

Chanakya, also known as Kautilya, lived in the fourth century BCE(HT File)
Published on Dec 03, 2023 09:00 AM IST

Just Like That | Plumb the philosophical depths of Mahabharata

A dialogue between Yudhishthira and the mysterious Yaksha in the epic's Yaksha Prashna explores timeless questions on life, death, happiness, and duty

The Mahabharata (circa 3rd century BCE) is the biggest epic and the longest poem in the world.
Published on Nov 26, 2023 09:00 AM IST

Just Like That | The purity of a sarodiya legacy

Amjad Ali Khan's story is an unstoppable journey to the summit of our great musical heritage

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan
Published on Nov 18, 2023 10:54 PM IST

JUST LIKE THAT | Indians and their proclivity for data

A receptivity to interconnectedness comes naturally to us. Philosophy teaches us that even at the smallest atom, matter is part of an indivisible whole

The pandas of Rishikesh and Haridwar maintain what could arguably be the most extensive corpus of genealogies anywhere in the world. (PTI)
Published on Nov 12, 2023 09:16 AM IST

Just Like That | Exploring India's mathematical legacy in ancient civilisations

Is there a profound connection between scholars like Aryabhata and Brahmagupta and our contemporary aptitude for logic and mathematics?

Scholars of ancient India attest to Indians' prowess of mathematics. One scholar described it as an
Updated on Nov 05, 2023 04:32 PM IST

Just Like That | From Lakshmi to Chanakya: Behind the Indian CEO success story

The remarkable rise of over three dozen Indian-origin CEOs in top global corporate industries prompts questions about the underlying reasons for their success

From Sundar Pichai heading Google, to Laxman Narasimhan helming Starbucks to many others, Indians are now in charge of over one trillion American dollars of business(Reuters file photo)
Published on Oct 29, 2023 09:00 AM IST

Just Like That | Rethinking tradition vs modernity debate

Madan Mohan Malviya was a stalwart in the Congress who had the courage of conviction to take a radically different stand.

Madan Mohan Malviya(HT archive)
Published on Oct 22, 2023 10:11 AM IST

Just Like That | Remembering the last Mughal Emperor's indelible cultural impact

Bahadur Shah Zafar left an indelible mark on Delhi's cultural landscape, from poetic soirees at the Red Fort to his patronage of the arts and love for gardens.

Although history was against Bahadur Shah Zafar, he was perhaps the best example of the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb. (Wiki Commons)
Published on Oct 15, 2023 09:11 AM IST

Suspected Poems: Gulzar Saheb's powerful political critique through poetry

Gulzar Saheb's 'Suspected Poems' are a powerful blend of tanz, sarcasm, and irony on politics.

Being a poet, Gulzar saheb gives voice to his critique or his disapproval through poetry, which is full of understated tanz, sarcasm and irony.(HT Photo)
Published on Oct 07, 2023 07:06 PM IST

Just Like That | Waheeda Rehman: The storied life and legacy of an acting legend

The intriguing and lesser-known stories in the life of Waheeda Rehman, an actor par excellence

At 85, Waheeda has lost none of her verve
Published on Sep 30, 2023 05:07 PM IST

Just Like That | Poet and statesman, unstained by politics

Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee was, indeed, a statesman who was also a great human being, far above the coarseness of politics.

Atalji’s sense of humour was legendary
Published on Sep 27, 2023 01:11 AM IST

Just Like That | Adi Shankaracharya and lessons from the apocryphal Great Debate

The Great Debate between Adi Shankaracharya and Mandana Misra is a pivotal event and challenged Shankaracharya's celibate lifestyle with questions on eroticism

Adi Shankaracharya was a believer in the jnana marga, the path of knowledge to salvation(HT photo/Raajiv Kala)
Published on Sep 18, 2023 03:15 PM IST

Just Like That | Lord Krishna's enduring presence in life and culture

Janamashtmi, the birth of Lord Krishna, is celebrated with devotion across India. Krishna's multifaceted legacy lives on in Hindu daily life.

The continuing impact of Krishna on the arts is phenomenal. (Representative Image - HT File)
Updated on Sep 11, 2023 08:27 AM IST

Just Like That | Journeys through the vanishing havelis of Old Delhi

Reflections on the exploration of Shahjahanabad, the old walled city of Delhi, and its decaying havelis, which once rivaled European capitals in grandeur

Inside Golden Haveli at Chandni Chowk, New Delhi. (Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)
Published on Sep 02, 2023 06:24 PM IST

Just Like That | Colourful vignettes from a diplomat’s life

Remembering Jyotindra Nath ‘Mani’ Dixit, former national security adviser, who was known for his humour and competence

Jyotindra Nath ‘Mani’ Dixit wrote several significant books on international relations.(HT Archive)
Updated on Aug 26, 2023 10:22 PM IST

Just Like That | Bollywood's new take on gender equality packs a punch

Rocky aur Rani kii Prem Kahani, which holds solid entertainment value with a strong message of gender equality, gives audiences a reason to go back to theatres

Alia Bhatt and Ranveer Singh with Karan Johar during a press conference of Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani. (PTI Photo)(PTI)
Published on Aug 20, 2023 12:46 AM IST

Just Like That | Unpacking essence of melody, beat, lyrics in Hindi film songs

Hindi film songs are a cultural phenomenon. One needs only to see the soulful classical influences on toe-tapping beats to understand it

Thank God, as far as lyrics go, we still have giants like Gulzar and Javed Akhtar among us(HT File)
Published on Aug 13, 2023 02:39 PM IST
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