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Understanding racial relations between Indian and British

In July 1765, Robert Clive, in a letter to Sir Francis Sykes, compared Gomorrah favourably to Calcutta, then capital of British India. He wrote: "I will pronounce Calcutta to be one of the most wicked places in the Universe."

Drawing upon the letters, memoirs and journals of traders, travellers, bureaucrats, officials, officers and the occasional bishop, M.J. Akbar's 'Doolally Sahib And The Black Zamindar -- Racism and Revenge in the British Raj' (Bloomsbury) is a chronicle of racial relations between Indians and their last foreign invaders, sometimes infuriating but always compelling.

A multitude of vignettes, combined with insight and analysis, reveal the deeply ingrained conviction of 'white superiority' that shaped this history. How deep this conviction was is best illustrated by the fact that the British abandoned a large community of their own children because they were born of Indian mothers.

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Photo by Kerala Literature Festival/Twitter

The sixth edition of the Kerala Literature Festival (KLF 2022) will be held at the beaches of Calicut (Kozhikode) from January 20 to January 23.

The sixth edition of the Kerala Literature Festival (KLF 2022) will be held at the beaches of Calicut (Kozhikode) from January 20 to January 23.

Over 400 speakers including Jeffrey Archer, Ada Yonath, Abhijit Banerjee, Arundhati Roy, Remo Fernandes, Sagarika Ghose, Wendy Doniger, Shashi Tharoor, Manu S. Pillai, Devdutt Pattanaik, Chris Kraus and Sudhir Kakar among others will be part of the festival.

Organised by the DC Kizhakemuri Foundation, the event is supported by the Government of Kerala and Kerala Tourism Board. Well-known poet, critic, and writer Prof. K. Satchidanandan is the festive director of KLF 2022.

Set along the shores of the Arabian Sea, the four-day festival brings artists, actors, celebrities, writers, thinkers, and activists closer to people of different backgrounds and interests. With an aggregate footfall of more than 3 lakhs, KLF is the second largest festival of its kind in Asia, combining the best of literary and popular cultures.

The sessions at KLF aim to map literature through discussions on aspects of science & technology, art, cinema, politics, music, environment, literature, pandemic & its Impacts, business & entrepreneurship, health, art & leisure, travel & tourism, gender, economy, culture genomics, history & politics, and various facets that shape human consciousness.

Speakers include major award-winning writers, film and theatre personalities, performers and artists, designers, media personalities, sports icons, diplomats and celebrities from diverse backgrounds.

KLF 2022 will host 200 plus sessions boasting writers, experts, and performers from across India and more than 12 nations globally.

This year the organisers will introduce curated gastronomical exuberance with food trucks and ethnic cuisines.


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Ground personnel carry the International Space Station (ISS) crew member Russian actor Yulia Peresild after landing in a remote area outside Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, Oct. 17, 2021.

MOSCOW — A Russian actor and a film director making the first move film in space returned to Earth on Sunday after spending 12 days on the International Space Station (ISS).

The Soyuz MS-18 space capsule carrying Russian ISS crew member Oleg Novitskiy, Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko landed in a remote area outside the western Kazakhstan at 07:35 a.m. (0435 GMT), the Russian space agency Roscosmos said.

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Haydar Serezli, right, speaks to a walk-up customer at his booth at the Festival In the Park in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sept. 25, 2021. (Salim Fayeq/VOA)

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA — When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold early last year, artists such as Patricia Boyer of Charlotte, North Carolina, were panic-stricken. Who would see — not to mention purchase — her creations when much of America was on lockdown?

"It was really bad, because here you are with all this art, and you're like 'what am I going to do with it?'," the 65-year-old painter told VOA. "And the anxiety level was through the roof."

Amid a severe economic downturn and restricted in-person interactions, artists were forced to get creative. Boyer, who specializes in acrylic on canvas, said she was able to display some of her art with the help of friends and colleagues.

"I now have my inventory in three different spaces — one of my friends got me in her gallery. So, it's a way for me to get my name out," Boyer said.

Artists have faced unprecedented challenges triggered by the pandemic. Data published by the National Endowment for the Arts show, from 2019 to 2020, unemployment rates more than tripled for fine artists like Boyer and surpassed 50% for many types of performing artists.

Among major U.S. economic sectors, creative industries were among the hardest hit by the pandemic, second only to the hospitality sector.

Signs are situated along the walking path of Freedom Park urging festival goers to mask up, though few were seen wearing face coverings. (Salim Fayeq/VOA)

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