Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Latin Americanist

I heard this word yesterday
author of this is Mr Om Gupta
He described himself as a Latin Americanist

I asked him how he became one
Here is his story

As a professional journalist, he was working in Times of India.
He had told Mr KM Meena, the then JS(LAC) that he was looking for something outside his routine. Meena introduced him to the Colombian Ambassador to delhi in 1992 Mr David Sanchez Juliao. The Ambassador who was also an accomplished writer, introduced him to Latin America.
Mr OmGupta found latin america fascinating. he started writing articles on latin america in newspapers. Then he started publishing a magazine called as " Indo- Latin American File". He joined JNU for a M.Phil programme and later started a Ph.D thesis on Rigoberta menchu tum, the Guatemalan indigenous leader and nobel prize winner. He translated One hundred years of solitude of gabriel Garcia Marquez and published in 200 installments in a Hindi newspaper Dainik bhaskar
he has published a book containing his articles
- travelled to chile , Argentina and Trinidad and Tobago.
- interviewed the presidents of Argentina, peru and Guyana
He had organised 12 seminars on latin america at the India International centre in 1993-2000.

Now he is the Director of mass Communication at the jagannath Inst of communication and design at delhi

he is keen to revive his romance with latin america
you can imagine the electricity that was generated when he and i met !

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Visit of Latin American writers to India

Last week, Sahitya Academy organised a workshop on
" Myth, magic, History : contemporary fiction in India and Latin America "

Five Latin American writers attended this workshop.
Jorge Volpi and Montmeyer of Mexico, Jaime Collier of Chile
Gregory Zembrano of Venezuela and Rodrigo Montoya Rojas of Peru.

Jorge Volpi was the guest of honour in the Academy event. he belongs to the new generation of writers ( crack generation !), moving consciously away from the magical realism for which latino writers became famous. Volpi's discourse was lively.

What impressed me was the knowledge and interest of Mr Satchidanandan of the Sahitya Academy in Latin American literature. Prof Ganguli of JNU spoke eloquently displaying his profound expertise on latin American literature. He is the most authentic and knowledgeable expert on Latino literature in India, to my knowledge.

The Academy proposes to translate some of the works of Latino writers directly into Indian languages. In 2005,they published an anthology of latin american and caribbean poems in Hindi in collaboration with the embassies in delhi.

Pity ... i could not attend more sessions or interact with the writers.

In the same week, we had the visit of a Chilean Senator Jaime Gazmouri at the invitation of the Indian parliament.
During this visit I discovered that Mr Shahid Siddiqui Rajya Sabha MP from Samajwadi party has read many Latin American authors and is knowledgeable and interested in this exotic region.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Miss Canela from Dominican Republic

Last week was the week of Dominican Republic
A delegation of 25 officials and businessmen lead by the foreign minister was in delhi.

The visit went smoothly and successfully,thanks to a young and charming diplomat called as Gabriela. She came in advance and tied up the arrangements.

I could not resist saying... Clavo y Canela after she mentioned her name
Gabriela, Clavo y Canela is the title of one of the famous books of Jorge Amado of Brazil. I started calling her as Miss Canela.
She has gracefully accepted this.
Gabriela has now become Miss Canela...
Canela means cinnamon.

She is Counsellor in the DR embassy in paris.
super intelligent, efficient, energetic, articulate and hardworking....oops

DR is one of my favourite countries in latin america.three reasons: Julia Alvarez (the novelist), Golf resorts and Merengue.

My favourite novels of Julia are
-In the time of the butterflies
And her story based on real life called as
-A cafecito story.

I had played in the “ Teeth of the Dog” course in la Romana. Later, when I visited the new course “ Dye Fore” I found it equally attractive. They say that “ Playa Grande” is even better than these two.

Merengue music and dance originates from DR.

DR has a BBB rating - Business, Beaches and Beauties

DR is going to open their embassy in delhi by April.
The Ambassador-designate Mr Danenburg is young, dynamic and enthusiastic.
He is going to open up India with "merengue" music,dance and parties.

The Foreign Minister described the DR economy as a " Dessert Economy"
since DR produces sugar, coffee, coco, banana and cigar...

On saturday the diplomatic interaction moved to the Delhi Golf Club.
We played with the Foreign Minister and the IT Minister as well as two other delegates.

India's exports which were 20 million dollars in 2004-5 can easily be taken to 200 million dollars in the next three years if the Indian cos take interest. The business and political leaders of DR are very keen for bz with India.
Pharmaceuticals, engg products, consumer items, IT are areas of opportunity. DR's FTA and proximity to USA are advantageous for those who want access to US mkt.

Imports of DR in 2005 were 9.7 billion dollars !!!

Indian bzmen should not take DR lightly. A DR pharma co has discovered a new drug molecule and has patented it in USA and many other countries.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Roberto Bolano

This is the new Chilean author, i discovered last week. I read his novel " A distant Star"(Estrella distante).The story is about the turbulence in the literary world of Chile during the days of military dictatorship. A number of authors like Mario Vargas Llosa, Julia alvarez, Augusto Roa bastos and Migues Angel Asturias have written about dictatorships and the trauma suffered by the society in latin America. But the " distant star" focusses exclusively on the literary scenario, covering ,of course, the murders and disappearances. Bolano himself was a victim and was put in jail and thereafter in exile.
Carlos Wieder, the main character in the novel, is an enigmatic and cruel force moving between the deadly oppressive apparatus of the state and the vulnerable groups of writers.Bolano has made it more interesting with some suspense and thrill.His humour is subtle. His erudition shows in the numerous references to other writers and ideas.But no romance or magical realism. Bolano disliked magical realism going to the extent of saying " It stinks ". He did not like Isabel Allende, the other famous Chilean writer.

I am looking forward to reading more works by him.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Encounter with Eemanja in Copacabana

Eemanja is the name of the sea goddess in the novels of Jorge Amado.
When i dipped my feet in the waters of copacabana on 4 February, I was reminded of Eemanja who saves and sometimes takes away the heroes of Jorge Amado. The afrobrasilians offer flowers to Eemanja on the eve of New Year after a beach ceremeony, wearing white clothes.
I have been in copacabana so many times. But every time it is a renewal, rejuvenation and recharging. I have charged myself sufficently to last till the next trip( march?).My last visit was in feb 2004 and the accumulated nostalgia was unbearable.

I never get tired of two more rituals which I always do in Rio.
-I sat in the beach at 2 am dissolving my nostalgia in Brahma beer, listening to Brazilian music in the cool copacabana breeze.
-I took a window seat to watch the descent of the plane at the santos dumont domestic airport pasing by the side of sugar loaf mountain, almost touching the sea.

I was in the delegation for the joint commission meeting in Brasilia 1-2 February. The meeting covered a large number of areas for cooperation. The Brazilian side showed unprecedented enthusiasm to work with India.They are going to open a consulate in Mumbai.

The Indo-Brazil Business Seminar in SaoPaulo on 3 feb arranged by the Consulate was attended by over 150 businessmen. Again, what was striking was the enthusiasm and keenness shown by Brazilian business.
India's exports reached a record 1.2 billion dollars and imports 1.1 billion in 2005, doubling from 2004. The big boys of the businessworld from both sides have come into play.
Banco Itau is thinking of opening a branch in India and state bank of india is also considering possibility of a branch in Brasil.

There is a proliferation of consultancy companies ( including half a dozen Indians in sao paulo) on both sides to promote bz.

Bollywood too is going to Brazil.In the last week of this month they are going to shoot the film Doom-II in Rio during the greatest show of the world called as carnival. Stars such as Aishwarya and Abishek Bachan will be dancing on top of sugar loaf and getting wet in copacabana waters.