Guest Of Honour
India had been featured at the 58-year-old Frankfurt Book Fair once before, but that was some two decades ago. As the international flavour of the season, it was no surprise that India became the first country to be chosen for the second time as guest of honour. The Indian delegation included Mahashweta Devi, Girish Karnad, Namdeo Dhasal, Mamang Devi and Dilip Chitre, while as many as about 70 Indian writers including Amitav Ghosh and Kiran Desai presented their work at the five-day event. Hear it from Mahasweta Devi (who, incidentally, also received the Padma Vibushan earlier in the year): "Sixty years after our hard-won Independence, the khadi sari is India just as the mini-skirt and the backless choli is. A bullock cart is India just as much as is the latest Toyota and Mercedes car. Illiteracy haunts us yet the same India produces men and women at the forefront of medicine, science and technology. 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram' is India. 'Choli ke Picchey Kya Hai' is also India. The multiplex and the megamall is India. The snake charmer and the maharishi-that too is India."