Vani Prakashan has announced the launch of its English imprint Vani Book Company with the launch of book Katihar To Kennedy: The Road Less Travelled by Sanjay Kumar. The book launch was followed by a discussion on Grassroots Development in India: Neo- Millennial Story.
The discussion saw author Sanjay Kumar in discussion with author and Diplomat Pavan Kumar Varma, author and screenwriter Advaita Kala, Principal, Shiv Nadar School, Shashi Banerjee and Grassroots community leader Kari-ben who shared their insights on the state of the grassroots community and their development in the country. The discussion was moderated by poet and public speaker Ms Saumya Kulshrestha.
Katihar to Kennedy is an autobiographical account of Sanjay Kumar’s life as a small-town boy who starts his journey from Katihar in Bihar, one of India’s economically backward districts and how he reaches the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The book also aims to depict the inner conflicts of a man and his continuous efforts to overcome all the difficulties in his path while fighting with his inner shortcomings.
The discussion began with Sanjay Kumar, the author, who discussed his own experiences that motivated him to write this book. Kumar, who currently serves as the India Country Director of The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University and was involved in leadership positions with SEWA Movement for about two decades further said “what one can take away from the book is how as a society we can help to stop further deterioration of public institutions and education system.”
Pavan K Varma, diplomat and author said that the book is inspirational because of the extraordinary courage and resilience it showed in Kumar as a person. Noted screenwriter and author, Advaita Kala, while congratulating the author and stating that the book was really about hope, drew parallels with her own state of Uttarakhand where there aren’t enough teachers and those that are there, never come to school due to tough socio-economic and infrastructural challenges. Principal Shashi Banerjee shared that Katihar to Kennedy is like a commentary on education system and on how it should be.
Kari-ben, a community grassroots leader shared how her association and that of the women working in Mandi, with Sanjay Kumar, helped them become independent and self-sufficient.
Publisher, Aditi Maheshwari said on the occasion “The House of Vani is metamorphosing into a global cultural space preserving the rich intellectual tradition of 56 glorious years. One of the main efforts to achieve this purpose is The Distinguished Translator Award under the aegis of Vani Foundation which has been established to recognize the contribution of translators and translation as an art and bridges the gap between English and other Indian Languages. A sum of Rs 1 lakh is awarded under this scheme.”