The Nehru Centre, Bombay, organised a discussion on the India special issue of The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, on 23 December 2022. The event was chaired by Professor Shrikant Paranjape who is a renowned expert on international security and arms control, currently attached to the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, Savitribai Phule Pune University, a constituent unit of the University of Poona.
Among those leading the discussion was Zareer Masani, an independent historian, journalist and broadcaster who has written extensively on British imperial history, race relations in the UK, and the legacies of the Raj in India. Dr Masani, a former current affairs producer for the BBC, has also contributed to The Round Table.
Delhi launch of special issue on ‘India@75’
India at 75: Special issue launch in Bangalore
Introduction to special edition – Pakistan at 75
Also in attendance was the Editor of The Round Table, Dr Venkat Iyer, and the Director of the Nehru Centre, Satish Sahney, a former Commissioner of Police from Bombay.
Those participating in the discussion included academics, journalists, librarians and students, many of whom had past familiarity with The Round Table. Since copies of the special issue had been made available to attendees in advance, they were able to speak at length about its contents. While there was much praise for the special issue – with a consensus emerging that it offered much-needed insights into India’s achievements, evolution and shortcomings during the 75 years that had passed since the country’s independence from British rule – some discussants also identified gaps in coverage as well as weaknesses in some of the analyses. The Editor found the feedback – and the spirit of constructive criticism and frankness which permeated the discussion – very helpful; he extended an invitation to the speakers to consider contributing articles or opinion pieces on those themes where much more could be said, or said differently – an invitation which received a positive response. More generally, many of those attending the event expressed their keenness to write for The Round Table on other topics also which fell within the scope of the journal.
In his opening remarks, Dr Iyer explained the evolution and current focus of both the journal and the Round Table organisation. Much interest was evinced by the participants on special issues of The Round Table and in particular about the recently-published special issue on ‘Pakistan@75’. The Director of the Nehru Centre suggested that he would be very interested in hosting a similar discussion around that issue at a mutually convenient date in 2023. Dr Iyer accepted this invitation in principle and agreed to liaise with him about that proposed event after printed copies of the Pakistan special issue become available in the early new year.