A lawyer of international repute, social commentator, thought leader and creative innovator, Sumant is a many-faceted person with accomplishments in diverse spheres. He romances with life, lives his dreams and thinks through his heart. A cultural champion, museum owner, collector and writer, Sumant Batra is the founder and architect of a number of innovative creative projects to promote Indian heritage, culture, art and literature. Some prominent initiatives include, Kumaon Literary Festival, Taj Colloquium and Dalit Literature Festival amongst other. The initiatives started by him are rapidly developing into a robust cultural voice of the country because of their unique approach and contribution to the development of the soft infrastructure and power of the country.
Who are you (naturally!)
A think through the heart person.
What inspired you to enter so many diverse fields of career?
From law to hospitality, literary festivals to museums, creative instincts drive all my initiatives.
An anecdote which epitomises your India?
The lyrics from a song from Hindi movie:
Hum logo ko samajh sako toh -samjho dilbar jaani
Jitna bhi tum samjhoge utni hogi hairaani
Apni chhatri tumko dede kabhi jo barse paani
Kabhi naye packet mein beche tumko cheej puraani
Phir bhi dil hai hindusatni
One thing that you can’t live without?
Day dreaming. All my projects are conceived there.
One thing that you hate?
If you could change one thing about India what would it be?
Go back to the 1960s. As a country we were starting to walk the right path then. We lost it somewhere on the way.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
Any one who is compassionate.
What is your favourite quote?
”Those who do not understand your silence will never understand your words”
I have noticed huge changes in India over the last few years but what is the biggest change you have noticed in India over the last 10 years?
Investment in self-aspirations. There was a time when everyone was sacrificing for the sake of others.
What do you think are the biggest challenges India faces over the next ten years?
Conserving our rich traditions and culture. We are too enamoured by western values.
Which is the destination at the top of your bucket list?
Place where I lived in my previous life. I think I have a hazy picture of it in my mind.
What is the one place you visited that you have NO desire to return to?
Book or Movie?
I am doing a survey to find India’s most popular breakfast, what is yours?
For a punjabi, it has to be a parantha, with butter and curd. That is a ritual.
In retrospect, what is the one thing you wish you could have told your 20 year old self?
Only one thing: So happy you are doing what you are doing. I am so happy where I am today.
You can find out more about Sumant at www.sumantbatra.com