Pavan Varma


Writer-diplomat Pavan K. Varma is a graduate in History from St. Stephen's College, New Delhi. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1976. He has been Press Secretary to the President of India, the Spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs, Joint Secretary for Africa, High Commissioner for India in Cyprus and Director of the Nehru Centre in London. A writer of depth and insight, he has written over a dozen books including the highly successful Krishna: The Playful Divine on India’s most popular deity, the critically applauded biography of the Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib, Ghalib: The Man, The Times, and the Havelis of Old Delhi. His first book on a contemporary subject was the path breaking The Great Indian Middle Class, followed by the astoundingly successful Being Indian: The Truth About Why the 21st Century Will Be India’s (Viking/Penguin 2004), described by The Economist as “one of the most subtle recent attempts to analyse the continent-sized mosaic of India and simplify it for the general reader.” It was soon published by William Heinemann, in the United Kingdom, as Being Indian: Inside the Real India in March 2005. The Japanese, Spanish, French and Portuguese translations of this book were very well received. Being Indian has also had a successful run in its Hindi edition; a Bangla translation is due soon. His latest work is a witty adaptation of Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra. This volume, Kama Sutra: The Art of Making Love to a Woman, was published early in 2007 by Roli Books and has been translated into French and German. He is also researching for a forthcoming book on the pivotal issues of culture and identity. He was conferred an honorary doctoral degree for his contribution to the fields of diplomacy, literature, culture and aesthetics by the University of Indianapolis in 2005. A widely admired public speaker, Pavan K. Varma is currently the Director General of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi.