Vikas Swarup
Photos submitted

VIKAS Swarup is the internationally renowned writer whose debut novel “Q&A” was the basis of the Hollywood movie Slumdog Millionaire which won eight Oscars.

He is also the Indian High Commissioner to Canada.

Last Sunday, Swarup met with prominent Indo-Canadians of the Lower Mainland at a reception at a banquet hall in Surrey’s Newton area. The

Vikas Swarup (3rd from right) listens to journalist Harpreet Singh (centre) as he explains about some problems Indo-Canadians face regarding lost Indian passports. On the far left is Acting Consul General Amar Jit Singh.

invitees included Surrey MP Sukh Dhaliwal, MLAs Harry Bains, Raj Chouhan, Jagrup Brar, Jinny Sims, Ravi Kahlon and Rachna Singh as well as other politicians such as Moe Sihota, businessmen, professionals, mediapersons, representatives from gurdwaras and Hindu temples and so on.

Swarup, accompanied by Acting Consul General Amar Jit Singh, went around the tables, shaking hands, posing for photographs and patiently listening to suggestions.

After a couple of welcoming addresses by MLA Bains and MP Dhaliwal representing Surrey-Newton, Swarup held the audience spellbound as he waxed eloquent about India and Indians living in Canada and other countries. He stressed that he was here to listen to all Indo-Canadians, encouraging unity.

He said that India’s main export was not some commodity but Indians themselves – they were all ambassadors of India. He heaped praise on the outstanding achievements of Indians in Canada in every field – business, politics, academia and so on. He noted that no other country in the world had so many federal ministers, including two turbaned Sikhs, MPs and MLAs of Indian-origin.

He rattled off facts and figures to show the enormous potential of India-Canada relations. He promised that he would make many more visits to listen to Indo-Canadians here.

Both Swarup and Amar Jit Singh were honoured at the reception.

 

SWARUP joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1986. He served in Turkey, the United States, Ethiopia, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Japan in various Indian diplomatic missions.

Besides penning “Q&A” on which the movie Slumdog Millionaire was based, he has written Six Suspects and The Accidental Apprentice.

Swarup’s short story “A Great Event” was published in The Children’s Hours: Stories of Childhood, an anthology of stories about childhood to support Save the Children and raise awareness for its fight to end violence against children.

Swarup has participated in the Oxford Literary Festival, the Turin International Book Fair, the Auckland Writers’ Conference, the Sydney Writers’ Festival, the Kitab Festival in New Delhi, the St. Malo International Book & Film Festival in France, the ‘Words on Water’ Literary Festival at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, the Jaipur Literature Festival in India, the Hay-on-Wye Festival in Wales and the Franschhoek Literary Festival in South Africa. In 2009 he participated in the 33rd Cairo International Film Festival as a jury member for the International Competition for Feature Digital Films.

He has written for Time magazine, Newsweek, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph (UK), Outlook magazine (India) and Libération (France).

(Sources include India’s Ministry of External Affairs and Wikipedia)