New Delhi: Pakistan former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani will not attend ‘Spring Fever’, touted as one of Delhi’s oldest literary and cultural festival, which begins on Tuesday, said organisers.

Citing visa issue as the reason for Haqqani’s absence, organisers said that noted Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasrin will fill his place in the festival.

At its eighth edition, the five-day festival, hosted by Penguin Random House India, boasts of a stellar line up like Ramachandra Guha, Sunil Khilnani, Shashi Tharoor and more.

Haqqani, an academician and a journalist, was one of the main attractions of the festival, and he was scheduled to attend the session ‘Pakistan is in the eye of the beholder’. The session will see also see Tharoor, diplomat TCA Raghavan and journalist Hindol Sengupta.

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Now, the organisers said that Nasrin would be replacing Haqqani, who is also author of two books titled “Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military”, and “Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding”.

The festival will open with session “The challenge of contemporary history” where historian and writer Guha discusses his forthcoming book, a collection of essays entitled “Democrats and Dissenters”.

Another highlight would be the session titled “Incarnations” by Khilnani, professor and director of the Indian Institute at Kings College London, who will be discussing the 50 influential Indians who shaped our history.

Then there will be Srijan Pal Singh, aide to the late former president APJ Abdul Kalam, and educationist Anand Kumar.

For the Bollywood enthusiasts, there are sessions by actors Shilpa Shetty, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Twinkle Khanna, and Emraan Hashmi over the weekend. While Nawazuddin will talk about cinema, life and his journey in his forthcoming book, Shilpa will give tips on staying fit and healthy and Emraan and Sonali Bendre Behl will discuss parenting tips for the new age parents.

The festival will culminate with “Kitaabein…” featuring Gulzar on books, literature and poetry.

During the day, the open air library at the venue Amphitheatre, India Habitat Centre will turn into a browser’s paradise featuring a complete range of Penguin India books.

‘Spring Fever’ will be on from March 15-20 (11 am to 7 pm).

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