Other links:

Other links:

Track Changes

Track Changes is a bi-monthly webinar series organized by the Undergraduate Writing Programme. Through these conversations, instructors from the UWP explore areas at the intersection of Art, Theory, Praxis, Culture, Science and Technology, with experts in various fields. Each month, one of the webinar sessions is dedicated to issues surrounding the craft and process of writing, while the other session engages with issues related to critical thinking more broadly. Conceiving of writing as an inherently dialogic process, Track Changes seeks to offer a regular avenue for dialogue and thought, through stimulating conversations with diverse interlocutors including writers, artists, journalists, academics, activists, and researchers in various fields. The conversations at Track Changes are variegated.


Here are some of the webinars we have organized: The Future of Publishing in India with Ananth Padmanabhan, CEO of HarperCollins India and Udayan Mitra, their Literary Division publisher. Writing Public Health: A Journalist’s Perspective with Anoo Bhuyan, the healthcare reporter at IndiaSpend.  Writing the Past: Narratives of Feminist Resistance with poet and writer Sharanya Manivannan, the award-winning author of five books, including the short story collection The High Priestess Never Marries and the novel The Queen of Jasmine Country.

The complete recordings of the past events are available here.

Write to trackchanges@ashoka.edu.in to get involved in our events!

Follow @trackchangesAshoka on Instagram and Twitter for updates on upcoming events

The Art of Questioning: Uncut | Students in conversation with Amit Varma

On 7th April 2023, the Undergraduate Writing Programme hosted a virtual session with Amit Varma who has dabbled across forms and media — from journalistic writing to literary fiction, blogging, and most recently, podcasting — and is a connoisseur of conversations. Mr Varma was interviewed by students about his writing journey, the birth story of his weekly podcast The Seen and The Unseen, his research process, and the insights he has gained from hosting 300+ episodes!

About the speaker: Amit Varma is a writer and podcaster based in Mumbai. He started his career in advertising, moved on to television, and has been a journalist since 2001. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, the Observer and almost every Indian publication. He won the prestigious Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007 and 2015, becoming the first person to win it twice. His blog India Uncut was one of India’s most popular blogs in the years it was active, between 2004 and 2008. It now serves as a repository of his published work. In 2009, he wrote his first work of literary fiction, My Friend Sancho, which was the biggest-selling debut novel in India that year. Currently, he is best known for his weekly podcast, The Seen and the Unseen, which gets over 225,000 downloads a month.

Ikroop Sandhu in conversation with Arpita Das


On 24th November, the Undergraduate Writing Programme hosted a session with Ikroop Sandhu, an author and artist from Dharamshala, who was in conversation with Arpita Das. 

About the author: After a BA in Philosophy from Lady Shri Ram College she studied animation from Vancouver Film School. As an artist, her interest lies in an individual’s capacity for knowledge gathering, storytelling and reflecting. She is currently teaching storytelling and animation at the Indian Institute of Art and Design, New Delhi. Her work has been published in three graphic narrative anthologies and her first graphic novel—a biography of Bhagat Singh titled ‘Inquilab Zindabad’, was published earlier this year.

About the book: Far from the gun-toting, swaggering young man represented in pop culture, Bhagat Singh was a fearless student leader who spent his time reading, writing, debating, strategising and executing plans while working alongside his comrades. Detailing the life of a national icon, Inquilab Zindabad maps Bhagat Singh’s journey toward revolutionising the Indian freedom struggle and the people and events that influenced this quest. While Inquilab Zindabad sheds light on his family members, friends, comrades and secret benefactors, excerpts from Bhagat Singh’s revolutionary writings on religion, caste and freedom are also present throughout the book. Informing the reader of his astute observations on politics and revolutionary life, the lessons from his life and writings are more relevant today than ever before.

Are You Enjoying?: Glimpses into Urban Pakistan w/ Mira Sethi (ft. Gurmehar Kaur)

On 24th September 2021, The Undergraduate Writing Programme organized the second instalment of Track Changes, our flagship speaker series. The event featured Mira Sethi (actor, journalist, and most recently, the author of Are You Enjoying?) in conversation with Devapriya Roy (and special guest: author, activist and CWC tutor Gurmehar Kaur).

About the speakers:

Mira Sethi is an actor and writer. She grew up in Lahore and attended Wellesley College, after which she went on to become a books editor at the Wall Street Journal, where she was also a Robert L. Bartley Fellow. In addition, she has also contributed to the New York Times, Vogue and the Guardian. Her collection of short stories entitled Are You Enjoying? present vignettes from life in urban Pakistan, and was published by Knopf earlier this year. In addition, Ms Sethi is also an acclaimed actor in Pakistani drama serials, having appeared in hit series such as Chupke Chupke and Mohabat Subh Ka Sitara Hai.

Gurmehar Kaur is the author of Small Acts of Freedom, a deeply personal family history published by Penguin Random House India in 2018. She is a social activist and an ambassador for Digital Peace now, a non-profit organization advocating for Cyber Peace. Kaur cofounded Citizens for Public Leadership (CPL), an independent nonpartisan movement focused on advocating for progressive public policy in India. In 2017, Kaur was listed by TIME magazine as a ‘Next Generation Leader’, a global listing of ten young men and women making a difference in the world. She graduated from Lady Shri Ram College in 2019 and holds a Masters in Modern South Asian Studies from University of Oxford. Her second book The Young and the Restless: Youth and Politics in India was published during the Lok Sabha elections in May 2019.

You can view the recording of the session here.

Desperately Seeking Shah Rukh with Shrayana Bhattacharya

On 14th April, the Undergraduate Writing Programme (in a special partnership with the Ashoka PPE Society) organised the first offline instalment of Track Changes. This event featured author and World Bank economist Shrayana Bhattacharya in conversation with the students of Ashoka University about her widely acclaimed book Desperately Seeking Shah Rukh: India’s Lonely Young Women and the Search for Intimacy and Independence.

About the book: “How many books do you know that effortlessly navigate Shah Rukh Khan’s movies, recent economic theories, data on jobs, juicy gossip about the peculiarities of Delhi playboys, sociological narratives and a deep dive into the love-lives of young Indian women? This intelligent, charming and quirky book, an illuminating portrait of the dire state of gender relations in contemporary India, does all that and more. Read it.” – Prof Abhijit Banerjee, Nobel Laureate for Economics, Author of Poor Economics, FT Business Book of the Year.

In this pathbreaking work, Shrayana Bhattacharya maps the economic and personal trajectories–the jobs, desires, prayers, love affairs and rivalries–of a diverse group of women. Divided by class but united in fandom, they remain steadfast in their search for intimacy, independence and fun. Embracing Hindi film idol Shah Rukh Khan allows them a small respite from an oppressive culture, a fillip to their fantasies of a friendlier masculinity in Indian men. Most struggle to find the freedom-or income-to follow their favourite actor. A most unusual and compelling book on the female gaze, this is the story of how women have experienced post-liberalization India.

About the speaker: Shrayana Bhattacharya trained in development economics at Delhi University and Harvard University. Since 2014, in her role as an economist at the World Bank, she has focused on issues related to social policy and jobs. Prior to this, she worked on research projects with the Centre for Policy Research, SEWA Union and Institute of Social Studies Trust. Her writing has appeared in the Indian Express, EPW, Indian Quarterly and The Caravan.

Academic Publishing and the Global South | Panel discussion

On 28th January, The Undergraduate Writing Programme hosted a panel discussion on Academic Publishing and the Global South. The panel featured Rimina Mohapatra (Routledge India), Nathan Hollier (Melbourne University Press), Vicky Williams (Emerald Publishing) and Aritra Paul (Stree Samya) and will be moderated by Arpita Das (Founder, Yoda Press and Senior Writing Fellow, UWP).

In an era of an expanding discourse around building scholarly writings pertinent to the global South and challenges to academic gatekeeping, how do small and large academic publishing professionals continue to perform in a savvy yet ethical manner? In this panel, the speakers talked about the multiple strategies, challenges and opportunities at hand in academic publishing today with a particular focus on the global South.


Vicky Williams has over 20 years’ experience in scholarly publishing across a range of market-facing functions. She is currently CEO of the Emerald Group, following four years as CEO of Emerald Publishing.

Rimina Mohapatra is an author, editor and Publishing Manager, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, Informa plc. She has been involved in the making of over 1,000 books at Routledge and has had an integral role in the origination and development of the Routledge India programme in South Asia founded in 2005.

Aritra Paul is a book editor and digital marketer currently working at Stree-Samya Books. She started as an academic editor but has branched out to diverse and changing mediums of publishing; gaming, audio narratives, comics and translation. She enjoys reading manga and webcomics and aspires to be a comic book writer. And sometimes with her friends, she conducts workshops on LGBTQIA awareness.

Nathan Hollier is CEO and Publisher with Melbourne University Publishing Ltd. He is a member of the Scholarly and Journals Publishing Committee of the Australian Publishers Association and sits on the Editorial Board of the journal Learned Publishing.

Moderator: Arpita Das is Publisher-Founder of the independent publishing house, Yoda Press. She is a Senior Writing Fellow with the Undergraduate Writing Programme and Visiting Faculty with the Creative Writing Programme at Ashoka University, and Series Editor of the South Asia Series at Melbourne University Press.

You can view the recording of the session .

A Conversation with Urvashi Butalia

On 21st November, the Undergraduate Writing Programme hosted the last Track Changes session of the year. The session featured a conversation with feminist writer, publisher and activist Urvashi Butalia on questions of feminist writing, publishing and tools of editing.

About the speaker: Urvashi Butalia co-founded Kali for Women in 1984 and in 2003, Zubaan. With over 35 years of experience in feminist and independent publishing, she has a formidable reputation in the industry in India and abroad. She also has a long involvement in the women’s movement in India, and is a well-known writer, both in academia and in the literary world. She has several works to her credit, key among which is her path-breaking study of Partition, The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India which won the Oral History Book Association Award and the Nikkei Asia Award for Culture. She has also taught publishing for over 20 years and is on the advisory boards of a number of national and international organisations. She has received many awards, among which are the Pandora award for women’s publishing, the French Chevalier des Artes et des Lettres and the Padma Shree, the highest civilian honour awarded by the Indian government.

From Pitch to Publication: Research and Writing with Samanth Subramanian

The Undergraduate Writing Programme hosted a session with journalist and author Samanth Subramanian on the 23rd of October at 6 PM. He was in conversation with Aditi Sriram about his writing process: how to come up with an idea, research it, refine it, and end with a published piece.

Subramanian has written three books and several articles, about everything from fish, to cricket, to COVID-19 masks, to the scientist JBS Haldane. You can browse them all here. In the session, we analyzed a recent profile he wrote about British fast bowler Jimmy Anderson, and the steps he takes to grow a 1-paragraph pitch into a 7,000 word article.

You can view the recording of the session here.

Crafting a Life: On Biographies with Jairam Ramesh

The Undergraduate Writing Programme hosted a session with author and Member of Parliament, Jairam Ramesh on the 9th of October at 6 PM. He was in conversation with our very own Dr Devapriya Roy, about his most recent book, the critically acclaimed biography of Krishna Menon, as well as about the art of conducting research and the craft of writing biographies.

Re-searching History with Avik Chanda

Avik Chanda is an author, columnist, business adviser and entrepreneur. His book, From Command To Empathy: Using EQ in the Age of Disruption (HarperCollins, 2017), was selected for Amazon India’s Best Reads under ‘Business, Strategy and Management’. His latest book, Dara Shukoh: The Man Who Would Be King (HarperCollins, 2019), has garnered wide praise from academics and authors, the press, and general readers, was featured in the Top 10 Non-Fiction National Bestsellers’ List for 10 weeks, and has recently been released as an audiobook, by Audible.

Workshop with Arpita Das

The Undergraduate Writing Programme organized a 3-day research and writing workshop by Arpita Das, founder of Yoda Press. The workshop was held on 12 and 19 September,  and 3 October, at 2:30 PM.

You can view the PPT from the first day of the workshop here, the second day here, and the final day here.

Chai, Crime and Cosy | Anuja Chauhan in Conversation with Devapriya Roy and the Students of Ashoka University

On 10th April 2021, the Undergraduate Writing Programme organized a Track Changes event entitled Chai, Crime & Cosy with best-selling author Anuja Chauhan. She was in conversation with Devapriya Roy and a few students about her new book Club You To Death, tropes in writing romance, portraying the life of fauji families and more.

About the speaker: Anuja Chauhan was born in Meerut Cantonment and educated in Meerut, Delhi and Melbourne. She has worked in advertising for over seventeen years and is credited with many popular campaigns including PepsiCo’s Yeh Dil Maange More, Mera Number Kab Aayega, Oye Bubbly and Darr ke Aage Jeet Hai. She is the author of four bestselling novels (The Zoya Factor, Battle for Bittora, Those Pricey Thakur Girls, The House That BJ Built), two of which have been optioned by major Bollywood studios and one of which has been made into a prime-time daily Hindi serial on & TV.

You can view the recording of the session here.

The Young and the Restless are now Illuminated | Conversation with Anindita Ghosh

On 12th November, the Undergraduate Writing Programme (in a special partnership with Katha, Ashoka’s Lit Fest) organized a new instalment of Track Changes featuring the acclaimed author, journalist and editor Anindita Ghose in conversation with students of Ashoka University about her bestselling debut novel The Illuminated and more.

Anindita Ghose is an author, journalist and editorial consultant based in Mumbai. Her debut novel The Illuminated is out in India from HarperCollins’ Fourth Estate imprint and is a bestseller. She has also been a journalist for fifteen years and was most recently the editor of Mint Lounge, the Saturday magazine of culture and ideas that supplements the Indian business daily Mint. Previously, as the Features Director of Vogue India, she wrote and commissioned stories on art, books, gender, culture and travel.

Study at Ashoka

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