What’s Brewin’?

What’s Brewin’? features gatherings of young people who, over cups of coffee and refreshments, under an informal atmosphere, discuss important issues of politics and public policy in India.The event will include experts in academia, politics, governance, jurisprudence, the arts, activism, etc., to direct and add insight to the discussion. This initiative is intended to generate better dialogue and awareness over vital developments in the field of politics and public policy in India.

Since large audiences may dissipate wholesome participation in discussions, we have intentionally chosen to keep our gatherings small, not exceeding 70 individuals.

Check out our most recent sitting of What’s Brewin’s here (summaries of each sitting are detailed at the end of this page):


We have conducted three sittings of What’s Brewin’? so far, summaries of which are below:

Session #1

Theme: “The Politics of Protest – for the Better or the Worse?”

The theme was pegged on the recent use of ‘Dharna Politics’ by entities like the Aam Aadmi Party, the frequent stalling of parliament and state legislatures in the name of protest and also delved into the historical pertinence of protest politics in India – with respect to the nationalist movement, the J.P. Narayan movement, etc.The politics of protest, both from within and outside the political domain was discussed.The idea was to understand the role of protest in Indian politics and establish whether it is leading us, today, in the right direction, as a people and a nation.

When? – 16th February, 2014; 4.15pm to 6.15pm
Where? – L’Amandier Bistro, 57, Chamier’s Road, R.A.Puram, Chennai.

Expert Members of the Discussion:

Mr. C. R. Kesavan – former Vice-President, Rajiv Gandhi National Institute for Youth Development (RGNIYD), Ministry ofYouth Affairs and Sports, Govt. Of India, and National Spokesperson for the Indian National Congress (INC).

Ms. Elizabeth Seshadri – Senior Advocate, Madras High Court and Member, Lok Satta Party.

Mr. Nityanand Jayraman – Senior Social Activist and Journalist.

Session #2

Theme: What the Bleep!
Understanding the contours (if any) to the freedom of expression

The theme was pegged against the on-going discussions on censorship and curbs to free expression, emanating both from the state and civil society, domestically and internationally – pertinent debates centred on subjects like the tragic killings in the Charlie Hebdo incident in France, the ban on the controversial BBC documentary ‘India’s Daughter’, bleeping-out of certain words in films, the opposition to the AIB Roast video, resistance to literature by authors like Perumal Murugan in Tamil Nadu, etc.

The freedom of expression is a fundamental guarantee in India’s Constitution and a central theme of international instruments like the United Nations Charter and the European Convention on Human Rights. However, it is often argued that even freedom must have its limits. Drawing from history and contemporary trends, this season’s What’s Brewin’? sought to explore this argument and make sense of the present public discourse. When? – 15th March, 2015; 4.00pm to 6.30pm

Where? – L’Amandier Bistro, 57, 2nd Main Road, RA Puram, Chennai.


Expert Members of the Discussion:

Dr. V. Suresh – Senior Advocate and National General Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties
Mr. Sashi Kumar – Chairman, Asian College of Journalism, Chennai.
Prof. Ramu Mannivannan – Head, Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Madras.
Mr. Murugan – former officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS)

Mr. Diwakar Raju moderated the discussion. In 2012, Diwakar served as President for the Chennai chapter of AIESEC, the world’s largest youth-run, not-for-profit organisation. Presently working for the M&A advisory team for KPMG, India, Diwakar’s interest in and approach to public affairs is both insightful and reflective.

Session #3

Theme: Loving Out Loud!

A Discussion with Indian Society and the Law on Alternate Sexualities
More than a decade of legal battles fought by the LGBTQ community in India reached a pitiful climax on December 11, 2013, when the Supreme Court of India upheld the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. From the first gay pride parade in Calcutta in 1999 to several other movements of its kind to date, large sections of civil society have joined the call to make India a more tolerant and humane society for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

The United States has rich experience in the fight to secure the rights of LGBTQ Americans. From the founding of the Society for Human Rights in Chicago in 1924 (the country’s earliest known gay rights organisation), to the judicial ruling against Proposition 8 (a 2008 referendum that banned same-sex marriage in California), up until the recent June 26 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry.

This What’s Brewin’? drew from the American experience to inform the Indian discourse.

When? – 15th September, 2015 (Tuesday), 6.15pm to 8.30pm
Where? – American Library, U.S. Consulate General, Gemini Circle, Chennai – 600 006

Expert Members of the Discussion:
Ms. Geeta Ramaseshan – Senior Advocate, Madras High Court, and expert on women’s rights, child rights and civil liberties.
Mr. T. M. Krishna – Public Intellectual and celebrated Carnatic Vocalist
Prof Tobias. B. Wolff – Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Legal Advisor & LGBT Policy Chair, Senator Barack Obama, Obama for America ’08

Facebook Comments