Australian High Commission
New Delhi
India, Bhutan

Australia Fest begins on a magical note

PA/11/18                                                                                                                                                                                                              19 September 2018                                  

                                                                                                                   Australia Fest begins on a magical note

                         “To tell the story of Indian magic is to hold a mirror to India’s religious traditions, its society, and culture.” - John Zubrzycki.   

India has a long history of magic. The rope trick and Indian basket have mesmerised not only the young and old in India but also audiences across the globe.

Australian author John Zubrzycki, in his latest book - Jadoowallahs, Jugglers and Jinns: A Magical History of India - explores India’s long association with magic, from the seals of Mohenjodaro to the jugglers, mountebanks and acrobats. The book is published by Pan MacMillan India.

Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Her Excellency Ms Harinder Sidhu launched the book as the opening event of Australia Fest, a festival of Australian culture and creativity across India.

“Both John and his latest book epitomise one of the important themes of Australia Fest – that of celebrating long standing associations between India and Australia,” said Ms Sidhu.

“John presents a well-researched overview of India’s magical traditions and takes the reader into the mystical worlds of jadoowallahs, jugglers and jinns, and how these traditions and practices shaped Indian society and culture, and enriched the rest of the world,” she added.

For John, who is also an Australia Fest Ambassador, it is India’s rich tradition of magic and magicians that inspired him to write this book. “With Jadoowallahs, Jugglers and Jinns, I wanted to bring to life the incredibly rich and lasting legacy of Indian magic and to celebrate the far-reaching influence it had on the West,” he explained.

Speaking on the occasion as the Guest of Honour, Rajeev Sethi, Chairman and Founder of the Asian Heritage Foundation, said, “Here is a book my generation might have lived through without noticing. The ubiquitous street Jadugars-the Masets, Sayeed’s and now even the madaris, were the first to reveal the magic world of maya hidden in the sleight of hands. Their tenacious act conjures a Jaal of interconnection and John’s book, replete with deeply felt narratives, unravel a set of life skills that are fast shrinking from our everyday experience. Read it to know what we must not lose.”

Jadoowallahs, Jugglers and Jinns tells the story of how Indian magic has evolved over thousands of years and descended from the domain of the gods to become part of daily ritual and popular entertainment, and its transformation from the street to the stage. Meticulously researched, and yet so well-written that you do not feel the weight of it, John Zubrzycki’s Jadoowallahs… is a fascinating read about the anecdotes, history, culture and religion related to magic in India. Pan Macmillan is proud to be associated with this book,” said Prasun Chatterjee, Editorial Director, Pan Macmillan India at the launch.

Guests were enchanted and left spellbound by a series of magical acts. One of Australia’s finest magicians Adam Mada performed magic that left the audience asking for more. Indian magician Raj Kumar, meanwhile had everyone holding on to their nerves as he performed the famous Indian Basket act. The surprise element of the evening was a special presentation by Indian street magician (madari) Ashiq Ali, who also features in John’s book.

The book will be touring Mumbai and Chennai, in partnership with Pan Macmillan India, as part of Australia Fest.  

About the author: JOHN ZUBRZYCKI is a Sydney-based author. He has a degree in South Asian history and Hindi from the Australian National University and has worked in India as a foreign correspondent, diplomat and tour guide. His first book, The Last Nizam: An Indian Prince in the Australian Outback, is a bestseller in India.

About Australia Fest: Australia Fest is a six-month celebration of Australian culture and creativity in India. With over 75 events across 20 Indian cities, the festival will feature music, art, food, film, literature, dance, theatre, sport and much more.


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