In 2016, The Hindu Lit for Life added a new element to the festival with The Hindu Lit for Life Annual Lecture Series. Delivered by a distinguished speaker as a precursor to the main festival in January, the series is intended to explore and engage with important issues of the day through thought-provoking lectures that will inspire and expand the minds of the audience.We hope that this special series will quickly become a benchmark event on the country's cultural and literary calendar as we endeavor to bring the most distinguished speakers and thinkers from various fields in India and abroad to stimulate discussion on a wide range of topics.
The first The Hindu Lit For Life Annual Lecture was delivered by historian and writer Ramachandra Guha, who spoke on India@70: A historian's report card. He examined the 70-year history of independent India through the four principles of Mahatma Gandhi’s Swaraj — non-violence defined as political freedom; Hindu-Muslim unity defined as cultural freedom; abolition of untouchability defined as social justice; and swadeshi defined as economic freedom.
"Democracy is about continuous reflection and interrogation, not just in Parliament. Look at the suppression of our civil society. The deficiency of our democracy is manifest in the widespread corruption of our political class, deterioration of our public institutions, particularly our failure to provide quality education and health to our citizens," he said.
The event was held at ITC Gardenia, Bengaluru, on October 15, 2016.
Justice A.P. Shah, former Chairman of the Law Commission and former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, delivered the second The Hindu Lit for Life Annual Lecture. Justice Shah discussed the link between literature and law, drawing upon literary examples from classical and popular cultures. "Law could be the subject matter of literature… or literature itself might be, have been or may become law," Justice Shah said. In some countries, law is regarded as part of culture, he said. In the area of interpretation, law could borrow from literature tools that are used to analyse texts. For instance, meaning is not necessarily found in the author’s intention or mind but in the text itself.
The event was held at Sivagami Pethachi Auditorium, Chennai on October 28, 2017.
In 2018, the concept of The Hindu Lit For Life Lecture was expanded to include a dialogue. The topic of discussion was India: Issues and Opportunities and politician and author Dr Shashi Tharoor and former Governor of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi touched upon issues like the forthcoming elections, the contentious Ram Janmabhoomi, crisis in higher education among others.