FEATURED SPEAKERS

Bill Aitken

A Scot by birth, today, 81yr old William ‘Bill’ McKay Aitken is an author, rider and a true romantic. After completing his post-grad from the University of Leeds, he hitch hiked all the way to India in 1959. As a young dynamic 25yr old, Bill taught at a school in Kolkata for a year, and then joined the Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan Padayatra in Assam and lived in Sarala Devi’s Gandhian ashram in Kausani for a while. Falling in love with Maharani Prithwi Bir Kaun, who he met at the ashram, he found his calling in Mussoorie where he has been living since the 70’s. In 1972 Bill Aitken became a naturalized citizen of India. At the age of 50, he strapped himself on his first motorcycle, attempting a solo ride over the Himalayas and Sahyadris, one of the most engaging roads for any motorcyclist. Traversing across the nation over the next 10 years, no one has travelled across India as extensively as he has. Bill  began penning down his travel experiences across the country, and today he has authored 14 travel books, intimately and passionately describing in delicate detail each of his journeys. He is also the President of the Friends of the National Rail Museum in New Delhi and Hon. Librarian of the Himalayan Club. Bill Aitken claims that there was no profound reason for him to start writing. “I turned to writing as a means to appear reasonably respectable and to convince Prithwi’s sophisticated friends and family that I wasn’t as dumb as I looked. It helped that our next-door neighbor in Mussoorie was Ruskin Bond who went out of his way to help new writers.” Today, Bill Aitken continues his affair with the bewitching ranges of Mussoorie, living a life of the kind of quiet contentment that man of his history of adventure, passion and achievements can boast of.

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