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Seemingly too diverse to be a single country—and many separatist groups are at work there at this moment—India in its 50th year of independence has hundreds of gods, dozens of languages, and a handful of tigers. This four-part series can’t begin to put it all in perspective, but novelist Shashi Tharoor (pictured) will do his best with his introductory lecture, “The Idea of India.” The author of the forthcoming nonfiction study India: From Midnight to the Millennium, Tharoor will delineate a country that contains high-technology centers, isolated tribal regions, and one of the world’s biggest film industries. His talk will be followed by three more specific programs: Anuradha Nehru will discuss and demonstrate classical Indian dance (April 1), cookbook author Julie Sahni will examine the traditional and trendy in Indian cuisine (April 15), and photographers Steve McCurry and Dilip Mehta will present images from two of their recent assignments, one an overview of India today, the other a study of the country’s tiger sanctuaries. At 7:30 p.m. at the National Geographic Society’s Grosvenor Auditorium, 1600 M St. NW. $13. (202) 857-7700. (Mark Jenkins)