Motivations to read

August 3, 2010

Publishing and Women Writer’s in India

Hi all,
This post shall try to use two stories, one which happened on the week-end and the other which I saw today and try to share some ideas and thoughts about the same.

Normally, I don’t like being distracted while reviewing a book I loved and hated (The Video Vortex Reader review which I’m going through a fine tooth comb for the umpteenth time) but couple of stories this week lead me to wonder where things are heading.

The first was this rubbish statement given by the Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University (MGIHU), Mr. Vibhuti Narain Rai. The institution has been under a cloud for sometime for Mr. Rai as they have been allegations specifically of castism against him before as well. While the feminist writers have been up in arms against the statements and ask for the removal of the V-C (and rightly so) its surprising that most of the human rights people/organizations have chosen to remain silent. While I am no feminist, I do feel that we got nowhere by belittling people who have the smallest voice already. If one even reads part of the statement “feminist discourse has reduced to a grand celebration of infidelity” that itself is wrong. Infidelity has been part of the mainstream discourse since the times when the Kamasutra was published. Just blaming women writers is not going to solve it. Look at UTV’s ‘Emotional Atyachaar‘ . The recent hindi movie industry has been replete with so many movies concerning Adultery for e.g. Murder or ‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna‘ or an ‘Omkara‘ or ‘Mixed Doubles‘ or a ‘Nishabd‘ . While the above are all mainstream movies/cinema the same is the case for the daily soaps and it transcends all the languages as well .

While again, the above was from the media industry the same has been reflecting in the Indian society for quite sometime. In fact over 2-3 years ago India Today had made a high-decibel volume dedicated to the fact of rising Adultery in India. So essentially it is wrong morally and otherwise to just target women writers for something which has been happening as a social phenomenon in India for quite sometime. Whether one agrees on that point or not it is certainly a phenomenon. What also is interesting is what he didn’t talk as well. If he is so against adultery, then he should be against polygamy as well. This was something he chose not to talk about which is also a fact in the Indian scheme of things.

The other article which was interesting to me was Nilanjana Roy’s take on the Indian writing scene. I do agree on most of her points except for her point of “Raise the bar already:” . There I think she misses her mark when she says it should be harder to print books. From a reader’s point of View (PoV) I feel there are not enough English and Hinglish writers. We need more and more perspectives. Go to any Crossword or a Pathfinder bookstore and you will find less than a shelf of Indian books there. Even the roadside bookseller knows less than 5 odd Indian writers. While I do feel they could do with a polish on their act, she tends to discount the fact that most of the American and European publishers had over a 100 odd years to get their act together while Indian writing and writers have emerged just over a decade ago. We are going to be much worse before we get better. I don’t think there are shortcuts. Till there are enough volumes you can’t take risks using quality because in today’s world the biggest issue is which book gets the front display and its going to remain like that for sometime. She is bang on the target though that there is a shortage on creative writing courses.

Self-confession :-Seriously as a blogger and (self-belief) a watcher of good world cinema there is dearth of creative writing courses and film appreciation courses in the country. The only one which I know is of FTII Film appreciation course but as its annual thing I haven’t applied as for me its just a hobby while I know of so many people who want to make it a career. So why should I take another’s seat. If it was something happening every 2 months then for sure would have applied. There is supposed to be a movement for the same sometime in the future but god knows when it will happen.

The same is the case with creative writing courses. They are either done by newbies or are too expensive. The only ones whom I know are reasonable are the caferati people who do some decent work.

So this is my 2 paise on the above.

An immediate update :- While putting my view across I also came across Nilanjana S. Roy’s take on the above stuff and its also worth reading as well.


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