Thursday, January 6, 2011

It’s an orchestra of 19 brilliant individuals

That is true. I enjoyed very much reading the 19 brilliant individuals. There is a great, yes a great interview by Mr.Ramachandra Guha with Flipkart on his latest book "Makers of Modern India". He reveals some of his unknown facts in his life and how it unfolded over the period. He talks about his battle with 19 men and women, why only these men and women made the modern India? his youth, writing fiction, etc.

Some excerpts (I highly recommend to read the full interview):

I’m not telling the reader what to make of its contents. I’m presenting this extraordinary richness and diversity of our political tradition through 19 representative figures. I’m telling the reader of today that if you’ll acquaint yourself with the history of India of the last 150 years through reading this book, you’ll get a sense of the sophistication of thought, of argument, of the real personality of these people. Now what is fresh about them, what is relevant about them, I’ll leave for each reader to decide.

I realized the writings themselves were so powerful, so vivid, so evocative, that they should be presented in their own words, with this kind of orchestration placing them in some sort of context for the reader. Especially younger readers, who might not know some of these individuals, so they get a sense of who they were, where they were coming from, what they were trying to say, what they were trying to do,

Nehru would not have so vigorously promoted Hindu-Muslim harmony had it not been for Jinnah.

The only thinking politician of today is probably Obama.

What we should be worried about is that politicians of today are so ignorant of the legacies they claim to represent.

I was in my early 20s and very attracted by Marxism. While reading this book, which is a wonderful and moving account of how the communist party destroyed the Spanish democratic movement in the 1930s, I realized how callous, instrumental and brutal the communist ideology would be in practice. In theory it was all about equality and liberty for all, but in reality it was totalitarian, anti-human and barbaric.

Advice to young writers who would like to start pursuing it as a career?
It’s very hard work. The first piece of advice is, reject the idea that you have to be inspired to write - that today I’m not in a mood to write but then tomorrow suddenly the creative juices flow! That’s rubbish. Writing is hard work. It’s like a factory worker at his lathe from 10-6. You have to go to your desk and write. If you are a historian or biographer, you have to go to the archives and look at dozens of files a day to find new or relevant material. If you’re a traveler or someone who bases his writing on real life experience - then go out into the countryside, go to different parts of India, talk to people from different backgrounds, if need be live in difficult circumstances. Consistency and hard work are most important. Creativity and imagination are secondary. That’s the first thing.
The second thing is you must read very widely. Don’t get stereotyped, don’t just read one kind of writer. Don’t read only one political tendency. If you’re a left-wing kind of person, read as much right-wing literature as possible. You must know what the other side thinks. In fact read more right-wing literature than left-wing literature, because then you can hone and refine your arguments and ideas.
Don’t be dogmatic in your approach, travel widely and work very hard. For the writer, there are no weekdays or weekends. Sachin Tendulkar is so good not just because of his natural gifts. At 37 he practices as hard in the nets as when he was 18. Hard work, discipline and rigour are the most important qualities.
Unless you are willing to be in it for the long haul and be patient, you can never really be a good writer.

No comments:

Post a Comment