Do you agree with this?: “India is becoming new epicenter of world literature, after France of 1960s and Latin America of 1980s” – Orhan Pamuk (on Twitter).

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/books/article1109066.ece?homepage=true


Answer by Raakhee Venugopal:

Thank you for the A2A.

Although I think that’s a bit of an exaggeration, I’d like to think that we’re on our way, but we’re not there yet.

True that we have many prolific writers like Ashok Banker, Rohinton Mistry, Vikram Chandra, Vikram Seth, Kiran Desai, Amitav Ghosh, Anita Desai, Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy and Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni to name a few. But for some reason, they don’t get the exposure that is due to them thanks to all the limelight-hogging pieces of trashy Indian literature that gets undue importance.

This is largely because their works are read only by those who love serious literature. Most of the Indian youngsters today have little or no time to read, and those few who do read do it just to fit into the hip-crowd. And they have neither the mental capacity nor the sense to appreciate good literature. So they go for shallow works with barely any sense. There isn’t any wonder why most of those have been turned into box office hit Bollywood movies now -_- That’s all they contain – a cheesy love story, some drama, some more melodrama, and then it’s a ‘and they lived happily ever after’ Duh!

One additional reason is that there are way too many writers in India who write in their regional language. And it is but a small percentage that gets translated into English. This way they don’t get the exposure due to them either. One of Kerala’s finest authors O. V. Vijayan’s masterpiece Khasakkinte Itihaasam was translated into English and named ‘The Legends of Khasak’.

I feel sorry for all those excellent writers whose works I have had the good fortune to read and are yet to be raised to the level of global excellence. To any non-Indians reading this answer, I request you to read the works of any of the authors I listed above. Your perception about Indian literature is bound to change forever.

Do you agree with this?: “India is becoming new epicenter of world literature, after France of 1960s and Latin America of 1980s” – Orhan Pamuk (on Twitter).

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