The ‘Surprising Poignancy Of Narendra Modi’s Poetry’…and the fine art of selling dhoklas and theplas: S Anand

Neutrality is the most vulgar political position, especially when the most bigoted partisans are calling the shots and you want to play along, and even host them, writes S Anand in this open letter to Prakriti Foundation, Chennai

“Since I have known you personally, and since you have supported Navayana’s work earlier, I thought I should keep an open mind and talk to you. Did you really see merit in this book? And that’s why I called you. I just wanted to ask you why you were doing this.  I am sure you had thought this through, but I still wanted to hear you out. Your defence shocked me more. You said, this was just a “marketing tactic” and you said you were doing this so that more people come to your Amdavadi Snack House in Chennai, and eat your dhoklas and theplas. “If Modi’s poetry will bring them in, so be it.” I could not believe this. I felt angry and even betrayed.

“I kept asking whether you saw any merit in Modi’s poetry. You never answered that question. After my call, you said you understood my concerns and anxieties and said you will write a mail to me. That mail has not come, despite reminders; it may never be written. So I am asking you now, in public, through this open letter to you, especially since I feel I can speak for the many poets whose work I love and respect (some of whom Navayana has published)—Ranjit Hoskote, Meena Kandasamy, Sukirtharani, N.D. Rajkumar, Shaikh Yakoob, Prabodh Parekh,Cheran, the late Dilip Chitre, Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih, Kutti Revathi, Michael Creighton, K. Satchidanandan, Jerry Pinto, Karthika Nair, Tenzin Tsundue, Vivek Narayanan, Nirupama Dutt, Nabina Das, Danish Hussain, etc.—poets who have read their works at your poetry festival, poets who have read the works of dead and live poets that they have taken the pains to bring alive through translations. Poets, artists, academicians, filmmakers and many citizens who have not participated in or attended any Prakriti event will also wonder why.”

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