The Hindustan Times has published a short interview with author and politician Shashi Tharoor on June 21. Tharoor’s masterpiece, The Great Indian Novel, is on the paper’s list of greatest Indian novels.
“It was ambitiously conceived and written with all my heart and soul, but “greatness” is a quality for others to judge,” he says when asked if he always knew he was writing a great piece of work. “I am glad it is still in print a quarter of a century later, and after 42 reprints, Penguin is planning to bring out a Silver Jubilee hardback edition in October.”
Like most Indians, Tharoor has a never-ending fascination with the epic, Mahabharata. “I never stopped reading the Mahabharata,” he says. “In fact, when I was in London to sign my contract for the novel with Viking, I was browsing in a bookshop and found the script of Jean-Claude Carriere’s play for Peter Brook — which I didn’t hesitate to buy, even while wondering if he had done things with the epic that would render my effort superfluous.”
However, due to his political career (he is one of the leading figures of the Indian National Congress), Tharoor has not been able to focus on writing a novel in a long time. “I began a novel after Pax Indica, but then they made me a minister again!” he says. ” I’ve had to abandon that project for personal reasons, but hope to return to fiction one day. But in my current political life, I don’t know where the time — or the creative space inside my head — is going to come from, though.”