‘Indians writing in English cannot come close to Manto, Premchand or Bibhutibhushan’: Bhalchandra Nemade


An argument with Jnanpith winner Bhalchandra Nemade on the limitations and inevitable failure of Indian writing in English: Scroll.in

Literature is political in nature…literature needs a folklore, a shared history to exist

Manto
Manto

“There are questions of roots, literary cultures. Languages work within a number of contingent factors, including folklore, say, literary history, shared history and geography, flora, fauna, everything. Unfortunately, the kind of medium you have chosen – whatever your compulsions – you may land yourself into a no-man’s land gradually. Because you are using a form which has no folklore, no shared history.

“You have so many different kinds of readers and they will be reacting differently. As an activity at a superficial level, it may succeed. You may be a bestselling writer – Rushdie and Naipaul have millions of readers, that is another matter – but the kind of organic literary culture which Manto, Premchand or Bibhutibhushan represent – that you cannot really even come close to. This is my very frank opinion. You may not like it but this is my very considered view. I am convinced of this fact.”

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