“We don’t ‘trust’ ourselves to understand history”Author Anu Kumar

By R. Krithik


Author Anu Kumar on her book on Chandragupta Maurya, historical fiction in India, and why she chose to write under a psuedonym for this latest work

Adaptations and retelling of stories from epics and myths are aplenty, but historical fiction in India is still nascent. So Aditi Kay’s Emperor Chandragupta (Hachette India, Rs. 399) was an interesting read. Racy and told with verve and imagination, it follows the familiar trajectory of an illegitimate scion of the Nanda dynasty who becomes the pupil of Chanakya and establishes an empire.

A request for an interview threw up a surprise. Aditi Kay was the pseudonym of Anu Kumar, whose books for children and young adults have been based on Indian history.

In this e-mail interview, Anu talks about why she chose to write under a pseudonym, what led her to pitch the book on Chandragupta, historical fiction in India and more. Excerpts:

Let’s start with the pseudonym. Why not continue to write as Anu Kumar?

The name, Anu Kumar is itself a pseudonym. My own name has always made me uncomfortable; more so, since the name reveals so much — race, gender, caste. Why should all this matter?

It mattered more to me since I was in college when the Mandal agitation broke out and, later, when there was some opposition to my marriage because of caste/region factor. It was all very disillusioning. Read more

Source: The Hindu

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