Ashokamitran: The invisible giant

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By N. Kalyan Raman

With the death of Ashokamitran on 23 March in Chennai, a unique chapter in the annals of Indian literature has come to an end. For readers everywhere, the special power of Ashokamitran’s fiction derived from his exclusive focus on the experienced reality of individuals rather than on abstractions of ideology or intellect. In this way, his literary mode was very different from other eminent Indian writers who were his contemporaries. Even in the Tamil literary milieu, he stood apart from his peers, forging an inimitable style and language for his fiction, and remaining the engaged outsider in his voluminous output of essays and columns on a wide variety of subjects, ranging from literature and cinema to personalities and politics.

What were the factors that had engendered Ashokamitran’s unique perspective and influenced his chosen literary mode? How different were they from the influences and circumstances that had shaped the work of his contemporaries like Mahasweta Devi, Nirmal Verma, U.R. Ananthamurthy and Sunil Gangopadhyay? Read more

Source: Live Mint

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