‘A writer can build only half a bridge’

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By Tishani Doshi

Kiran Nagarkar is an author who generates an extreme level of devotion among his fans. Some, including the author himself, would say that there aren’t enough of them, but if a fan-o-meter were somehow employed, his followers would surely win top prizes for fervency. His play Bedtime Story and first novel Saat Sakkam Trechalis, (republished in English as Seven Sixes are Forty Three) are both landmarks in Marathi literature.

Of his Sahitya Akademi Award-winning novel Cuckold, Nagarkar says he takes no credit. It was an inspired piece of writing where he was just the “third rate secretary.” Nayantara Sahgal has described his Ravan & Eddie trilogy as India’s fourth great epic, after the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the struggle for freedom under M.K. Gandhi. In person Nagarkar is tall and gregarious, prone to self-deprecation and chuckling. Excerpts from an interview.

What kind of home did you grow up in?

I grew up in a poor family but that was because my grandfather died early. So my father had to educate his seven or eight brothers and sisters. I’d always known that my grandfather was a Brahmo Samaji but it’s now coming to light that he went (to America) with Vivekananda in 1893 and 1903. Obviously, he did not make the kind of impact that Vivekanandaji made.

But it’s curious, a friend of mine did some research, and found that my grandfather was asking for independence of India in 1893, at a time when neither Gandhiji or anyone else was asking for it. Read more

Source: The Hindu

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