Editor’s note: This is the first of Asia Uncensored blog debates that we are kicking off our Blogs section with, curated by our blogs editor Rheea Mukherjee.

The influx of commercial fiction in India is an undeniable fact. Is it good? Is it bad? Two writers–Soumyadipta ‘Shom’ Biswas and Tanuj Solanki– share their perspectives on this volatile topic. We would love to hear your thoughts on this subject too!

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All a person needs is the first good book

by Tanuj Solanki

Tanuj Solanki
Tanuj Solanki

I live and work in Bombay, and so, for me, traveling to my hometown Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh entails reaching Delhi first and then taking a bus or a train. For the Bombay to Delhi journey, I find the Rajdhani trains to be the best option, because of the overnight comfort and the promise of being able to squeeze in four hours of solid reading into the seventeen hour journey. In November 2014, I had, for personal reasons, to take three trips to visit my family there.

India, when left to its own devices, throws up a very different kind of writer, a man such as Chetan Bhagat, who, though he writes in English about things that are urgent and important — like life on campuses and in call centers — writes books of such poor literary quality that no one outside India can be expected to read them, writes Aatish Taseer in the New York Times

ChetanIn my own world — the world of English writing and publishing in India — the language has wrought neuroses of its own. India, over the past three decades, has produced many excellent writers in English, such as Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Amitav Ghosh and Arundhati Roy. The problem is that none of these writers can credit India alone for their success; they all came to India via the West, via its publishing deals and prizes.

Organizers of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival have unveiled the final lineup of speakers at the 2015 festival, which is scheduled take place in Jaipur from Jan. 21 to 25.

On deck for South Asia’s best-known literary jamboree: Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul, author of “A House for Mr. Biswas” and other novels; travel writers Paul Theroux and Elizabeth Gilbert, the latter of “Eat Pray Love” fame; British screenwriter and novelist Hanif Kureishi; Indian author Chetan Bhagat; Vijay Seshadri, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for poetry; Man Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton; statistician and risk scholar Nicholas Nassim Taleb; Columbia University economist Arvind Panagariya; and more than 200 others.