The rise of online publishing and social media may inadvertently be beneficial for Hindi authors and its readers: The Hindu

downloadDr. Usha Bande is an Indian writer and critic who lives in Shimla. She writes in Marathi, Hindi and English and translates short stories from Marathi into Hindi. She has several research papers and more than a dozen books to her credit including Writing Resistance: A Comparative Study of Women Novelists. Her most recent work is a collection of short stories, A Box of Stolen Moments (Lifi Publications, 2014).

Kitaab recently interviewed her through email.

When did you start writing short stories? 

Long back.  I was in school when I wrote my first story but it was never published. In fact, I did not know where to send, how to send and all that. I mean tricks of the trade. In 1960s we were not much aware and smart as youngsters today are. Anyway, I wrote a small piece in Hindi for a story writing competition when I was in college; it was published in Navbharat Times and I got a third prize. It motivated me but again there was a gap of several years. My first real story which got published in English was “Painter Sahib”, included in my collection A Box of Stolen Moments. And I like this story as it has a kind of soft touch to it. It is partly real.

Tell us about some of the interesting stories in this collection and what inspired you to write them?

A very relevant question, indeed though a little difficult to answer!

The 25th International Literature Festival organised by the Hindi-Urdu Sahitya Award Committe in association with the UP Sangeet Natak Academy , is dedicated to writers of Hindi and Urdu literature, Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Majrooh Sultanpuri. The inaugural ceremony on Saturday witnessed the presence of famous personalities from the field of art, literature and politics. 

Shashi_TharoorThe unnecessary controversy over the use of Hindi by the government in official communications and social media revealed two essential truths about our country. The first is that, whatever the Hindi chauvinists might say, we don’t have one “national language” in India, but several. The second is that zealots have an unfortunate tendency to provoke a battle they will lose – at a time when they were quietly winning the war.

Sometimes my son asks in English: “Baba, what does duniya mean?” It means the world, beta, the world that I have lost. The world of Hindi: Amitava Kumar remembers his lost world of Hindi

Amitava_KumarMy son, who was born here in New York four years ago, doesn’t speak Hindi—but I have taught him the first few lines of the Kishore Kumar song Hum to Mohabbat Karega, Duniya Se Nahin Darega.

I have often explained to him the meaning of the words, but sometimes he asks in English: “Baba, what does duniya mean?”

It means the world, beta, the world that I have lost. The world of Hindi.

I have recorded my son singing the song and played it on WhatsApp for my sisters who haven’t seen him for a very long time. I think they would be amused if they also heard him say, when I’m putting him to sleep, “Chuppchaap so jaao.”