New Login   


Edited by Joel Knortti
Stree, Kolkata, 2003, pp. 235, Rs. 450.00


The universe in a basekt: that’s what one would love to call this beautifully done up anthology of interviews, snippets, snapshots, chit-chat, profiles, psychic flow charts of seven Indo-English writers of eminence: Shashi Deshpande, Shama Futehally, Gita Hariharan, Anuradha Marwah Roy, Mina Singh, Lakshmi Kannan and Anna Sujatha Mathai.   It is good to see the new crop of sensitized men venturing to sensitize the not yet sensitized or the half-sensitized, if you may. The half-curious, half-awake and half-hearted appraisals of Indian English writing in general and women’s writing in particular have been intelligently deconstructed. This is an honest endeavour indeed, to take travels, meet women authors in person, choose representative pages from their work and ask the right kind of questions to draw the best out of them.   Bridging the gap between the personal and the political, the real and the fantastic, the fiction and the non-fiction, the English and the non-English, the elite and the dispossessed is on everybody’s agenda these days but very few actually succeed in building bridges across hearts and countries torn apart by pressures of time and history.   The relationship of the average Indian with English literature has been one of dazed appreciation like Alice. But regional languages in India have a rich literary heritage of their own. That is why, the needs, demands, power and powerlessness of those who choose English as a medium of creative expression is polemical. Most of the interviews bear witness to that, but Gita Hariharan’s confession offers the most humane face to the compulsions of the city-bred cosmopolitan kids who never had a chance to be breast-fed by their ‘mother’ tongues: …at one point of my life in my years of politicization—I felt two things very strongly. One was that I should perhaps become truly bilingual, so I could also write in a language other than English and the other thing was that I should write about social change. …all through my twenties I was either trying to write about subjects which I felt I should write about but did not know much about, or I spent years trying to learn Tamil and I tried to learn Kannada (p. 113).   Full of anecdotes and reflections, strange stories and witty lore—most of these women writers are profoundly sad and unbelievably virbant at the same time. They have created some space for themselves against all odds, ...

Table of Contents >>
Please or to Read Entire Article

Free Access Online 12 Back Issues
with 1 year's subscription
Archive (1976-2011)
under construction.