From fading childhood memories of his ancestral home in Kashmir to the changing face of Indian writing,British-born writer Hari Kunzru went eloquent about his books,passion and a writer’s space.
Kunzru was in the city as part of the British Council’s literature programme,India ’09,to interact with Indian writers and discuss his latest book ‘My Revolutions’. Speaking on the book he said,”It speaks about a person’s sense of social injustice and radical changes and about how the protagonist decides to bring about a change on his own. It goes on to speak about the difference in the dreams of a 21-year-old youth and those of a 50-year-old man.”
“I have been to Kashmir only once and my memories of my ancestral home town are somewhat faded now. Even though the state has been in the eye of the storm ever since the partition days I do not think I will ever be writing a fiction story based in Kashmir. I do not wish to write about something that I am not very familiar with. Maybe in the future if I go back to Kashmir I might do a travelogue or a series of essays on the valley but definitely not a fictional story,” he said.
Speaking more about his award winning debut novel,’The Impressionist’,he says,”Even in the post colonial world,a faction of the Western world had this air about superior race which had really bothered me during my growing up years. I began to realise people like me,who were of mixed origins,had to struggle very hard to find our own identity. ‘The Impressionist’ is a result of all these trials and tribulations faced by the protagonist and his way of dealing with them and fighting a unique struggle which to the untrained eyes might appear to be commonplace or even mundane.”
I do not plan to join any political group or raise an issue for the rights of the Asian community in Europe,The Untied Kingdom or elsewhere. As a writer all I can do is to put down my opinion and keep it as unbiased and unprejudiced. It is for the people who read it to decide whether it was right or wrong. On my part I do not intend on supporting any such political group”,he added.
His second book ‘Transmission’ deals with another realistic subject that defines the youth of today. He says,”One of the most striking features that I have found in my visits to India is the fact,that “The American Dream” had heavily influenced the youth here. It was a topic,which I found very unique and close to my own heart because these are issues with which the youth in Britain also grapple with. So I thought of penning down the thoughts of one such Indian who ravels to sunny California,in search of his dreams,his tryst with destiny and his realisation that the dream is a bitter pill which comes with a sugary coating,”
He said writers are complex people to understand. “I feel all writers always write about a particular emotion that they have never been able to place or understand themselves so they put it across in their writings,either as a question to other people who might have felt similarly or as a opinion,” he said.
He also said that Indian writers have started to write about unconventional topics and issues that were earlier considered taboo in the Indian cultural fabric. The Indian readers too have started accepting these changes,he added.