It is very hard to place how and when the phrase,Its elementary,my dear Watson, found its way into popular culture and everyday vocabulary. It may be because of the number of novels,thesis,movies and sitcoms dedicated to the fictional consulting detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,or the enigma of the character himself. But one can be sure that the dual-brimmed,checkered hat along with the long smoking pipe signify only one thing the game is afoot.
Sherlock Holmes adventures take him all across the world but what about his Indian connection? The Sherlock Holmes Society of India (SHSI) is dedicated to finding the connection. Kerala-based Sumal Surendranath,who founded the group on Yahoo! Groups in 2001,says,I was 12 when I first read a Sherlock Holmes story. Since then,I have been in love with the character and his world, he says.
The online society,now has close to 200 members from Mumbai,Delhi,Kolkata,Pune and Goa,among others. And it is a motley mix with a particle physicist,lawyers,Indian coast guards and even published authors such as Tim Symonds,Partha Basu and Pinaki Roy,who has a PhD on the subject.
Pointing to the detectives Indian connection,Surendranath says,In the short story The Speckled Band,the villian has served time in India and has brought a shipment of wild animals with him to England. Even the novel The Sign of the Four has a complex plot involving service in East India Company,the Indian Rebellion of 1857,a stolen treasure,a secret pact among four convicts and two corrupt prison guards from a prison in the Andaman Islands.
The society has now decided to come out with their first ever e-magazine. 28-year-old Jayantika Ganguly,a Kolkata-based lawyer who is a part of the editorial team for the magazine,says,We will be compiling various submissions,stories,essays,art,photographs and poetry related to Holmes for the inaugural issue. It will be shared with all our members including affiliated groups around the world,such as the Sherlock Holmes Society of London and the Baker Street Irregulars group from the US.
The Society will throw a party for members of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London,who are coming for a tour of India next month. We are really looking forward to picking each others brains about our favourite character, says an excited Ganguly.