Tag Archives: literature

Dinesh Wagle

October 22, 2011

Maoist Party Literature: Realized in past couple of days that I had never read Maoist party literature before. Amazingly complex writeup/sentences in Prachanda’s “work”. Hadn’t read all these “famous” decisions like that of Chunbang meet, 2nd National Conference & Phuntibang meet of the Maoist party during and after the armed conflict (1996-2006). Feels like knowing janayuddha (people’s war) & Maoist comrades’ feud, their hypocrisy/double standard from so close & first hand. Almst bcame Maoist! LOL. I was traveling in public bus carrying this thick book titled “Prachanda: Chhaniyeka Rachanaharu- Khanda Dui” (Prachanda: Selected Writings- Part Two) with a huge photo of the Maoist Chairman on the cover. People would look at the cover and immediately give me a look from head to toe with strange and unreadable expression on their faces. That was funny. They must have taken me as a hardcore Maoist member and may also have feared me! Sorry folks!!

[Added later in the day: Here’s link to the article that I wrote after reading all those documents and talking to many people: माओवादी-भारत सम्बन्ध: पहिले विस्तारवाद, अहिले अवसरवाद


A piece of bus literature

a piece of bus literature

When insanity strikes a lover and his heart!

Many of us may have seen those often funny and rhythmic lines written on the back of trucks. Articles have been written about them. But I hadn’t seen (or don’t recall seeing one) such lines written right on the sun shade of a bus. Usually drivers and their assistants known as khalasis (gadi sahayak) put photos and posters of Bollywood and Nepali film actors all over in the driver’s cabin.

Red ink has been used on a white sheet of paper to write no more than six words. (But red is everywhere.. look at the rear-view mirror!) Pagal premi ko/ pagal chha yo man. [पागल प्रेमीको/ पागल छ यो मन. A crazy lover’s/ heart is crazy.] Wasn’t clear if the driver fully agreed with the lines or if he was the one who wrote that and pasted on the sun shade. But I had no time to ask him if that was the case. Seen first when  I got into the bus in Baneswar and photo taken at Maitighar.

Jaipur Literature Festival 2010

Jaipur Literature Festival 2010

I though it was very impressive of Google to send a bus to the Literary Festival. Photo album at the end of this post.

“How was it?” asked my friend Deepak when he knew from me that I was back in Delhi from attending two days of Jaipur Literature Festival.

Here’s what I replied: It was good. Very few books were to be seen as it wasn’t a book festival but literature. Writers talked about not just their books but issues that their books or books in general address. And there were/are several other sessions that were/are not directly related to literature but then when writers are panelists to discuss on topics like “in a tough neighborhood” they also became some what sahityik.

The literary aura was palpable as I hopped from one session to another. “Dickens was an intensely good person,” said one speaker in Baithak hall while another speaker in another hall was talking about plays of India. “We used to say Kalidas is the Shakespeare of India,” he said.

In yet another session I heard a biographer explaining why her book was what it came out to be: “Describing each of his films would make a 300-page book but that wouldn’t have brought the real ‘he’.”

There’s was commercial stall of a book shop at a corner of Diggi Palace Hotel compound that sold books of different kinds, mainly those related to the festival. I like the idea of putting up a table filled with ‘books related to today’s sessions’ there. I heard one writer, a journalist, telling participants to go to the stall and buy his book, if they wanted. Another writer managed to make organizers announce on the mike that she was available for signing her book at the aforementioned stall.

By and large, I observed, the festival was not just about selling books but discussing issues that are generally addressed by books and writers- both fiction and nonfiction. That means having brainstorming sessions on issues that concerned societies in general and writers in particular. It was also about sharing experiences behind what we see in the form of ink and pages. Sharing experiences of book writing. It was also about trying to understand between the pages.

Quote of the day:

All writers of fiction should be required by law to go out and do a bit of reporting from time to time, just to remind them how different the real world in front of their eyes is from the invented world behind them’.

That’s Michael Frayn talking about his book Travels With a Typewriter: A Reporter at Large but only after he was asked to do so.

A session titled ‘Language and Identity’ was very interesting. Influence of English on Hindi and the necessity to keep that away from happening was discussed at length by the likes of Gulzar, a poet, and others in the panel including Hindi newspaper Janasatta‘s editor Om Thanvi and diplomat/writer Pavan Varma.) As a reporter working primarily for a Nepali-language daily, I also insert some English words and expressions in my writing when, I feel, I could have done without. But the trend is frightening in Hindi newspapers. As Thanvi pointed out, some Hindi newspapers have headlines with Hindi words as conjunctions only. A lot of English words are arbiterily used when there are Hindi words for the same: even I know Hindi words for such English words that are used in papers like Nava Bharat Times that my newspaper vendor brings every morning. The paper comes from Times of India group, so it might not be a benchmark for journalism but I have seen other Hindi dailies that also use a lot of English words. Thanvi said such anarchy in the language was because many newspapers have no editors or edited by their publishers who want to be successful in the market at the cost of language.

“International hone ka matlav aapne aap ko kho dena nahi,” said Thanvi.

Some of the captivating lectures in the festival were complimented by occasional whining of horses from a nearby stable in the hotel compound.

I attended only second and third days of the festival so I am not sure if I can judge the five-day festival with authority but I felt that it was largely a gathering of English speaking/writing authors and readers. There are many languages spoken in India, not just Hindi and English. I didn’t see writers representing those languages. May be it was because many of the impressive list of sponsors and partners of the festival were British, American, European/International and Indian organizations conducting business in English. Nonetheless it was fun to be in the crowd, to watch people speaking in varieties of tones and clad in diverse styles of clothings.

Click on the photos to read captions in detail

Harry Potter and Reading Culture in Nepal

Thanks to the exposure that the Nepali society has gotten over the last decade and the new trend of marketing the books via glittering advertisement campaign, writers becoming celebrity is becoming a mainstream in Nepali society.

“It’s sad that even after the arrival of the seventh book,” wrote a disgruntled reader from Dolakha in Kantipur after the newspaper published an article about Harry Potter phenomena in the last week of July, “[Not a single] Harry Potter book has been translated into Nepali.”

It’s almost certain that many people will continue to remain sad in the foreseeable future because, despite the entire hype surrounding Potter brand in Nepal, the books will not come in Nepali anytime soon. There is not enough market for that and Potter is all about market. But the lack of translation isn’t stopping many Nepali book lovers to get the pleasure offered by the series.

With the arrival of Potter books, especially the latest and last one, the Nepali book world has turned an important page. People calling a book store to book a copy of a certain book before it gets published or stand in queue to get hold of it or wait for several minutes to receive an autograph from the writer is something that wasn’t in practice until a few years ago. Thanks to the exposure that the Nepali society has gotten over the last decade, thanks to the new trend of marketing the books via glittering advertisement campaign and a big thanks to writers like Samrat Upadhyay, Manjushree Thapa and Narayan Wagle, writers becoming celebrity is becoming a mainstream in Nepali society. Therefore it was really not a big surprise when Educational Book House (EBH), a book store in downtown Kathmandu, said that it had received around 120 orders from curious readers of the book that’s priced at Rs. 1560 a copy.

“It’s a recent development,” said Raman Raut, a staff at the EBH who started working for the book store six years ago. “We started booking since the sixth book [that came in July 2005]. Very few came when fourth book was released. And even I was unaware about this Harry Potter thing before that.” For the Deathly Hallows, as many as 85 people had paid Rs. 100 each two months prior to the book’s official release date. A formal program to launch the book was scheduled to begin at 3 PM on Saturday, 21 July. A crowd of dozens had gathered in the book store. The flight got delayed by two hours and Raman was struggling to calm down the restless Potter fans. “They were in queue and started shouting,” he said. “Then I rushed to the airport and finally brought back the book at 5 PM.” Renowned dramatist and Professor Abhi Subedi launched the book amid clapping ceremony that also saw jubilant fans eating cake that had a picture of their favorite character embedded. The store sold 95 copies within a couple of hours, and another 90 the next day. Other book stores like United Book House, Pilgrims and Mandala Book Point were also selling the books. Aggregate figures collected from different sources put the total sales of Deathly Hallows to 700 copies in the first week of publication in Nepal. And some stores are out of stock and the number of willing buyers is increasing. Continue reading