04 December, 2020

English,s Inter Alia

Is it my writing that's rootless and lacks authenticity, or is it I? This is our home as it is yours; we did not drop from the skies.
Free Speech: [Waffle of the Toffs]

Saurabh Singh
English,s Inter Alia
An open letter to some fellow-writers:

Some years back, I gave a talk titled 'Where do we belong?', the 'we' referring to what has now become IWE. The question was purely rhetorical, because I knew where we belonged. We belonged to the same world you did, all of us were part of the ocean called Indian literature.

But recently, reading your diatribe against us, loaded with invectives, I have been shaken. I think it is time we talked to each other, not at each other and not through others. Let me begin with the bogeys of rootlessness and authenticity you have raised. I must admit I'm slightly confused: is it my writing that is rootless and lacks authenticity, or is it I? This is our home, as it is yours; we did not drop out of the skies when we started writing in English. It is the here-and-now, the what-was of this country that fertilises our imagination. My father was a Kannada writer, my mother came from Pune, my husband comes from a rural landed family: my self encompasses all these, it is out of this self that I write. Keki Daruwala spoke of the poet Imtiaz...


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