‘Indian Writing’ has become quite big. Indian writers are read and appreciated today, here as well as globally. And with it there is a boom in Indian publishing. From the Vedas, written thousands of years ago, considered to be the first ever literature of India, to the best sellers authored by the Chetan Bhagats and Amish Tripathis of today, the journey of Indian literature has been quite interesting and exciting. Indian authors are writing in all sorts of genres: fiction, crime thrillers, fantasy, romance, fiction based on mythology, science fiction, children’s books, young adult books, recipe books…just about anything and everything in English.
With globalisation and the impact of technology, the trends in literature and publishing too are changing like never before. While hardcore book lovers still swear by the printed version, online reading is getting popular with each passing day and posing a threat to the printed word. Many of the best sellers are from debutant writers. Self publishing is also in vogue where writers publish and market their product and are getting recognition. Children’s books too have come of age. While this publishing boom augurs well for writers, have the reading habits of Indians changed? These are some of the topics that the August issue of One India One People has covered in its theme: The World of Books. Happy reading!
In a constantly changing and relentlessly growing literary scenario, Indian writers in English have carved a niche for themselves and are now determining their own way forward, says Debina Chattopadhyay, a seasoned writing and editing professional with extensive experience in print and digital media. Her article ‘Indian English writers in great demand’ traces the popularity of Indian writers writing in English.
‘Will ebooks kill the printed word?’ is a question that is often debated today thanks to the popularity of online reading. Books in digital formats are putting a speedy end to delivery hiccups, storage issues, insurance and all the associated publishing bugbears. Rama Kumaraswamy Thoopal talks about the impact of technology on book publishing and by default literature. Rama is the Creative Head (Copy) at Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt. Ltd where she handles digital marketing for brands. She also writes for children in her spare time.
In ‘Children’s literature comes of age,’ Vinitha Ramchandani says that the break for children’s fiction in India happened with the release of Harry Potter. Indian publishers are today looking for intelligent, original Indian writing, and many heartening things are happening in the space of children’s publishing. Vinitha is a children’s fiction writer with over 15 books for children to her credit, available in bookstores across the country. An editor with a book publishing firm in Mumbai, she loves listening to stories and conducts creative writing workshops for children in her free time.
Print publishing is still considered the holy grail, but self publishing is catching on fast and providing an equal amount of satisfaction to writers across subjects and genres, writes Preeti Singh in ‘Writers turn publishers’. Preeti is passionate about books and everything to do with them!
A writer’s struggle does not end with the completion of his book. In fact, that’s only the beginning as he scouts for a publisher. Joygopal Podder recounts the phase of rejections he faced as a writer and shares a few lessons he learnt along the way before being recognised as a published author in his article, ‘Waiting to be discovered’.
Joygopal has received mention, for two consecutive years, in the Limca Book of Records as the fastest crime fiction author of India. ‘Desperate Lives’, his fourteenth book, releases at the end of this year. He is Director, Fundraising of the INGO ActionAid India. Visit his website to know more about his works - http://marathonauthormasterofcrime.in/
Literature for the learning disabled in India is still at a nascent stage, and hence a genre with great potential. All it needs is the firm support of empathetic policies which can unlock the magical world of books for one and all, writes Mahua Guha in the article ‘The wind beneath a learner’s wings’. Mahua is a writer for a children’s magazine and a travel enthusiast, always seeking new destinations and challenges.
‘Should there be literature in cinema?’ asks Sanjit Narwekar and wonders if the function of cinema is merely to narrate a story on screen or to explore the essence of the story and take it to greater heights, using the grammar and potential of the medium. The writer is a national award-winning film historian, scriptwriter and documentary filmmaker.
Parents and teachers often claim that ‘Getting children hooked on books’ is difficult. The lack of the reading habit is blithely blamed on the Internet, social media and television. But it is up to parents, teachers and other elders to ensure that children have access to books and good literature, says Lina Mathias, senior assistant editor, Economic and Political Weekly.
In ‘Know India Better’, Akul Tripathi takes us past the deserts and palaces of Rajasthan to ‘The Unheralded Rajasthan’, which is waiting to be explored by the tourist. He was delighted to find that there is a lot of Rajasthan, rich with lakes, rivers and forests that can bewilder those who only follow TV travel show packages. Akul is a media professional and freelance writer.
This issue, we are pleased to bring you ‘Face to Face’ with two distinguished people: Best selling author Preeti Shenoy and advertising professional Bodhisatwa Dasgupta.
Preeti Shenoy, is the author of four best-sellers, artist (portraits, mixed media, paper quilling), poet, yoga-buff, ex-basketball player, blogger, dog-owner, nature lover, TEDx speaker and a mother., who began her writing career with her first book called ‘34 Bubblegums and Candies’. The book was about 34 real-life incidents from her life and those of her friends. Later, her book ‘Life is what you make it’ was among the top selling books of 2011 and the novel ‘Tea for two and a piece of cake’ featured in the top five best-selling fictions of 2012. Her latest book ‘The Secret Wish List’, which released a few months ago is already making waves. In her books, Preeti weaves magic with her words and pictures. Her books are magnetic, engrossing and unputdownable. Preeti Shenoy talks about her inspiration and her journey with Veena Adige.
Veena is the Associate Editor of Bhavan’s Journal, the fortnightly magazine of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. She has authored four books including The Legacy of Baba Amte. She has written many short and long stories and freelances for several magazines and newspapers including Woman’s Era, DNA and others.
In the second interview, Ashna Contractor talks to Bodhisatwa Dasgupta, whose one-year-old initiative, The Dolch Project, aims to invite people and bring them together for the purpose of writing short stories for children with learning disabilities. Dasgupta is a copywriter at Grey Worldwide by profession and a writer by nature. With this initiative, Dasgupta is addressing an issue that often goes unnoticed and neglected in our country. His objective is to provide good literature for children with learning disabilities so that they are not alienated.
Ashna Contractor is a fourth year undergraduate student studying Political and Social Thought and Psychology at the University of Virginia. She loves to travel, go trekking and eat different foods. She has a keen interest in international relations and socio-political issues in India. She is currently doing an internship with One India One People.
In our General section, we look at the issue of food security with a different view. In her article ‘From food insecurity to food sovereignty’, Nandini Chavan says there is a need to go beyond schemes and policies and to focus more on the issue of food sovereignty.
The writer is Programme Coordinator- Research & Publication with Vikas Adhyayan Kendra (VAK), Mumbai. VAK has been working on the issue of food security since the last few years. VAK also operates as a part of ‘People Alliance for Bio Regional Food Sovereignty’. The recommendations of this alliance have been presented to the Parliamentary Forum in Dec 2012.
In ‘Health to the beat of drums-the Panchayat way’, Swapna Majumdar writes how Panchayats can play a key role in ensuring that the government health services reach the needy, as proven by some villages of Rajasthan.
In ‘Youth Voice’, Ashna Contractor asks, ‘Why are we so obsessed with fairness?’. She writes, “We live in a society that already has enough social divisions. We really don’t need an additional dimension of dark versus fair. The fairness benchmark that our society has created for itself hampers people’s self-confidence making them under appreciate themselves for who they are.”
In ‘Great Indians’, we look at the fabulous journey of Dr. Veena Mazumdar, The doyen of Women’s Studies Movement in India (1927-2013) (the profile is authored by Dr. Vibhuti Patel, Professor and Head, Dept. of Economics, SNDT Women's University, Churchgate); and
Lalgudi Jayaraman, the musical maestro (1930-2013) (the profile is authored by Latha Venkatraman, an independent journalist and a student of music); and
the supreme sacrifice of a daring soldier Major Sushil Aima KC. (the profile is by Brigadier Suresh Chandra Sharma (retd).