Indian writers reflect their own country, says Shashi
It is not elitism or looking down on the local language but because they can express themselves better in English which comes naturally to them
Jun 14, 2008
The New Indian Express

Indian writers in English, constantly under fire for prefering the 'foreign language' and thus causing harm to the regional ones, have found a vocal champion in diplomat and writer Dr Shashi Tharoor.

The new generation of Indian writers might be writing in English but they reflect on their own country, uphold its cultural identity and express the society in a similar way as writers in regional languages do. It is not elitism or looking down on the local language but it is because English comes naturally to them, he observed. "Unlike writers in other countries who write in English about distant lands, Indian writers depict their own. Language is only a vehicle and not the destination".

Haraprasad Das receiving the Sarala Award from Shashi Tharoor in the presence of Dr Bansidhar Panda

Arguing against the contempt for English, the former Under Secretary-General of UN said there should be no discrimination between a peasant, who is termed Indian, and an urban socialite, considered unIndian for his modern lifestyle. "Historically, English has helped us find the nationalist voice. Jawharlal Nehru wrote in English and his works stirred the whole nation. The message of freedom struggle was also spearheaded in English", he observed.

Tharoor presented the prestigious Sarala award to acclaimed writer Haraprasad Das for his work 'Harmoniumre Todi'. The award instituted by IMPaCT, the charitable wing of IMFA, carries a shawl, citation and cash prize of Rs 1.5 lakh.

Responding to Das's reflection on experience of writers, Tharoor said once in a while the writer is forced to think of a text. He is faced with the dilemma---- if the text belongs to himself or the reader. But the text belongs to the writer as no same story can be said by different persons in the same way. At the same time the text may contain hidden meaning which the writer is not aware of while writing. So, the text ceases to belong to writer here, he said.

Folk writer Binod Kumar Pasayat, teacher Abhay Charan Chalan, Music Director Prafulla Kar and sand artist Sudarshan Patnaik were also felicitated by Trust president Dr Bansidhar Panda. Working president Shantanu Kumar Acharya and Secretary Rajkishore Mishra were present.

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