A month ago, I had a chance to discuss poetry, literature, literary scene in India and many other things related to writing with a well-known poet from India – Kunal Narayan Uniyal. He has authored several books and his books have also been translated into several other languages. He writes in Hindi and English with equal expertise. Here is the shorter version of my interview with Kunal. You can read the full interview with the poet here: Kunal Narayan Uniyal
Alok: How do you think literature can bring solace to the modern problems that society faces?
Kunal: Literature has always played a vital role in development of a civilization. Since the ancient times, it’s literature which has paved the way for people to progress. Also, it is literature that provides people an opportunity to derive peace, motivation, and prospects of their future.
Literature is by literates, scholars, and philosophers. In other words, the one who has squeezed out life and summed it up in the simplest fashion for people to understand and then create something more beautiful, more creative and understand what life really had kept from them. Not reading or following those treasures of the word is leading to all problems. If people give even a scanty part of their life to the devotion towards literature, most of the problems will cease to be.
Alok: What are your views on the current literary scene in India?
Kunal: It’s good and growing. With many new writers exploring their possibilities and ready to experiment with their writings, it does give new dimensions to literature. Previously, only a few writers used to occupy a prominent place and it seemed that the guild never used to allow the new generation to emerge. Rules were laid down and people were expected to write in the same fashion as has been done since the ages. But literature is all about progress and until and unless you create a style of your own, you haven’t contributed to literature. But in doing so, one has to be careful not to deviate or twist the writing so much that it turns out to be damaged and beyond repairs. Innovate but with a careful and heartfelt approach is the demand of Indian literary scene at present.
Alok: What are your views about poetry in English (in India) and poetry in regional languages? Can we connect them to expand the canvas of our literary achievements?
Kunal: Poetry is poetry, be it English or in any other regional languages. Language, style, meters can be different but emotions, thoughts, and ideas remain same guiding people to bliss and giving then a path to tread. Each individual, when born, encounters a regional language initially and then the rest follows. So that language he has encompassed since his birth will always be close to his heart and he would surely associate with it much better as compared to a language he learns in his daily traits of life. Thus, writing in his regional language would be truly from the heart and far sensitive than writing in any other language.
Both the languages can then be amalgamated to bring the best out of it. Translating from one language to another can be an ardent task and thus help is required from one who has thorough knowledge and command of both the languages. My books are being translated into several languages but all under careful observation by prominent and professional translators who make sure that words might change but not the ideas.
And as in many languages, the book is available, it would reach to as many people. Your audience would increase and this would give them a better idea about your writings. You have created words out of thoughts and then the purpose should be to let it reach to as many people as possible. Translation is one of the best means of doing so as I have already mentioned, people relate to someone more easily and quickly if he speaks or writes in their language.