Tamil, Threats and Transgression: Charu Nivedita on ‘Symbols of Diversity in Writing’
MANIPAL: Day two of the Manipal International Literature and Arts Platform (M.I.L.A.P.) at TMA Pai Hall, was kick-started with a conversation between Charu Nivedita, a popular post-modern Tamil writer and Deepti Sreeram, titled ‘Symbols of Diversity in Writing: Voicing Dissent’.
Talking about his writing career, Charu Nivedita spoke on his experience of being dismissed as explicit and then widely celebrated for his 25 odd years of contribution to literature. Recognised as one of the ‘Top 25 Personalities’ of Tamil Nadu, he elaborated on his inclination towards the culture of France and the French writers, extreme consequences of the transgressive nature of his work and dissent in opinions.
He expressed his views regarding the lack of recognition, despite high standards of contemporary Tamil literature and said the reason behind it is the unawareness of the intelligentsia. Charu threw light on the fanatic nature of the masses for famous actors and celebrities. He revealed, “You cannot escape from films in Tamil Nadu. Cinema is Tamil’s religion and Cinema is Tamil’s politics. I stopped writing Tamil movie reviews because it is so dangerous.”
“It is not only about expression but also about content. I do not belong to Tamil Nadu, there is no sense of belonging. I don’t belong anywhere,” he told speaking about the influence of his background and hardships on his written work. He made sure to mention the inspiration he drew from his father figure Ashokamitran, a writer regarded as one of the most influential figures in post-independent Tamil literature, who, in turn, is not very comfortable with Charu, like almost all of his fellow writers.
The session concluded with an interaction with the audience where parallels between French and Tamil writing were drawn and Charu answered many questions giving insights into his differing perspective, upcoming books, and translations.
Featured Image Courtesy: Anwesha Shyam
Edited by: Niharika Nambiar