To write, first live and undergo struggle

Debarati Palit Singh
Saturday, 16 June 2018

Author Balendu Dwivedi talks about his novel Madaripur Junction and the present status of Hindi literature

Hindi literature boasts of stellar names like Premchand, Jaishankar Prasad, Maithili Sharan Gupt and Mohan Rakesh. Over the years, Hindi literature has evolved and newer writers are connecting with the readers. One such debutant writer, who has won good reviews for his book Madaripur Junction is, Balendu Dwivedi. 

The novel, which takes a look at the self-appointed religious/caste representatives, was showcased at the World Book Fair 2018. Dwivedi tells us more about the book published by Vani Prakashan...
Tell us about the inspiration behind writing Madaripur Junction.

My father was a drawing teacher and an artist too. So art runs in my blood. It’s another thing that I found my art form in writing. My inspiration behind the book was my father, his life, and my village, Gorakhpur. It is omnipresent in my novel. 

Your book has got positive response from readers... 
Thanks. I think the readers are the real power of a writer; they encourage us to write more qualitative literature. The novel has been liked by many. In fact, a group from Allahabad called ‘The Third Bells are adapting my book into a play. They have performed it at Allahabad, Lucknow and Unnao. Another group from Bhubaneshwar called Mukti is also working on a play based on my novel.

Owing to its popularity, the book has been translated into English, Odia and Urdu. How did you ensure that the true essence of the story is maintained while translating it?
Shankarlal Purohit, retired Hindi professor from Cuttack university, has translated the book in Odia, which released last month. Mahtab Haider Naqwi, professor of Aligarh Muslim University, is working on its Urdu translation. And assistant professor of Delhi University, Dr Ved Mitra Shukla is translating the novel in English.

It was a challenge for me to ensure that the true essence of the story is maintained while translating it. Fortunately, I had met each of the translators. They are pretty good at what they do. Purohit is a renowned translator, Mahtab has recently translated the biography of Dilip Kumar. Dr Shukla is an assistant professor of English literature, but he is well acquainted with Hindi literature. They have ensured that the essence of the story remains intact.

You were into government service but moved to writing. How did the transition happen?
Basically, it is very difficult for any government servant to achieve a balance between writing and his duties. But I wanted to do both because I enjoyed writing. When I started working on the novel, I used to wake up early in the morning and write. These stories and characters were inspired from day-to-day life. 

How do you see the growth of Hindi literature not just in terms of quality but quantity? What are some of challenges that Hindi writers face?
It’s an important and golden phase for Hindi literature because a first time writer no longer finds it difficult to publish his/her work. That’s happening because the number of publishers has gone up. There are other mediums to publish our material. But the basic challenge that remains is of quality. Some publishers are using a new word for it —‘nai wali Hindi’. Personally, I believe that these experiments are damaging the real structure of Hindi literature.

The young generation, who is working on ‘nai wali Hindi’, desires to write but lacks experience. Most of them have never struggled. The experience comes from the struggle of life. So it is necessary for new writers to struggle in life if they want to pen realistic literature.

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