What comes to your mind when you think of Indian literature, Indian authors, or any kind of Indian writing?
Ramayana and Mahabharata? Vikram Seth, Satyajit Ray, Rabindranath Tagore, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, and other greats of Indian literature?
Contemporary writers of Indian literature like Chetan Bhagat, Durjoy Dutta, Ravinder Singh, Ashwin Sanghi, Amish?
Wikipedia defines Indian Literature as, “Indian literature refers to the literature produced on the Indian subcontinent until 1947 and in the Republic of India thereafter”. (Source: Indian literature – Wikipedia)
While thinking about Indian literature, were you only thinking of Indian Writing in English? Quite likely, the answer to this is yes. Let’s rephrase this question a bit- Name 10 writers you have read in your mother tongue. Five Maybe?
This is a ugly truth I discovered during my masters in English Literature. There was a big gap in the language of our literary stories, and that of our life and conversations. Someone like Gulzar, who at least most of us knew from Bollywood, had to be read in translation!
Within the span of one semester where we studied Indian Literature in Translation, I confronted a deep cultural loss we had faced. That of being unable to read in our mother languages which are otherwise so intuitive. That of being unable to relate to the varying kinds of lives that a country like ours goes through. That of the deep cultural void it had created. This made me very angry.
In 2016, my latent anger met Saurabh Garg’s active passion to bring ideas to life and put thoughts into action. Thus was born Purple Pencil Project, a venture to bring the spotlight back on Indian Literature and take Indian stories to the world.
Prakruti is a creative entrepreneur, curator, and content consultant. She has worked as a journalist with Hindustan Times, holds an MA in English Literature and an MA in Digital Humanities. Her passion lies in digitization, research, and storytelling across the spectrum. Her other passions include cats, snooker pool, going on treks, dancing, and other things she has now forgotten. You can tweet to her @pramankapranam.
Saurabh is a writer, dreamer, and doer at C4E, a marketing communication and events consultancy, as well as small business incubator. He is passionate about marketing, building lasting company cultures, long-term thinking, self-improvement, and more. He tweets at @altsaurabh, and as far as he can help it, never shows his face in public
Amritesh is a part-time writer, and full-time chemistry student. He loves everything literature, and is in charge of the Purple Pencil Project Instagram account, besides also building a strong community of his own @the_bookish_maniac. Gift him a book if you chance upon him and he’ll love you forever.
Trisha De Niyogi is the Chief Operating Officer and Director at Niyogi Books, an homegrown independent publishing house based out of New Delhi, India. In her current role, one of the things she focuses on is business development. While on one hand she has started new lists of fiction, non-fiction and translated books taking literature, art, architecture, history and culture from the Orient to the rest of the globe, on the other, she has been acquiring high quality content from around the world for the Indian subcontinent’s readership as well keeping in mind that publishing must be an inclusive process. It also tries to accommodate voices from both urban and rural India and also from the marginalized section of the society like the dalits, the oppressed and the religious and caste exploitation.
Namrata is a freelancing writer and editor. A published author, she enjoys writing stories and think-pieces on travel, relationships, and gender. She is a UEA alumnus and has studied travel writing at the University of Sydney. She is also an independent editor and a book reviewer. Her writings and essays on literary criticism can be found on various sites and magazines like the Asian Review of Books, Contemporary South Asia Journal of King’s College-London, Mad in Asia, The Friday Times, Daily Star, The Scroll, Feminism in India, The Brown Orient Journal, Kitaab, Inkspire Journal, Moonlight Journal, The Same, Chronic Pain India and Cafe Dissensus. Since 2019, Namrata has also been closely working with publishing houses and authors on book promotions.