Talented contemporary Hindi writer Chandan Pandey was recently here at Jain (Deemed-to-be University) to conduct a workshop on Hindi creative writing. We caught up with him for an interview. Here’s the excerpt.
Hindi is the biggest connecting language in India. So, what do you have to say about the potential of Hindi writing in today’s time?
It’s immense. You need to see the growing dimensions. Earlier it was only story writing. But now people are increasingly showing interest in scriptwriting, news writing, drama writing. So new dimensions are opening towards Hindi writers. The perception towards Hindi writers has also changed over the years. And this is because of the emergence of new topics, themes, and concepts. Even the Hindi film industry has also evolved over the years. In the past 20 years it has transformed remarkably in tune with the changing demand and perception, and that is only because of the creative approach towards Hindi writing.
How well is Hindi writing perceived by the youth at present?
It is perceived really well because the Hindi writers are exploring new concepts and highlighting new perspectives to better connect with the present millennial. Ever since the wave of globalization hit the Indian shore in the 1990s, our society witnessed many changes. People began to be more vocal about different issues. Social problems like gender inequity, illiteracy, poverty, corruption, violence against women, etc. frequently found mention in Hindi writing. And consequently, it helped the writers to keep pace with reality. Even now they are continuing to hold up contemporary ideas through their writings.
Are we yet to achieve the global status of Hindi? Or do you think we are already there?
No, we are yet to achieve. This is because the works done in Hindi are not enough promoted in global platforms. We have Hindi writers like Uday Prakash who produce brilliant contemporary narratives, but they haven’t received global recognition that they deserve. Hence, I think we are yet to achieve that.
What initiatives do you think we must take to achieve that?
The publishing agencies must take initiatives to achieve that global status. But they haven’t started anything yet towards achieving that. One of the biggest reasons is - they are content with the fund that they receive for selling Hindi books through libraries and book stores. This has caused to subvert the urge among them towards global marketing and promotion. And this has brought down the scopes for a global readership. We need such agencies who can open up marketing avenues to reach the large Indian diaspora spread globally. However, on the other hand, contemporary writers like Uday Prakash, Akhilesh, Kunal Singh, Neelakshi Singh are producing really great works. And their stories have immense potential to draw global attention.
Oxford Global Languages Programme has recently included Hindi as its 9th language. And, Hindi now has its own official website. How important are such digital platforms to increase awareness for the Hindi language?
First I would like to say, this has happened largely because the international institutions and publishing houses are gradually realizing the potential of Hindi writers and their works. And for the digital platforms, yes, they have great significance in contemporary time. These platforms will not only help to increase awareness of the Hindi language but also help to take literary works to potential readers across the globe. Hindi is a connecting language for more than 60 crore people and interest in this language is on the rise. Hence national and international publishers alike are initiating new marketing strategies to keep up with that demand. And an example of that is the easy availability of books in great variety and (not decline in their price) their affordable prices.
What do you have to say about this initiative (Hindi Workshop) taken by Jain (Deemed-to-be University)?
It’s an amazing opportunity not just for the participants but also for us, who have come here as guest instructors. I have met and interacted with twenty-five aspiring writers from different regions across India. And each of them inspired me to talk about new opportunities as well as the fundamentals of writing. And it’s even more fascinating because a university has taken up this initiative, and I heartily appreciate Jain (Deemed-to-be University) for furthering this scope.