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JANUARY 30, 2011

‘I think it’s poetic to write in your mother’s language’

In 2005, a year before he was awarded the Nobel Prize am not afraid of those feelings. ture —and can that happen only if one writes in Latin America. This is parallel to developments in Is there greater conflict between westerniza-
for Literature, Orhan Pamuk faced imprisonment in Would you ever consider writing a love story one’s own language? economics. Of course, they would never get due rec- tion and tradition in Turkey than say, India?
Turkey for commenting on the mass killing of Kurds with a happy ending? Can love stories really I write in Turkish. I never thought of a situation of ognition. It’s so hard to find a publisher if you are  The desire to be acknowledged and understood
and Armenians in that country. Later, the charges of end happily? not writing in one’s own language. But I understand writing in Vietnamese, Korean or Mandarin. Most thoroughly by the west is the same. The anger and
“insulting” the Turkish republic would be dropped  In fiction, anything is possible. Yes, I would to writers who cannot publish in their own language of these countries are written about by writers in resentment towards the west and Europe is perhaps
but Pamuk continued to write about his homeland in write a love story with a happy ending, but I would such as Nabokov and Conrad who were in exile and English and living in the West. But that will change. similar too. The problem is to make tradition live in
the way he wanted. “My Name is Red” was historical, love to write a love story in which every second is switched to English. For me, the pleasure of writing, Do writers have a duty to speak or write against the contemporary world in such a way that we feel
“Istanbul” a memoir and “The Museum of Inno- happy. But will it be convincing and will it sustain the most sentimental, poetic side of writing is to ad- fundamentalism and for freedom of expres- that we don’t lose our roots, that we belong to a histo-
cence” was a tale of obsessive love. Pamuk, 58, who the interest of the reader? I wonder. dress your readers in your mother’s language. A sec- sion? ry, a continuity; that we feel we don’t lose our dignity
teaches comparative literature at Columbia Universi- Do you plan a novel fully before you start  Writers do not have a duty to accept political caus- as we move towards modernity.
ty in the USA, passed through Delhi recently and writing or do you let the characters FOR THE RECORD es, but as citizens of nations and of the world, we Do you write using pen and paper?
talked writing in long hand and literary com- take over as you write? have a duty to tell the truth. Sometimes it’s so hard to When the laptop revolution happened, I was deep
passion to Saira Kurup. Excerpts:  Let’s think of a novel as a tree full ORHAN PAMUK tell the truth. They repress you, put you in jail and into writing by hand. I decided I didn’t want to
of leaves. One cannot imagine all ond language seems artificial to me, but I have re- you understand the person who keeps his silence, change my lifestyle. Garcia Marquez once re-
Which do you prefer to write —sad sto- the leaves; we think of the trunk, spect also for those authors from Milan Kundera to who keeps his dignity. Telling the truth is a very rela- marked that switching to computers made him
ries or happy ones? the branches. Then as we go over Conrad who are obliged to move to another languag- tive thing. write faster. Perhaps. But, maybe, I am conservative
 I am not afraid of being deeply sad and them, we invent the leaves, one by es. But in the end, literature is self-expression and The art of the novel is not only expressing the self in my habits.
deeply happy. Writing a novel is not only ma- one. Compared to other novelists we have to respect the writer whatever language he but also understanding people who are not like us. What is the idea behind your next novel?
naging a story in a most interesting way but though, I know the story ahead (of or she is using. This human trait —to be able to identify with people  When I was born, Istanbul was a city of one mil-
also managing the emotions of writing it). I chapter my books. Do you write with a sense of longing for Turkey? who are not like us— we call compassion. The art of lion. Now they say it’s 11 or 12 million. A lot of immi-
the reader. Characters are When I am stuck in a chapter, I skip To be away and to long for his culture is good for the the novel is based on an ability to feel compassion for gration from poor Anatolia happened from the
there not only to follow a to another one. This saves me both author. It softens the anger but there’s also a sugary people who are not like us. This makes novels work. late 50s, early 60s till, say, 2005. I am writing a novel
plot but also to convey an time and, what Americans call, nostalgia that makes things appear in the book more In my books, I did my best to identify with a funda- that is, in a way, chronicling that immense migra-
emotion that comes the ‘writers block’. I love to charming. But I am never away from Turkey for mentalist militant (even if) I disagree with his politi- tion inside Turkey —the first shantytowns…street
from identifying with sort out the plot. E M For- more than four months in a year. cal views. But a novelist’s motivation is to under- vendors— all the stuff of old-fashioned realistic
the feelings of the ster said that characters Is the novel alive and well in the Middle East? stand rather than pass ethical judgment. novels with some surrealistic touch of fantasy.
characters. Some take over and take the story The art of the novel is alive and well over the world. Are there any Indian writers you admire? What Can creative writing really be taught?
writers are afraid wherever they want…that Don’t be misled by false rumors that the novel is sort of influence, if any, have they had or do they  It’s possible but not very efficiently, perhaps.
of melo-dramatiz- you can’t plan. I disagree. dead. The art of the novel is being overtaken by the have on you? There are authors like Kazuo Ishiguro, Flannery O’
ing their feel- One can plan. Chinese, Indians, Turks, by the emerging bourgeoi-  I have many Indian friends. I talk about them with Conner, who studied (creative writing) and became
ings. I am not Is it important for a writ- sie of the world. Old colonial societies are appearing Kiran (Desai). Salman Rushdie to Amitav Ghosh, great writers. We can’t deny that something posi-
like that. I er to be rooted in his cul- in the global literary market —India, Korea, Africa, Naipaul to Pankaj Mishra —I read them all. tive is happening there, but not all the time too.

The India story Message for Delhi in Arab winds of change

is losing its plot ter of environment, the story
From Morocco
lutionary change are seldom
addressed by revolution, that
those who foment change are
seldom those who seize politi-
Pew Survey on Muslim demo-
graphic trends published on
January 27 (available at
http://pewforum.org/ The-
achievement this has been for
India, but equally we should
understand that this is an
achievement which has to be
RIGHT & WRONG for the next six months may be to Pakistan cal power in the vacuum that Future-of-the-Global-Mus- sustained and remade each
SWAPAN DASGUPTA equally discouraging. As talk and from Syria follows the collapse of the old lim-Population.aspx) projects day. This is why India has to
of a “governance deficit” be- to Indonesia, order, and that often, one form that the global Muslim pop- look at Tunis, Cairo, Algiers
Over the past comes all-pervasive, ‘India in- the Islamic of tyranny replaces another. ulation will grow 35% in the and Sa’na and ask what the
few days, many clusive’—another promotion- world is strug- The spectre of the Muslim next 20 years, with much of lessons are. Above all, it has to
have remarked al line in Davos—is gling with Brotherhood and its many that growth in Asia. This ask what the implications are
on the curious increasingly being seen as the modernity, avatars hovers above the aspi- growth is significantly out- for those parts of the Indian
spectacle of TV eyewash for ‘India elusive’. and particularly with democ- rations of all those in the Ara- pacing that of non-Muslim polity where Muslim/non-
anchors in col- It is not as if those quizzed racy, human rights and eco- bic and wider Muslim world groups, even in areas of Muslim fissures are most ex-
ourful woollies by the Indian media on the 2G nomic justice. Most of the Is- who seek to live freer and strong population growth posed. This means places like
talking to Indian notables in licences and uncompetitive lamic world is ruled by more just live. With the eye of overall. This poses a challenge Kashmir. It is not to question
their cashmere overcoats interest rates are unaware of unrepresentative elites, the storm presently in North for India in two ways. One, the Kashmir’s place as part of In-
about Indian issues, amid the emerging wrinkles on the whose power flows not from Africa, it will be interesting to threat implicit in turbulence dia, or to cede a square inch of
idyllic snow-covered sur- face of Bharat Mata. It is an democratic legitimacy but see whether a hurricane of in Pakistan, which may arise ground to terrorism or to Pa-
roundings. Don’t get me open secret that the mood in from repressive militaries unrest spreads across the from political instability and kistani interference, but to
wrong. There is nothing Indian business circles is dis- and intelligence agencies. whole Islamic world. Even if it popular efforts to oust Pakis- ask a deeper question about
wrong in interrogating Mon- tinctly downbeat. They know The street protests that have does not, the events of the past tan’s ruling elites. The other, the relationship of ordinary
tek Singh Ahluwalia, Kamal that the ‘India story’ is mean- erupted in Tunisia, Algeria, few weeks have sent a shock- the implications for India’s Kashmiri Muslims to the Indi-
Nath or, for that matter, Rahul dering. Yemen, Egypt and elsewhere wave to every Muslim capital, own Muslim population. With an state. Do ordinary Kashmi-
Bajaj and Uday Kotak on the Yet, Davos 2011 has an In- have long been predicted and including those in South Asia. RAGE AND VIOLENCE IN CAIRO respect to the latter, India has ri Muslims experience the In-
Indian economy and the “gov- dia story, but a hidden one. On surely signal the beginning of The media and blogosphere in the huge advantage of a func- dian state as a guarantor —or
ernance deficit”. But why not the face of it, the CII is putting a period of upheaval and in- Pakistan has, however, been media through which the elite elsewhere in the future, will tioning democracy, of eco- at least as an agent —of politi-
do it in Delhi and Mumbai? on a brave face, hosting the ‘In- stability which – sooner or lat- strangely muted with few re- addresses itself and its imme- connect with the lives of ordi- nomic growth, of a robust fed- cal freedom, justice, and eco-
Must we literally reduce the dia adda’ (which, incidentally, er —is likely to lead to pro- flections on the wider politi- diate constituency, it is rea- nary Pakistanis and the struc- eral dispensation, and of a nomic and social security or
annual World Economic Fo- in colloquial Bangla, implies a found change. At the moment, cal implications of the dem- sonable to conclude that Pa- tural problems of Pakistani secular polity that guarantees do they experience it as re-
rum jamboree in Davos to an convivial but purposeless in- the protests have yet to ignite onstrations for Pakistan. The kistan’s rulers are confident politics and the Pakistani the rights and freedom of all pressive power? To the extent
‘India adda’? teraction) and doggedly sell- the imagination of the Mus- few reflections out in blo- both of the political passivity economy. What we can say, its citizens de jure, if not al- the answer is the latter, the
These are not the envious ing India as a worthwhile al- lim poor, who have not gosphere point out the struc- of ordinary Pakistanis and of from the winds of change that ways de facto. This is why In- challenge for India is to find
and insolent gripes of some- ternative to both China and grasped the real power they tural differences between their ability to contain any blew through Africa in the dia has always been able to ab- ways to move to the former.
one who has never had the the troubled west. As a collec- have in unity, but demograph- states currently in turmoil turbulence that may arise. 1960s, and across central and sorb blows, from within and The writer is associate
privilege of visiting Davos tive, Indian business is doing ic realities and negative eco- and Pakistan, and reassure There is more than a whiff of Eastern Europe in the late from without, which other- dean at the University of Brad-
during the Rich List season. its patriotic bit. At the level of nomic trends suggest they Pakistanis that the hurricane the hubris of all ruling elites 1980s, is that political and so- wise might have created irre- ford, UK
There is a larger issue. The the corporation, however, its will. Revolution is a danger- will barely be a breeze should about this. Outside that elite cial courage is contagious. We concilable fissures between  My Times, My Voice:
WEF meet in Davos isn’t by Davos mission is different. ous and uncertain thing. His- it ever reach Islamabad. we do not know, and cannot yet can also say that Muslim de- Muslim and non-Muslim pop- Like this article? SMS MTMVCOL
any reckoning an India semi- The networking of corporate tory teaches that the genuine Given that the English lan- know, how the events in Tunis, mographics are likely to com- ulations. We should not over- <space> Yes or No to 58888.
nar. While India isn’t the inci- bigwigs is guided by a sharp grievances which drive revo- guage press in Pakistan is the Cairo, Sa’na, and Algiers and pound the pressures. The US look what an enormous Charges applicable. Rs 3 per sms
dental footnote it was in the eye for opportunities outside
early-1990s, global investors India, not least, in the west. In-
don’t also see it as the obses-
sion it was in 1492 when Co-
lumbus embarked on his
search for the elusive western
sea route from Europe.
dia Inc is hedging its bets.
The trend is unmistaka-
ble. According to a Columbia
University study, Indian com-
panies invested more than $75
Private enterprise can save the public sector In a similar vein, air travel has gone from be- sales without transfer of management. The Na- reason for larger gains when privatization in-
“Amongst the delegates,” billion overseas between 2000
IN PRINCIPLE ing the exclusive preserve of the rich and of gov- tional Democratic Alliance (NDA) also under- volves the transfer of ownership is that it ends
wrote stockbroker Paul and 2010. This included some NANDINI GUPTA & ARVIND PANAGARIYA ernment officials to within the reach of the took strategic sales involving majority equity political interference in public enterprises.
Fletcher in a blog from Davos, $14 billion invested by the Tata common man. The private sector has led the stakes and the consequent transfer of manage- These results accord with the argument
“there is a feeling that if we group in the United Kingdom. he multiple mega-corruption scandals way in this too: from being totally absent in the ment into private hands in 14 enterprises. that private entrepreneurs are better equipped
hear another session on de-
mographics or China versus
India we may protest.”
Indian companies are now the
second largest investors in
UK, the third largest in Ger-
T have exposed yet again the gaping holes
in our governance system. Any “fix” for
this problem must include scaling back the
early 1990s, it accounted for 82% of the market
in 2010.
Taking the minority equity sales episodes
first, it turns out that the enterprises subject to
These examples suggest that one route to these sales experience a significant increase in
to take commercial decisions than govern-
ment-appointed managers who must balance
commercial considerations with a variety of
Such a forthright disre- many and their investments role of the government in activities in which the withdrawal of public enterprises is gradu- average sales, gross fixed assets, profits, net non-commercial objectives of the government.
gard for the so-called ‘India in Indonesia may touch $15 the private sector has the necessary compe- al dilution of their share in the market. Data worth, and cash profits in the post-sales phase. It is important to note that privatization of
story’ may understandably of- billion. RBI figures reveal that tence. Among other things, this calls for bring- shows that this process has Comparing disinvested en- many of the largest public enterprises, which
fend nationalist sentiments Indian FDI in the British Vir- ing the privatization of public sector enter- been at work in almost all terprises to enterprises that happen to be in sectors such as electricity,
and bring on the ‘west versus gin Islands rose 102% to touch prises back on the policy agenda. Fiscal sectors in which public en- have been selected for priva- mining and mineral, is not at issue at the mo-
rest’ polarization that keeps $542 million in 2010; and in the compulsions have yet again returned the gov- terprises operate. Many Disinvested enterprises tization but have not yet sold ment. For example, few advocates of privatiza-
many public intellectuals in Channel Islands, it amounted ernment to minority equity sales in public en- government enterprises experience a significant any equity, a 10 percentage tion suggest privatizing the National Thermal
business. But the harsh truth to $516 million in 2010 against terprises, but a genuine exit from production run at a loss and keeping increase in access to point rise in private equity is Power Corporation, Oil and Natural Gas Cor-
is that India has been sold, re- a modest $44 million in 2009. activity requires transferring the manage- them afloat for long at the shown to increase, on aver- poration Ltd. or GAIL (India) Ltd. any time
sold and re-re-sold in so many And these are just the ‘white’, ment into private hands. taxpayer’s expense has loans, suggesting age, annual sales by 3.3%, re- soon. What we must do, however, is to begin de-
samosa and Sula evenings kosher investments. The developments in two sectors—telecom- high social costs. improved prospects for turns to sales by 3.8%, and veloping a strategy of genuine privatization of
that it has lost novelty. The Da- The reasons why Indian munications and airlines—powerfully illus- A recent comprehen- financing future growth net worth to sales by 17%. many manufacturing and services enterpris-
vos lot is aware and excited by business is exploring alterna- trate what the private sector can accomplish sive analysis of privatiza- Disinvested enterprises also es. There is little defense for keeping firms such
India’s potential — who tives to India are well known. when the public sector withdraws, even if par- tion episodes in India by experience a significant in- as Air India, HMT Watches Ltd., Indian Drugs
wouldn’t be at the thought of a For the past few years, the tially. For decades, Indians suffered a poor tele- one of us (Gupta) offers compelling evidence crease in access to loans, suggesting improved and Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Hindustan Cables
91 million-strong middle class business environment has be- phone service, which was accessible to only a in favour of increased returns on investment prospects for financing future growth. Fur- Ltd. and National Jute Manufacturers Corpo-
by 2030? They are also aware come increasingly wayward select few. Under the department of telecom- following privatization. The favourable im- thermore, disinvestment does not result in low- ration Ltd. in the public sector. The discussion
but a little less moved by the and unfriendly. From growing munications’ monopoly, there were just 5 mil- pact turns out to be many times larger when er employment or reduced wage compensa- on privatization should be an essential part of
realization that calculating infrastructural bottlenecks to lion telephone subscribers until as late as privatization involves the transfer of manage- tion. the broader debate on governance that the re-
opportunity costs aren’t red tape and corruption, the March 1991. The entry of private providers in ment into private hands, rather than just the The positive effects are magnified manifold cent corruption scandals have triggered.
among the inherited attri- cost of business is becoming the early 1990s, coupled with the implementa- sale of minority equity. when privatization involves the transfer of The authors are professors at Indiana and
butes of the timeless “ancient too expensive and trouble- tion of the new telecom policy in 1999, dramat- Between 1991 and 2010, the central govern- management. The sales and returns to sales in- Columbia Universities, respectively
civilization, new nation” (In- some. The larger stability ically altered the picture, with subscriber ment raised approximately Rs 960 billion crease on average by 23% and 21%, respectively,
dia’s self-description in the needed for sustained growth numbers reaching a staggering 723 million in through minority equity sales and outright following genuine privatization. The improve-  My Times, My Voice: Like this article?
billboards of Davos). has been replaced by social September 2010. Private sector companies sup- privatization. Of 247 central government enter- ments in performance are not accompanied by SMS MTMVCOL <space>Yes or No to
The irritation at the mis- tension and political venality. ply nearly 90% of these subscribers. prises, 46 have been subject to minority equity layoffs or falling worker compensation. One 58888.Charges applicable. Rs 3 per sms
match between words and Against these hassles, even
deeds has begun to show: the the high-cost west seems

Defying Manu: rise of the Dalit capitalist

latest report by the Reserve tempting.
Bank of India shows that for- Global capitalism has a
eign direct investment in In- sharp antenna. Its stalwarts
dia declined by 36% between may leave Davos and its adda
April and September 2010 with a quirky poser: the future
compared to the same period could belong to Indians but THE BOTTOMLINE tomobile parts, garments and knitted gar- neurship —initiative, hard work, ambition,
in 2009. This decline coincides does it belong to India? ments, printing machines. Some others are in etc —is well-entrenched in the Dalit communi-
 My Times, My Voice:
with FDI growth of 17% in D SHYAM BABU construction, the services sector, garment ex- ty. There is increasing evidence of this from a
non-Arab Asia. Whispers Like this article? SMS MTMVSDG Recently, a group of 30 Dalit en- port and handicrafts, etc. Their visit to the survey carried out by Devesh Kapur of Penn-
from North Block suggest that <space> Yes or No to 58888. trepreneurs, many of whom are Planning Commission was a message to the sylvania University’s Centre for the Advanced
thanks to a rampaging minis- Charges applicable. Rs 3 per sms manufacturers, visited the Plan- power elite that they exist. Before leaving Del- Study of India.
ning Commission at the invita- hi, they threw a party that became a media Too often do policymakers treat capitalism
tion of its deputy chairman, event. as a system of economics and finance. Too of-
TIMES OF YESTERDAY / R K LAXMAN MAY 22, 1984 Montek Singh Ahluwalia. The What next? Milind Kamble, chairman of ten do they ignore its potential for social trans-
meet was unstructured; the the Pune-based Dalit Indian Chamber of Com- formation. The truth is the tenets of the mar-
hosts content to watch the new merce and Industry (DICCI), says the 1,000- ket and Manu Smriti cannot coexist. When the
phenomenon —the Dalit, quintessential under- member body is largely confined to western market’s influence increased after 1991, the
dog, embracing entrepreneurship and becoming India but plans are afoot to open chapters in Dalits did not wait for the state to guide them
a capitalist or at least, setting up small-scale in- other states. DICCI’s Punjab chapter is to be in- towards entrepreneurship.
dustries. Meanwhile, the Dalit visitors were elat- augurated in March. Dalit capitalism today is akin to the origins
ed at the reception they got. Two inferences are inescapable. First, the of a mighty river. The spirit of adventure will
Almost all of them are first-generation entre- SPIRIT OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP development is nothing short of a minor revo- find its own course, the journey will take a long
preneurs. Just a couple of decades ago, they were lution. That these entrepreneurs are a micro- time and it will be turbulent. What is certain is
neither well-endowed nor well educated. Only a lines a few years ago when she took over Kama- scopic minority in a community known its this - the Dalit capitalist will be an effective cat-
few had benefited from government schemes. ni Tubes Ltd. Right now, she is in the process of poverty and deprivation cannot diminish alyst in ending the community’s mental bond-
Each one had a rags-to-riches story. putting the company back on the rails. their significance. They have proved that India age —that is the belief they are inferior, their
Three decades ago, Rajendra Gaikwad was a Ratibhai Makwana’s Gujarat Pickers is a now offers enough opportunities, irrespective plight is linked to birth and that the govern-
fogger in a pesticide company. Today, he has an large polymer distributor. His nephew, Jeetu of caste and creed, to make it in life with hard ment alone can raise them up.
ISO-certified company —G T Pest Control Pvt Makwana produces monofilament and multi- work. The Dalit entrepreneurs appear to have The author is a fellow at the Rajiv Gandhi
Ltd., which operates in Punjab, Maharashtra, filament yarn twine tape. understood and grabbed the new opportuni- Institute for Contemporary Studies
Goa and Delhi and employs 400 people. Further The 30-strong group’s activities are strik- ties offered by economic reform since 1991.
MISGOVERNANCE: The government feigned ignorance about who afield, it also operates in Singapore and has plans ingly diverse. Their range of products in- Second, Dalit capitalism —a term coined  My Times, My Voice: Like this article?
instigated communal violence and terrorism in the country to enter Malaysia and Thailand. cludes hi-fi sound systems and home theatre, by activist Chandra Bhan Prasad —is no tran- SMS MTMVCOL <space> Yes or No to
Then there is Kalpana Saroj, who made head- sugar, spirit and ethanol, cement products, au- sient phenomenon. The spirit of entrepre- 58888. Charges applicable. Rs 3 per sms