Mobs violence is engineered, not spontaneous: Author Chandan Pandey

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Way back in 2014-15, when an engineer was lynched by a mob in Pune, it got author Chandan Pandey thinking. While one hears of road rage and murders almost everyday, Pandey says the fact that when a crowd is created — with sometimes through calls given over the loudspeakers of different religious places — facts and fiction mixed, and killings executed coldly, it demands more than a newspaper headline.

His novel ‘Legal Fiction’ (originally Vaidhanik Galp), translated by Bharatbhooshan Tiwari and published by HarperCollins India , which recently hit the stands reflects on several realities faced by contemporary India including the controversial CAA, ‘Love Jihad’, hate mongering and mob lynchings. In fact, the author took back the original manuscript written long back from the Hindi publisher to add different elements. “Yes. I had submitted a long novel in 2015. However, in order to ascertain that the message was not lost, I amended the story and made three novels. This one is the first in the series.”

Pandey also wanted to go into the history of mob-lynchings and find out if they had been happening across the world in the past. “American history is rife with this. In every generation of American history, such incidents have occurred. For example, when the non-white Americans were granted franchise. I wanted to explore that in the Indian mentality.”

Adding that the powers-to-be tend to claim that the mob and its actions are spontaneous, the author stresses that in most cases, the reverse is true. “It is mostly premeditated. After the violence has subsided and the names of people present there come out in public domain, one wonders what were they doing there in the first place?”

Talk to him about the liberals’ chair-borne analysis of extreme right wing, and how their dismissive attitude had led to a completely wrong reading of different organisations, the author admits that it is foolish to think that the right wing does not understand psychology or lacks organisational skills, not to mention immense swaying power. “I read somewhere that they just pretend to be foolish. They might initially try to present their ideas as jokes, but later become steadfast. Instead of dismissing them, we should be trained to see how they function.”

As he talks about ‘Love Jihad’ in his book, Pandey, whose father worked in Government Railway Police, feels that the Indian police establishment needs a complete overhaul. “Sadly, they are always side on the side of the powerful. In the police barracks, you might find an individual devouring a brilliant piece of literature. However, the moment they don the uniform, there is complete metamorphosis.”

Smiling that he does not really have the kind of a dream life that a writer imagines, Pandey, who works with the TATA group says, “So many authors spend a major part of their mornings writing. Well, I have to be ready for the office cab everyday. There is no method to my writing process as I need to travel a lot for work. But yes, nowadays, I wake up at 3 am to sit on the writing desk.”

Lamenting that Hindi writers mostly get a raw deal — lack of scholarships and grants, not to mention unprofessionalism of many from Hindi language publishing houses, he says, “All my friends warn me — ‘don’t even think about leaving your job. When we talk about Hindi, there are two types of people. The establishment and people who love it. There was a time when many Hindi publishers would not even release the paperback edition of books for years. Of course things are slowly changing with new age ones coming up. Also, one tends to compare things with English ones. The kind of effort put in by the latter — agents, editors, marketing, payments etc,” says the writer whose first story was published in 2004.

(Sukant Deepak can be contacted at sukant.d@ians.in)

–IANS

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