Saturday, Jul 02, 2022
Outlook.com
Opinion

Kashmir: Of ‘Stories’ And Friends

Thousands of books are written every year and thousands, if not more, are read every year; but to what end? In a world full of strife and pain, do ‘stories’ ever change anything?

Exiles of the Valley By Veer Munshi, 1990

Recently, I was part of a panel discussion titled Beginnings and Endings in the context of writing a novel. At the end of the session, a member of the audience stood up with a question. As per the man’s own confession, he has been asking this question to every writer of fiction that he comes across. Thousands of books are written every year, he asked, and thousands, if not more, are read every year; but to what end? In a world full of strife and pain, do ‘stories’ ever change anything?

The answers from the dais — some convincing, some not so convincing — included various iterations of art for art’s sake, catharsis, escapism, self-expression, vent to the imagination, the usual suspects, that is. The man with the question sat back in his chair. He had nothing more to say. For all practical purposes, the question was answered. However, I was perturbed. It was a sort of irritation that you feel when you cheat someone without meaning to do it. The purpose of art is a question as old as art itself, as are the answers. Answers that may leave you unconvinced but never resentful like the answers from that dais had left me. What did I miss?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement