No Surprise if Indian Bags Lit Nobel: Satchidanandan

New Delhi
No Surprise if Indian Bags Lit Nobel: Satchidanandan
Seasoned Malayalam poet K Satchidanandan, who has been writing for over 40 years, says there is a wealth of writing in Indian languages that has not yet been discovered outside the country due to which it loses out on big literary prizes such as the Nobel.

Satchidanandan along with Vijaydan Detha, a octogenarian short story writer hailing from Rajasthan figure among probables for this year's Nobel Prize for Literature, that is likely to be announced on Thursday, October 6.

British online site Ladbrokes has tipped Detha and Satchidanandan along with Swedish poet Tomas Transtroemer, Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, Australia's Les Murray, Kenya's Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Somalia's Nuruddin Farah, Hungary's Peter Nadas, Korean poet Ko Un and China's Bei Dao as probable contestants shortlisted by the highly secretive Prize.

"I think writers in India are versatile in the languages and consider some of them even better that many writers around the world and I would not think of it as strange if an Indian does bag the Nobel," Satchidanandan told PTI from Kochi where he is currently attending a Sahitya Akademi poetry workshop.

The site is putting the odds on France-based Syrian poet Adonis who writes in Arabic to bag this year's 10 mn Swedish crown (USD 1.46 million) closely watched Nobel Literature.

"Adonis is a poet that I have always admired, he is an important voice in Arabic poetry. Another poet Transtroemer of Sweden is one of the finest poets also the Chinese poet Bei Dao I know personally," says Satchidanandan.

Detha, popularly known as Bijji draws from the local folklore and dialects of Rajasthan and has over 800 short stories to his credit and his stories and novels have been adapted for plays and films including Habib Tanvir's "Charandas Chor" and Amol Palekar's "Paheli".

When contacted Detha says, "Anybody would feel nice to know that his name is being considered for the Prize which was won by Rabindranath Tagore."

"I used to write in Hindi when I started out initially but felt it is my responsibility to write in Rajasthani and promote the local dialects whenever I write," says the 85-year -old author who says his readers are always before him when he spins out his stories.

"I write short stories, novels and essays and write for the young as well as the old. Writing is an art which is honed with practice. I kept writing for my own magazine Lok Sanskriti and kept refining my writing" says the author.

Poet Satchidanandan says writing in English gets more visibility especially in the West. "I write in Malayalam but my works have been translated into Italian, French and even Arabic. I have attended many international festivals, but there are a lot of good writers in vernacular languages who remain unknown because they are not translated."

In 1913 Rabindranath Tagore became the first Indian to bag the Nobel for Literature. Rudyard Kipling, born in Mumbai, 1865 was awarded the Nobel for the same in 1907. In 2001 it went to V S Naipaul.

The Nobel Committee sends out invitation letters in September each year to 600-700 individuals and organisations qualified to nominate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. The statutes of the Nobel Foundation restrict disclosure of information about the nominations for 50 years.

Members of the Swedish Academy, Professors of literature and of linguistics at universities and university colleges, previous Nobel Laureates in Literature and presidents of those societies of authors that are representative of the literary production in their respective countries are qualified to submit proposals for the Nobel Literature Prize.

Last year the Literature prize went to Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru.
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