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Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Exploring the Essence: A Conversation with Sahitya Akademi Award Winner Mrinal Kalita on his Novel Bakul Phular Dore

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Step into the captivating world of literature as we delve deep into the pages of Mrinal Kalita’s latest masterpiece, “Bakul Phular Dore”. In an exclusive interview, we uncover the inspiration behind the creation of this literary gem, exploring the intricacies of character development, plot twists, and the profound themes woven seamlessly throughout the narrative. From the author’s poignant reflections on the shortcomings of the education system to his impassioned plea for nurturing creativity in children, every word resonates with sincerity and depth. Through the lens of a mathematician-turned-author, Kalita offers a unique perspective on the importance of literature, emphasizing its power to evoke emotion, stimulate the mind, and shape our understanding of the world. As readers embark on a journey under the Bakul tree, they are invited to experience not just a story, but a transformative exploration of the human spirit, leaving an indelible mark on their hearts and minds. Here’s what the author shared on our exclusive interview with him.

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Congratulations on the success of “Bakul Phular Dore”and the Sahitya Akademi Award you received for the same! We would love to know what was that driving spark which made you create this bestseller.

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Mrinal Kalita: Thanks. I have my own experience as a student and as a teacher of Mathematics and I feel that our education system lacks the scope for creativity. In our schools and colleges Mathematics is not taught as a creative subject but as a drill-like activity. Students are encouraged to memorise the formulae and use those to solve some problems which after a certain point becomes tedious and monotonous for the students. Moreover, I have my own opinion about our degraded social political and cultural scenario. I have also seen the plight of the poor students of my village from a proximity. Some of them have to work at the illegal quarry to earn their livelihood. All these experiences, feelings and thoughts drove me to write the novel.

2. This book covers few of the very important themes that are crucial in shaping a child’s wellbeing. Where do you think is the loophole in addressing these issues in our Assamese society?

Answer: Lack of political will. Our political leaders want the poor should always remain dependent on them so that they can buy their votes merely by making them beneficiaries of their short-sighted schemes. The policymakers of our education system and the so-called intellectuals don’t have first-hand knowledge of the ground realities of our villages. Rampant corruption and gross dishonesty prevalent in every sphere of our lives are making the situation worse.

3. What message would you like to convey to parents and educators via this book?

Answer: Don’t expect too much from our political leaders and intellectuals. Be your own sunshine. Try to mould the future of your children by encouraging and nurturing the creativity in your children with utmost care. Motivate them to avoid shortcuts to success. Redefine the word “success” to them in a more humanistic way rather than in terms of money, property, fame and position so that we don’t have to shed tears for our successful but selfish children in the darkness of sleepless nights.

Under the Bakul Tree By Mrinal Kalita

4. Coming from an academic and professional background of Mathematics, how important do you think is the knowledge of literature for an author?

Answer: Coming from an academic and professional background in Mathematics, frankly speaking, I don’t have the knowledge of literary theories. This, I think, is a blessing in disguise. As I don’t know what a short story or a novel is,how to write it and what its characteristics are—I write it in my own way. Lack of knowledge of literary theories thus may add to the originality of a piece of writing. I fear— that knowledge of theories may prove to be bondage to the creative power of a writer. In his book A Mathematician’s Apology G H Hardy wrote, “In a good proof there is a very high degree of unexpectedness, combined with inevitability and economy.” For me that is also the ‘definition’ of a good story or a good novel. In mathematics, we have various types of tools like method of contradiction, method of contra positive etc to establish a statement. I think that the writers also knowingly or unknowingly try to establish some ‘statements’ through their stories. In that way, my mathematics background has been influencing my style of writing.

5. Fiction readers often complain that people judge them for reading imaginary stories. How would you justify fiction in this matter as an award-winning novelist yourself?

Answer: I want to answer to this question by quoting Darwin. He wrote, “…if I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.”

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In closing, Mrinal Kalita’s insights into “Bokul Phular Dore” offer readers a poignant journey into the human experience, weaving together themes of love, loss, and resilience. His ability to capture the essence of Assamese culture and tradition through storytelling is both captivating and profound. As readers delve into the pages of his book, they are sure to be transported to a world rich in emotion and authenticity, where the beauty of life’s complexities is celebrated with every turn of the page.

ALSO READ : ASSAM’S PARISHMITA BARUAH SHINES AS PANELIST AT WORLD BOOK FAIR, NEW DELHI

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