Monday, February 24, 2014

The Danger of Doniger’s Book Pulping


Wendy Doniger’s book Hinduism: An Alternate History was pulped. Enough has been written about it by the pundits of prose and I need not go into them here. But there are two aftermathic consequences I wish to draw attention to here. The book must be pulp by now, rotting in the gutter or in the recycling factory but two things give me sleepless nights, i.e., causes for frequent hotness under the collar.

Censorship
One, first and foremost is Censorship. There is grave danger here. The publishers instead of being editors would turn into censors and will stop considering whatever they don’t like. The excuses they can mouth are so many:
No, this won’t sell
No, the plot line is weak
There’s no market for this
To them I say: first you publish a cerebral author writing about controversial and topical human issues and then see if there is a market for it. With this attitude of censoriousness nothing controversial can be published in India and we will have more cookbooks, hagiographies, and travel directories. It’s better not to take a risk than try out something that could turn controversial. It’s as they say: sit at your desk for 20 years and then complain that nothing ever happens.

The danger is in us becoming a people without history and a people who needs foreigners to write our history. We then become a people whose human condition went unexamined and we complain that foreigners have a stereotypical attitude towards us. Heard that familiar refrain, eh?

Self-censorship
Second, is self censorship. This would be a corollary of the one mentioned above, i.e., censorship. When a writer finds that his/her works are slammed even before they could see light, then he/she goes into a shell and becomes his own censor. This is also a virulent disease in society. We find hundred of articulate people who write well and they fail to find a publisher to give them the opportunity. They go into a shell, become depressed and begin to think they aren’t good enough.

This is a phenomenon that is really happening in our society. There are so many narrow-minded vigilante groups around that we tend not to take up issues which we think are important for our own benefit. One of them is culture vigilante-ism. This is the most pernicious of the brain-dead groups advocating going back in evolution. The reasons they trot out are, “but that’s not our culture,” “but, we need to preserve our culture.” Well, if culture is to be preserved then insert it in a bottle, pour some formaldehyde in it, and keep it on the shelf for all time. We would never have progressed from leaf-wearing Neanderthals if we believed this type of people.


A culture is as good as its ability to adapt. And, adapt we must to changing patterns of life around us. Otherwise, we would go the way of the lemmings. Sorry, lemmings, no harm meant.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Not Been Blogging for a Long Time. Now I Know How to Upload My Writing to Kindle

Yeah, I know, I have been so involved with my Kindle that I have not been blogging these past days. After all, it's a brilliant invention and I have been reading loads of stuff.
I carry it wherever I go and am a bit smitten by its dark and pretty looks.


Now what I have done is upload my novel to my Kindle and, there it is, as if it (read I) have already been published. The formatting is as of a published book and everything is so presentable, it makes me wonder why I didn't buy a Kindle earlier.

Of course, during the reading I am watching for bloopers in the plot and the language,
"
little, little inconsistencies here and there, no,
"
as Catherine, Dinshaw's mother would say. It helps that the novel is one big file and not many small files, so that I can browse whichever portion I would like to edit.
Also, a printout wouldn't give you the feel a book, the font for instance, as the Kindle can.


How I went about it is as follows:

When you buy Kindle you get a Kindle email address, something like you@kindle.com. This is just a concept email and don't try to open it on your Outlook or elsewhere. When you mail your documents to you@free.kindle.com you
r
documents will be transferred to your Kindle device for free [Advise: you should be logged in to Amazon and should have a wi-fi connection.]. If you want it transferred without wi-fi you will have to pay a fee for their document transfer network, Whispernet.

Simple? Do let me know if it works for you. Just imagine the joy of having hundreds of boring documents in a free-flowing Kindle format for you to read in trains, in cars, in monrail, in metro,
doctor's waiting room,
well, whatever!

I think Amazon and kindle should pay me for this recommendation. Yeah they should.