What would Chanakya do if confronted with the various crises that beset contemporary India? Using this question as the starting point for his new book, celebrated writer and thinker Pavan K Varma has drawn up a practical and detailed plan, modelled on the Arthashashtra, to bring about reform and change in five key areas that require urgent attention governance, democracy, corruption, security, and the building of an inclusive society. Whether it is laying the foundation for an independent and effective Lokpal, or decriminalizing politics and successfully weeding out the corrupt, the solutions he proposes are substantive, well within the constitutional framework, and can make all the difference between intent and action. 'Chanakya's New Manifesto' is both a call to action as well as a deeply insightful account of the challenges facing the country today.
The author, Pavan K Varma joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on his book 'Chanakya's New Manifesto: To Resolve the Crisis within India'.
Q. Your poetry translation looks as poetic as original, How do you manage it? Asked by: Yaseen
A. Translation is an art. It must be done such that it retains the meaning of the original, but also captures, as far as possible, the rhythm, cadence and meter of the original. of course, thorough knowledge of both languages is essential.
Q. You have translated many eminent poets, what makes Gulzar sb stand different? Asked by: Yaseen
A. Gulzar Saheb's poetry is unique for the powerful imagery he captures and the modern style of his poetry.
Q. Indian Cinema is celebrating its century, your favourite song out of 3,50,000 songs that Indian cinema has given birth to? Asked by: Yaseen Anwer
A. This is an impossible question to answer. But I am partial to the music of Khayyam and the poetry of Sahir Ludhianvi
Q. Today one can sense the conflict between poets who prefers writing classical poems (i.e. haiku, Sonnet, etc) and poets who who prefers modern poetry (free verse), my question to you is if one does not follow all the rules of Haiku (original rule, not modified) and want to call his/her poem as haiku, will it be one? Asked by: Yaseen
A. Poetry is poetry, whatever its form.
Q. Lyricist you admire from emerging lot? Asked by: Yaseen
A. Gulzar, Nida Fazli and Prasoon Joshi
Q. Can literature as whole or poetry in specific bring change in society? Asked by: Yaseen Anwer
A. Yes, of course. The challenge is to make people read, and once they do, they must make use of the cyber world to propagate the ideas further.
Q. Where can I get the book? Asked by: Brijesh D. Patel
A. Its in all the book stores.
Q. How did you come up with the subject of your book? Asked by: Priya
A. Our nation is passing through a critical phase where it is imperative to bring about change. Change must be rigorously thought out, it must be a response to the real problem, and it must be stated without waffle. Chanakya was able to do that over 2000 years. This was my inspiration. The book deals with five key areas: governance, the functioning of democracy, corruption, national security, and the building of a genuinely inclusive society.
Q. If Chanakya somehow visits today in India, how he will react to the politicians. Asked by: prasherraj
A. He will be genuinely upset by the degree of corruption in the political class. The blatant link of black money to politics, and the criminilization of politics would have shocked him. He would also be very critical of the low priority given to governance by the politicians.
Q. Where do you draw your inspiration from? Asked by: Yaseen
A. Life is my inspiration. And India, in all its facets, is my motivation.
Q. What motivated you to write poetry? Asked by: Yaseen
A. I don't write much poetry. My only book of poems is called 'Yudhishtar and Draupadi', which has now been translated into Hindustani by Gulzar Saheb, and republished by Penguin with both the translation and the original. A play written by Gulzar has also been made on it and has had several very successful stagings.
Q. What is the future of English poetry in India? Asked by: Yaseen
A. Not very bright, I'm afraid. Poetry must be written in one's own language, and preferably in one's mother tongue
Q. According to you what would be Chanakya's solution to corruption & women rights issues in the current situation in India? Asked by: Sonia
A. Drawing inspiration from Chanakya I have proposed a five point architecture against corruption: electoral reform, complete transparency in the disposal and acquisition of all assets owned by the state, the neutral intervention of technology in as many areas as possible where the citizen has to interact with authority, deterrent and timely punishment for corruption (which includes substantive judicial reform) and, a Lokpal, which has investigative and prosecution powers. Women issues must include timely and deterrent punishment for all acts against women, the empowerment of women, better policing, and a change in the mindset of society.
Q. What/who inspired you to start writing or become an author? Asked by: Rohit
A. My first book was a biography of the great poet Mirza Ghalib. This book was successful and others followed. I felt I had it within me to write books, and so wrote them.
Q. When did you first take up translation thing? was it by accident or intentional? Asked by: Yaseen
A. No, it was a conscious decision. Translations are required to give to good poetry, and other writing, a wider audience.
Q. And if i may ask you, how do you see future of poetry (irrespective of languages) in India? Asked by: Yaseen
A. Poetry is an important form of literary expression. However, it is important too that there should be a readership for poetry. I sometimes wonder if that exists in India on the scale it is required.
Q. Can you share some writing tricks? Asked by: Pran
A. Choose your subject carefully. Dwell upon it and research it thoroughly. Don't be inhibited. Write for yourself. Write simply. And, if possible, write in your own language.
Q. Would be great if you can share one of your poem with us? Asked by: Yaseen
A. Read 'Yudhistar and Draupadi'
Q. What is your writing schedule like for books? Asked by: Heena
A. I write whenever I find the time because I have combined writing with a full time job. However, whenever I write I do so with the fullest concentration. I get more time on weekends.
Q. How do you keep yourself active politically and poetically? Asked by: Yaseen
A. There is no contradiction between the two. The only issue is of time.
Q. I am sure you are ideal for many, what would you like to say upcoming authors and poets? Asked by: Yaseen
A. Never lose confidence. Don't give up because of initial setbacks. And write because you love to do so.
Q. You have done translated for Kaifi Azmi sb, Atal ji, Gulzar sb, etc. Who work has been most challenging and why? Asked by: Yaseen
A. I enjoyed all the translations, but I think Gulzar Saheb, because of his modern idiom and powerful imagery, posed the greatest challenge.
Q. Do you feel Government bodies (both in state and centr) are offering enough support to literary organizations to grow here in India? Asked by: Yaseen
A. No, not enough. Our Sahitya Akademi should be doing much more. But basically writers should not be depending on government support.
Q. Can we expect any Fiction from you in the near future. Are you working on something? Asked by: mugdha
A. Chanakya's New Manifesto has just about come out. I am not writing anything immediately. But I will, and that could include fiction too.
Q. You have joined JD U now after being civil servant for years, what special ideaology that you have found in JD U to becomes its member and why do you like to be a political leader now. what do you wish do through politics now. Asked by: Arun Avlokitta
A. I joined Nitish Kumar because to my mind he stands for clean politics, good governance, and an inclusive vision. Politics gives you a wider canvas to work for what you believe is right. That is why I joined it.
Q. What makes one a writer more? Imagination or Experiences or both equally? Asked by: Pawan
A. Both. Of course, there must be literary talent to begin with.
Q. Are you associated with any poetry organization? Asked by: Yaseen