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‘I stand by what I have written’

By December 12, 2017No Comments

Source : oHeraldo


Dr Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, author of 2015 book ‘The Adivasi Will Not Dance’ that was banned by the Jharkhand government, is one of the speaker at this year’s Goa Art and Literature Festival. He shares his thoughts in a candid interview with Café

‘The Adivasi Will Not Dance’, a 2015

book of short stories on the Santhals of Jharkhand, penned by Jharkhand based government doctor Dr Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, has been recently banned by the Jharkhand government. The young doctor has also been suspended from his job by the state government. This, his second book, follows his novel ‘The Mysterious Ailment of Rupi Baskey’ (2014), which won him the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Purashkar in 2015.

In this candid interview, Dr Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, one of the speakers at the Goa Art and Literature festival 2017 explains his stand on the issue…


‘The Adivasi Will Not Dance (2015)’ has been banned by the Jharkhand government recently. They have also suspended you from your job as a government doctor. Media reports suggest that the government feels you have shown the Santhal women in poor light. What is your take on the issue?


I stand by what I have written.


How come there is a furore two years after the book was published? Where do you think this controversy is headed?


I don’t know why this furore started after two years and which way this controversy is headed. This question would be best answered by the people who created the furore and fuelled the controversy.


What should the government be doing to alleviate the suffering of the Santhal tribals?


To start with, anyone in the government who seeks to make laws that might affect the tribals, should first live like the most unprivileged tribal, in situations in which most unprivileged tribals live, for some period of time. This could perhaps be the first step towards understanding the suffering of the tribals –± any tribal, not only Santhals. Steps towards alleviating those sufferings can be taken later.


It is interesting to see that you are juggling the two roles of author and government medical doctor so well. How do you manage both roles?


I don’t know. It just happens. Maybe it is a gift. And I do not want to analyse this gift. I just want to be thankful for this gift.


Take us on the journey of your first novel. How did the plot for the story germinate in your mind and when did you find the time to write it?


‘The Mysterious Ailment Of Rupi Baskey’ was inspired by an event that took place in my village. I heard stories and gossip from my family and other villagers. I added my imagination to what I heard and built a story around it. That story took the form of ‘The Mysterious Ailment Of Rupi Baskey’, my first novel. I wrote this book from May 2011 to October 2011. I was still in medical college then, so I was not really worried about survival at that time. So whenever I found time – even during commute in buses and trains between Jamshedpur (where my college is) and Ghatsila (my hometown) – I wrote. I wrote on my laptop, I wrote on my mobile phone, I took notes, I was at it for 5-6 months and did not stop till I finished writing the entire novel.

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