Source : Times of India
There isn’t an individual in this land who is not inspired by Gulzar, his works, the words, his virtuosity and grace. Gulzarthe artist is an embodiment of experience and expression. Every form of art he chooses to express in, resonates with truth, knowledge, and invocation for harmony. At 84, Gulzar becomes a novelist for the first time with Two , a fictitious account of some real encounters during the partition of India. Gulzar himself translated his prose from Hindi to English, to tell every person in country the harrowing journey that thousands went through during Partition. With Two , the modern bard wants to purge off his ordeals and expects the whole country to do that — once and for all. Gulzar’s Two is an account of violence, that urges a final outcry for eternal peace and friendship between the two neighbouring countries.
In an exclusive interview with TOI Books, Gulzar gets candid about his novel, and appeals prejudices against neighbours to be kicked out.
1.You have become a novelist at the age of 84. Was it a very conscious decision or the result of an impulse?
I did not write a novel ( Two ) for the sake of writing a novel. I had lots of memories of partition and they keep on budging out. I kept writing poems and short stories on the subject. There was still so much more left inside to say. When the 70th year arrived, I made an effort and sat down to write a total impression. So once and for all, it should get out of my system.
2. Did the current social scenario somehow set you off to get this book out now?
All day long I keep wishing, let partition be a past now. It should only remain a part of history. We’ve talked and written about the World War so much that it has almost been purged off. The bitterness is gone. The drama came to an end and it is history. Whereas partition is still going on. The splinters of that 1947 volcano are still burning. I wanted to do the same, to purge it off. And so, I chose the form of a novel to talk about the different eras I chronicle in the story – the partition and then 70 years after partition. A refugee from Pakistan became our Prime Minster. A refugee who went from here, became their Prime Minister. So, the circle of shrishti should have been completed by now. There should have been a one-on-one between the heads of the two countries and we should have been friends by now. It must be over now! The prejudices must be kicked. But it still goes on and that bothers me.
3. How was writing a novel different from writing short stories or poetry?
This is a result that generates from 1947. It is but a repercussion. ’47 is the epicentre of the tumultuous time we are facing now. We are still vibrating and there will be more shakeups. And cracks have appeared all over that have not been mended.
I went to Bangladesh. I went to the museum and to the house of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. I read and learned about him, how he became the father of the nation. I came to realise how very eventful his life was and how crucial he was during the partition. He was a man to be parted twice. First, he was parted from India to Pakistan. Then from Pakistan to Bangladesh during the Bangladesh Mukti War. I want to write a full-fledged play on him, his life. It might not be a novel, but is still an extended writing of prose which I want to dedicate to Mujibur, a man with absolutely no pretensions.