Arun Kamal

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Born on February 15, 1954 at Nasariganj, Bihar, Arun Kamal is a leading Hindi poet and literary essayist based at Patna. He has published five collections of poetry–Apni Kewal Dhar,Saboot,Naye Ilake Mein, Putali Mein Sansar and Main Wo Shankh Mahashankh–and three selections of his poems. Arun Kamal’s critical essays and reflections on poetry and art are collected under three titles–Kavita aur Samay, Golmez,and Kathopkathan. As a translator,he has rendered poems of Nagrjun, Trilochan, Shamsher, and Kedarnath Singh into English for several journals and published a full-length book of contemporary Indian poetry in English translation. Besides,he has been translating outside poetry and essays into Hindi. Publications include a volume of the Vietnamese poet To Hu’s poems and notes and Mayakovasky’s autobiography. Arun Kamal edits Aalochana,a prestigeous journal of literary criticism,with Dr Namvar Singh as the chief editor. Hel has received several awards for poetry including Bharat Bhushan Agrawal Poetry award, Shrikant Varma Smriti Puraskar,Soviet Land Nehru Award, Shamsher Samman, Raghuvir Sahay Smriti Puraskar,Nagarjun Puraskar and Sahitya Akademi Award (1998) for Naye Ilake Mein. He has been associated with several institutions, in diferrent capacities, like Sahitya Akademi; Indian Institute of Advanced Study,Shimla; Kendriya Hindi Sansthan,Agra;Hindi Sahitya Sammelan,Prayag. Has attended seminars and conferences in Russia,Congo, China, England, Pakistan, Myanmar, and South Africa. Presently he is teaching English at Patna University.

GARHWAL POST INTERVIEW

Kindly share with us your journey as a writer.

I have been writing as a dilettante since the age of 16. However, it was at the age of 24 when I shifted to Delhi that my work got published for the first time. It was in the form of a small book titled ‘Main Phir Kehta Hoon Chidhiya’ which was published with the help of a well known poet and critic of that time named Ashok Vajpayee. It was then when a little attention of the literary world was directed towards me. It was, moreover, because of Mr. Ashok and a couple of my Bhopal friends who acknowledged that my writing had a different taste of language as well as different sensation, which encouraged me to write further.

At an age where access to people did not come easily, how did the writers of your time manage to get their work published?

It is not that it is only with the advent of internet that writers like us have begun to be recognised. We existed as writers even in the time when internet was not as much popular among the people as it is now, yet we were known. Moreover, we had a commendable number of published works back then which we even have now. Nevertheless, with me it was a little easier for I was also a journalist which had won me an audience already by the time I started writing sarcasm and stories.

What is your perspective about the Hindi reading culture of the nation?

It is a not very fortunate condition even now nor was it before. However, I would like to confess that the vogue of internet has paved a fine path for also the Hindi writers to make their work known to people and be able to convey through a quicker channel. We have our work getting published in magazines and newspapers, yet the internet has added on as a vast medium to connect. We must surrender the credit of our multiplying audience to the internet- an audience that consists mainly of the youth.

How far do you think this sudden spurt of literature festivals will succeed in retaining or promoting the reading culture of our country?

I do not consider them too reliable in any sense practically for what good they do to the people suffering is still a conundrum. I have not attended festivals of Dehradun so I cannot really comment but the other festivals I have attended so far prove to be benefiting only the attendees which happen to be people who are far from the harsh reality that the ones they are discussing get to face. Moreover, the interaction albeit may help spread awareness but cannot compel one to read.

What are you looking forward to in the upcoming Art and Literature Festival, Valley of Words?

I have witnessed that registration becomes a barrier many a time and restricts the entry of those utterly willing to attend these festivals. I, thus, expect this festival to be a little kind with the amount of registration fees it sets, to enable a better access for ordinary people so that the main purpose of the festival does not get defeated.


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