Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

An old friend from University called me today morning on my Bangalore number. I had activated the number only recently after five years. He told me that Roll of Honour is on The Hindu Prize 2013 Shortlist. I could not speak to him, I asked him to give me some time to recover. I put the phone down, broke down, checked the newspaper online, saw an email from Krithika at The Hindu informing me of the nomination and finally registered that it has happened. Roll of Honour is nominated along with another four books by the authors: Manu Joseph, Anees Salim, Manjul Bajaj, and Sonora Jha.

Thank you everybody. The friend who called, Bobby George, had quoted to me from the Talmud after Sepia Leaves was out, ‘A man is known by the tree he plants, the book he writes, and the family he raises.’ Thank you! See more here …

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18
Jan

Healing needs Heroes

   Posted by: aman    in Roll of Honour

Seeta called me up one evening when I was in Bangalore. She had been watching Maachis, the movie on Punjab terrorism by Gulzar, and thinking about something that made a lot of sense to me. Seeta has worked with children all over the world, promoting ‘protection’ among them. It is a theme close to her heart. Equipping children to protect themselves acquires its deepest meaning when she works with them in Africa and Kashmir, places torn by war and terrorism. What follows here is her thoughts in retrospect about her work in Kashmir.

She was asking herself why is it that, even after two decades of violence, Kashmir does not heal. She was comparing it to the Bombay terrorist attacks (26/11). She noticed that India started healing even when Bombay was going on and attributed it partly to the fact that in Bombay we already had a number of heroes as the battle was on. The media beamed images of the ATS head, the NSG commandoes, the rescue operations, the Taj staff, and ordinary folks who had saved lived. But there is nothing like that from Kashmir, or the NorthEast, or those strife torn parts of the world where violence continues unabated.

This, she says, is because places that heal find their heroes, but sites of violence which do not heal partly simmer because they find no heroes. What do you tell a Kashmiri child? That your father was a terrorist?

Her argument made sense to me because I am writing Roll of Honour which deals with the terrorism years in Punjab and have been trying with various points of views, time lines, characters, and so on but have failed to present the story. I realise it is because I am unable to create a hero. My story may deal with terrorism but it seeks to heal, how can I do it without creating a character that rises above the tragedy? If I do not do that I do not give the reader a peg. If I do not win my reader, draw him in, how can I expect to make a story? Thank you Seeta for showing me this fundamental truth: healing needs heroes. No heroes, no healing.

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