RAKSHANDA JALIL, 54

Writer, Critic and Lit­er­ary His­to­rian. Up­com­ing ti­tle: An Un­civil Woman-Writ­ings on Is­mat Chugh­tai

India Today - - COVER STORY -

I grew up in a home filled with books. I be­lieve reading can be your only in­spi­ra­tion for writ­ing, oth­er­wise you are just run­ning be­fore you have learnt to walk.

My work draws in­spi­ra­tion from the pro­gres­sive writ­ers’ move­ment—a pow­er­ful lit­er­ary group that in­cluded the best and bright­est writ­ers of the time. The pro­gres­sives be­lieved that in an essen­tially un­fair and un­equal world, some are more de­prived than the oth­ers and that it is not okay for the big fish to swal­low the small fish. They be­lieved writ­ers could not just be mute spec­ta­tors of op­pres­sion and in­jus­tice.

Free­dom means. Hav­ing the right to think and do as one deems fit. At the same time, I don't be­lieve in tak­ing free­dom of speech, thought and ac­tion to ex­treme lengths. Af­ter all, my right to free­dom can’t be my right to of­fend.

If I had com­plete free­dom to do some­thing, I would stop peo­ple from spit­ting, lit­ter­ing and pee­ing in pub­lic. The most im­por­tant thing I will change about my fel­low In­di­ans would be their lack of hy­giene and civic sense.

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