مشاكل الكاتب الهندي / The Indian Writer's Problems
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Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics
[Anita Desai, in this testimony describes the act of writing in English for a non-native speaker. She has been writing in English since she was seven and had she written in her parents' languages, she would have had to write in Bengali and German. The idea of an Indian writing in English is discouraged by both Indian critics and English ones. Indian critics tend to oppose the idea completely and English critics tend to dismiss it or look lightly at it. Anita Desai does not attempt to describe the mechanics of writing itself because she feels that by uncovering them one commits an act of violence towards writing. It is a delicate and frail act that should be kept secret so as not to destroy it. Writing involves instinct and the subconscious; that is why one should not attempt to uncover it. This, in Anita Desai's opinion, is the difference between writers and critics. English language is a rich and flexible language that allows any writer to express himself fully whether in poetry or prose. The problem that faces Anita Desai as an Indian writer is that English as a language has no tradition in Indian culture. It is like a refugee in India without roots. Thus, she depends wholly on her individual vision and intuition. Anita Desai solves the problems the English language creates for an Indian creative writer, by simply ignoring them; yet she is faithful to the English language. Desai writes psychological novels not social documents; she uses the language of the interior and her writings depend on a private vision rather than observations. This kind of writing, she believes, is easier to be expressed in English rather than the objective social novels. Writing itself is a spontaneous, instinctive and subconscious act. It demands silence and waiting. The writer always constructs images, symbols and myths and connects them together; the main task is to connect. It is not important if the creative act is expressed in a native or foreign language. The most important thing is that the act of writing should be done spontaneously and subconsciously without an interruption of reason or deliberation. The creative act of writing goes beyond language and transcends it.]
(1998). مشاكل الكاتب الهندي / The Indian Writer's Problems. Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, 197–201.
Desai, Anita, et al.
"مشاكل الكاتب الهندي / The Indian Writer's Problems." Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, no. 18, 1998, pp. 197–201.