India Votes



My little paean to current Indian politics is presented during this interview with Al Jazeera.

A few days ago an Indian newspaper asked if I could recommend a literary text that shed light on Indian elections.  I wrote back that in my new novel My Beloved Life, I have put a scene that is a classic in Hindi literature, from Harishankar Parsai’s Inspector Matadeen Chand Par (1994), or Inspector Matadeen on the Moon. The father and daughter duo who narrate my novel are on their way to a restaurant in Atlanta. The father is talking bitterly about politicians in Hindi, his voice growing louder as he quotes Parsai, delivering his lines as if at a kavi-sammelan. Even as I imagined the scene, I felt I was paying homage to a writer whose deft satires gave his readers a small measure of agency. A political system that left them helpless could not take away from them the freedom of laughter. Here is what the father recites: