Chandigarh Literary Society organised an interactive session, ‘Book Talk’, with some of the well-known writers from the city on Tuesday.
Novelists Khushwant Singh (author of Sikhs Unlimited, Turbaned Tornado, Mending Souls and Maharaja in Denims) Neelkamal Puri (author of The Patiala Quartet and Bag & Baggage), Jaideep Singh Chadha (author of The Other Side of Golf, Vinculum and Please, Mom! It’s My Life)) and Col Navkesh Singh (author of Golf Course Upkeep) spoke on how they had depicted the different facets of Punjab and its people in their books.
Khushwant said, “You tend to write about people and places that are close and familiar to you. It is important to write about your region and your people. Your story should represent them.” His latest book ‘Maharaja in Denims’, a historical fiction set in Punjab, is about a Punjabi youngster who believes he is the reincarnation of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Through this book, Khushwant said he had attempted to document the crucial events that occurred in the state like the anti-Sikh riots and had tried to address muchdebated issues like secularism.
Agreeing with Khushwant, Puri said, “The setting is very important to a story. When you are an insider, you can critique things that are part of it. Because I’m a part of Punjab, it gives me the legitimacy to critique different aspects of it.”
The novelists also spoke about the art of writing in the 21st century. Puri said, “Writing is a craft and in the 21st century, there are many schools of creative writing. You don’t need a grand inspiration to write.” The event also included a session at which the novelists read select passages from their works. This was followed by an interactive session with the audience.