Globally celebrated author Reginald Massey Monday questioned writer Shobhaa De's credentials as a literary person, saying she should not be taken seriously as she wrote "soft pornography which titillates".
Massey, speaking as a guest at the Taj Literature Festival here at the St John's College, told a huge gathering that "she (Shobhaa De) doesn't have a style like Dickens or Jane Austen...She need not be taken seriously."
Shobhaa De should not be taken seriously as she wrote "soft pornography which titillates", he said, but clarified that it was his personal view and perceptions can differ.
Shobhaa De Sunday participated in the three-day event here which began Feb 1. As Massey arrived a day late, a session was conducted for him Monday.
Massey is considered an authority on culture, religion, music and dances of India. Some of his books are standard works. He wrote and narrated the BBC's (British Broadcasting Corporation) well known documentary on Kathakali.
Born in Lahore, Reginald Massey now lives in London and contributes to the Guardian and The Times. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Society of Authors.
After releasing a book on poetry titled "Love is a Lot of Work" by Rajiv Khandelwal, he said his advice to the young poets would be to keep it simple.
Robert Frost in just three simple sentences offered such profound and meaningful message. "The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep," Massey quoted from Robert Frost's famous poem "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening".
Students should read Jawaharlal Nehru's "Discovery of India" to understand the country and its cultural roots, he said.
"Indian authors should form a trade union to protect their intellectual property rights," he advised.
Reginald Massey said English was now very much an Indian language. The Indian Constitution was written in English. "English too has been enriched by its connection with India," he said.