Amish Tripathi, the author of the Shiva trilogy, on Monday said that data suggested that people in India were not intolerant on religious basis but were hugely intolerant on gender basis.
The author said that women suffer horrific violence in India and on some parameters India is even worse than Saudi Arabia. “That’s the core issue we should perhaps be discussing and focusing on,” he said.
Replying to a question on the trend of authors returning awards to express their angst towards religious intolerance, Amish said: “I have deepest respect for senior authors. But if one wants to pass a judgement on a country of 1.25 billion, it must be based on data rather than a few incidents. Ours is a huge country and we have more people in India than all of North and South America put together. Would it be reasonable to say that 10-15 cases of horrendous drug smuggling in Americas mean that all those living in the Americas - the Brazillians, Mexicans, Argentinians, Canadians are drug smugglers? No. In India, if one wants to pass judgement on 1.25 billion people, then it must be backed by data and not just 10-15 incidents. And if you look at the data, we are not intolerant on religious basis but we are hugely intolerant on gender basis,” he said.
He reminded that five lakh female foetuses were aborted every year, domestic violence was common and crime against women on the rise.
Social media boon and bane
Speaking about the role of technology and social media, Amish said that technology could be a boon or a hindrance. “Thank God I graduated before Whatsapp and Twitter came on the scene otherwise I would have been wasting so much time on them,” he said. He said technology could be a deterrent but it certainly was a boon as well for so many people. “There are fishermen in Kerala who use apps to figure out where they will get the best price for their fish,” he said.
Talking about a newly launched app for e-books, Amish said that he would now be able sell his books chapter wise on the phone. “One can now download a book for Rs 15 per chapter. This will make books available to millions of people,” he said.
Reading the best habit in the world
On a question asked by fellow panellists Kiran Bedi and Sonam Kapoor on how he manages to read so fast, considering he reads a minimum of four books in a month, the author said that the habit of reading ran in his family. “Yes, I read a minimum of four books a month. My grandfather, a pandit in Kashi, was a lover of knowledge and he inculcated the reading culture in our family. I read a lot and always carry Kindle or books wherever I go. For me, it is the best habit in the world. Reading is the way to travel into the mind of an author from a different space, time and place. I feel reading is a time travel machine. The more you read, the more you travel,” he added.