PAGE TURNERS - Bijoya Sawian recommends

Author of the recently published Shadow Men, Bijoya Sawian has contributed a lot towards familiarising the outside world with her native Meghalaya. She has also translated the rich Khasi folk and oral literature into English. She tells Gitanjali Das that literature is as integral to life as Mother Nature.

Bijoya Sawian, Khasi Writer
  1. What does literature mean to you? Do you think it has any relevance in our day-to-day lives? According to you, does it have anything to do with all that is happening around us?
  1. Literature is like nature to me. Literature and nature are very important features in my life. They are my main sources of solace and recreation besides good people and good friends. Literature is a reflection of the life and times of the writer according to his/her perception. Writers also have an inner world of their own. Both worlds influence their work.
  1. How close is your relation with literature in general, and with literature of the Northeast in particular?
  1. I have a very close relationship with literature. Something like every human being shares with Mother Nature. Being from Meghalaya, I can say that literature of the Northeast is an integral part of my life.
  1. What future do you see for literature from the Northeast?
  1. Literature has brought the Northeast into the limelight. Authors from this part of the country are getting the recognition they deserve and it is a great thing for the region. I feel there is light at the end of the tunnel for the literature of the region.
  1. Name one book that had a lasting impact on you. In what way?
  1. Many books have impressed me. Two books that have had a lasting impact on me are Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee and Open by Andre Agassi. I love the way Coetzee portrays his characters and condenses different issues in one book.
    Q. What book would you recommend for our readers and why?
A. I would like to recommend The Way of the White Clouds by Osho, and the books by Coetzee and Agassi that I have already mentioned, for the readers. Osho has expresed my deepest thoughts and feelings. His message is that eventually each one of us must realize that we are just a speck in this vast universe. So once we have done our best, we should just float like the white clouds – beyond that, all is mundane, free from the shackles of karma. Agassi expresses this in a different way. Open, a beautifully written autobiography, is more about the human being than the star. He also rises above his circumstances and realises the true meaning of life.

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