In September-October, 2017, Coldnoon celebrated six years of publishing, and travelling with you. To mark our anniversary, we got together with writers, intellectuals and stalwarts of the art of thinking (and travelling). Here is an interview with Makarand R. Paranjape.

 

We believe making travel arrangements, we subconsciously tend to eliminate those possibilities which we deem unfit to perceived etiquettes, or norms or occasions. Our understanding of travel is based on premises that define what travelling is not. Is writing for you a similar activity, where you are conscious of what writing is not? If so, what according to you is not writing?

Well, mostly, writing is not faffing, gassing, or faking…

 

Besides writing what would you most like to be known for?

Of course, we have all have our ambitious, but in the end (as a former RBI Governor famously says), we just do what we do. Later, posterity will do what it must. But, yes, for those who perceive themselves as unfree, not to have achieved jeevanmukti is to have lived in vain?

 

In 1794, the French author, Xavier de Maistre, wrote the renowned book, Voyage Around my Room, during a month and a half of solitary confinement, in consequence of a duel. Besides being a satire on the contemporary literary culture of voyages and adventures of colonial sailors to prospective new worlds, the book proved to be a demonstration of how an individual is almost always travelling, but perhaps does not recognize the value of their domestic travels, mobility or even touristic acquisitions. How do you see or understand travelling? Do you think it is a necessary activity for a writer?

Desirable, from time to time; necessary, I’m not sure.

 

Do respond to the following words:

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” ― Mark Twain

I don’t know if the world was here first; but, yes, the world “owes” you nothing — except what you make (of) yourself.

 

Your favorite or most striking lines by another author; or if you will, any composed by yourself?

Let me combine two: “The world is what it is” (V. S. Naipaul) but “Who am I?” (Ramana Maharshi).

 

What do you think of Coldnoon?

Great idea, even more remarkable for having survived for six years. I dissuaded its founder when he proposed the idea. I am glad to be proven wrong — for now. But then that is what little magazines are; they have their run, then their oblivion. But in the interregnum, they do a lot of good.

Bravo!

 

Makarand Paranjape

Makarand Paranjape

Makarand R. Paranjape has been teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students for over thirty-five years. His teaching career has spanned the better part of the globe. A large part of this has been spent in the United States and India, where he has lived and worked. He started his career in 1980, as Teaching Assistant at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He returned to India in 1986, joined the University of Hyderabad, first as lecturer and then reader. In 1994, he joined the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Delhi as an associate professor. Since 1999, he has been a professor of English at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, Centre for English Studies. He has published over 175 academic papers in various refereed journals and edited books within the country and internationally. In addition, he is the author of several poems and short stories, over 500 essays, book reviews, and occasional pieces in academic and popular periodicals in India and abroad. He was a columnist in Sunday Observer, Business Standard, The Pioneer, and Life Positive and currently writes columns for Swarajya, Mail Today, and DNA. He has been twice the chairperson of the Centre for English Studies, JNU, and is a member of the Board of Studies, the Academic Council of JNU, and the Vision Committee of JNU; the Coordinator for UGC Special Assistance Programme, in the Centre for English Studies, JNU from 2003 to 2008; the principal investigator of the Project on Indian Perspectives on Science and Spirituality, from 2006 to 2009. He was the General Editor of a series of reprints of rare and out of print Indian English titles published by the Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi. He is the founding Trustee of Samvad India Foundation, a Delhi-based non-profit, public charitable trust, and also the founding editor of Evam: Forum on Indian Representations, an international bi-annual, multi-disciplinary journal on India. He was the chairperson for the Europe and South Asia region of Pan-Commonwealth panel of judges for the 2008 and 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize; he also served as the Indian host judge for the 2010 Prize awarded in New Delhi.

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