‘Learning has always been a new experience for me’

Prof Dr Shiv Sethi

V. Laxmiprasad is  an author, editor and literary critic in English Literature. He hails from Karimnagar, Telangana He has published 42 books so far. In an interview with Prof Shiv Sethi, Laxmiprasad talks about his experiences as an author and editor. Here are the excerpts.

Q) What have been your experiences as an author and editor?

My experiences as an author and editor have taught me lessons about book publishing in terms of quality proofreading and editing. Each book that I published proves this point very strongly. Learning has been a new experience for me. All 42 books speak about my credentials as an author and editor.

Q) Why did you work on Tiruvalluar’s Tirukkaral?

Yes. He was a great saint –poet. I am deeply enlightened by his Kurals (Couplets). It was when on a day when I was flipping through the English Newspaper, I came across his Kurals. Out of 1300 Kurlas, I evaluated nearly 500 Kurals.  The Kurals symbolize ancient culture and wisdom. Anyone who studies them will get inspired. It was a dream come true for me. I am blessed.

Q Your book on Kahlil Gibran. Anything to speak about that?

Kahlil Gibran was a profound philosopher. His verses attracted me as a reader. Having been written in prose style, I reckon that they leave behind a greater depth of philosophy of life. All his volumes are rooted in the universe of life. They contain the essence of life. They are masterpieces.

Q) The Holocaust of Partition: A Study of Sadat HasanManto’s Mottled Dawn is critically evaluated. Please elucidate.

As a reader, I was touched by the collection. As a critic, I touched on those striking moments of Partition. Sadat HasanManto wrote this classic on Partition. It was written in Urdu and later it was translated into English by Scholars. I have been moved by the horrors of partition.  The outcome was the publication of this book.

Q) Sita figures predominantly in one of your books. Any specific reasons?

Yes. Sita as a lead character left an influential position in history. There is no Ramayan without Sita. Sita symbolizes womanhood, motherhood and a paragon of excellence. Her patient suffering speaks about her journey through hard times. She stands for humanism, tolerance and forgiveness.

Q) Rewriting Indian History: Colonial Encounter in BasavarajNaikar’s The Queen of Kittur. Why did you work on this novel?

The Queen of Kittur was my instant choice when I started working on Indian Historical fiction. It isn’t a fictional sort of work but it is more of a work that presents the sacrifices of Rani Chennamma of Kittur kingdom in Karnataka. Basavaraj Naikar has brought into the limelight the heroism of Queen through a creative medium. I critically evaluated the work. I am happy to share that this book was published in the USA.

Q) Living through Mahesh Dattani’s Plays is your next book of criticism. Your titles are apt and appropriate. Anything to share with readers?

Yes. Indian Theatre and Drama are complimentary in nature and execution. I have worked on Dattani’s plays for a more composite analysis by distinguished critics through the edited volume. In the end, I was a successful editor. The variety speaks through the volume of critical essays. Mahesh Dattaniis both a playwright and a stage artist. The techniques of his writing have impressed me as a reader.

Q) What about your critical books on Indian writers?

I have touched all genres. Among them, poetry, fiction, short story and drama occupied my contribution. I am humbled to work with great writers. For example, Amitav Ghosh, ManjuKapur, Mahesh Dattani, TV Reddy, Sadat Hasan Manto,  Kahlil Gibran and Tiruvalluar, KV Raghupathi, DC Chambial, IK Sharma, etc. I worked both on established writers and emerging writers.  All Indian English writers are established. They excel in their genres of writing.

Q) Your book on Bhagavadgita?

Bhagavadgita is a universal text containing 700 verses. Lord Krishna teaches that one can kill only the body; the soul remains immortal. At death, the soul is reborn in another body.  It is a book of great philosophy of deeper depths. I was impressed as a schoolboy when I listened to Late Ghantasala’srendition of Gita. He mesmerized the listeners. I am one among them. Gita is a  solution to many problems.

Q) Your book on Translations. Please speak about this lasting contribution.

It is entitled Bridges across the Nation  : The Vitality of Indian Literatures in Translation contains well –written research papers by scholars across the country. Almost all the regional literature has been covered in this highly acclaimed critical book. It is useful for research scholars. It came out well.

Q) What are your upcoming books?

I am publishing two books – one on the poetry of SubramaniaBharati and another one on the writings of Rumi.

Q) Any advice to the readers, please?

Reading has lost its place in the society. It is almost a dead habit. Technology and the taste for reading are responsible for declining reading habits. People become more mature by reading books.

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