Creative liberty is something we have often been demanding. Not only here but there as well; not only there but here as well; in fact, everywhere, authors have often sided with absolute liberty in presenting fiction to their readers. It’s only rarity that, at times, authors on that side of ‘almost invisible line of division’ become intolerant on the works of this side and then, the table turns as well. In short, everyone wants absolute freedom for himself but no one is ready to tolerate the views which go contrary to their ideals, views or affiliations. This is not only strange but also absurd.
Well, I am not commenting upon people’s choice of beliefs or ideas. I am writing about the issues related to modern Indian authors’ choices of themes, related to mythological novels, most of the times, which have often gone weird. Mostly destructive, divisive and propagandist, the themes will not let any reader enjoy the original idea that has sustained its existence, along with the weight and magnanimity. Nevertheless, they (the modern novelists) try to subvert the originality with their out-of-the-box imagination that they add to the original ideas in the name of creative liberty. You can see the same in many popular novels like Asura, The Palace of Illusions and so on… the novelists tout their work as based upon the original scriptures but, with subtle tactics, forget to mention the same in their preface or introduction.
My limited point is that while fictional liberty is very good at its place, authors should not overdo their themes… this might kill the whole plot or narrative and even the originality of the source. Indian readers, in most of the cases, know what they are reading – in a distorted form as well as the original story. Yes, if the authors have something entirely new, something purely based on their imagination but involving ancient characters… the readers have surely liked it and they will always like it. However, when the threshold of ‘decent’ is crossed, things go astray and fictional liberty is often tortured to become non-fictional prejudice of the author. In such situations, they write things like Ram could damage the chastity of Mandodari; Draupadi had secret sexual desires for Karna and even Sri Krishna wanted to have Draupadi as his wife… all these in the name of fictional liberty? Readers of India know these things in their cultural and historical literature by heart and they have all the damn right to understand it’s not fictional liberty but its the frustration of the author which is coming out in an absurd way.
At the same time, you will find the same authors and shayars of the calibre of Munawwar Rana claiming that he will kill anyone who draws a cartoon of Paigambar… An author who was exiled out of India just because he wrote a book which suggestively insulted Islam, Satanic Verses, makes claims that India has become intolerant and so on… does it behove? These authors who want to enjoy fictional liberty in the name of being creative will have to answer when they do everything at their command to stop others from exercising their rights and freedom of expression! Authors, do introspect how can something that you enjoy become too much for others! All the best!
By Anand for BookWorm Reviews