Amit Chaudhuri Discusses Whether ‘National’ Writing Still Has Meaning



and I mean thinking again about that the idea of what the global that means to us now in sort of cultural terms I notice that one of your chapter opens with the with the sentence what is Pakistani writing and I know if you wanted to say anything about what national traditions of cultural literature mean now you know are they still meaningful to us now well you know I never found the meaningful except as things to kind of work against you know they were meaningful in as much as they gave you something to to depart from and I rightly or wrongly I had I presumed about Pakistani writing in English because this Pakistani writing in order to and presumably other languages of Punjabi as well I was I was saying maybe in that I say the Pakistani write in English benefited from not having to deal with a myth a kind of positive myth of Pakistan such as India or America have you know which leads to the ambition for the Great American Novel or the great Indian novel so if you don't have that myth then you are in a in a more kind of ambivalent zone and I think the aesthetic benefits of that are great you know while having to grapple with being the spokesperson for a myth of a great nation is aesthetically curtailing and so this is what I was trying to discuss yes in in in the essay on Pakistani writing whether I got Pakistani writing right or wrong I I don't know but yeah but I was interested in that so being able to write in English when English isn't actually your native tongue as it were is actually a sort of artistic liberation or it could be an artistic liberation or it could could be the opposite especially in India when where English becomes the language or with which you can talk about India so when you're talking in when you're writing in any of the other languages you're not really concerned about singing India but in English you are you are addressing India and and that can be a a kind of that can be restrictive yeah to the imagination it can give you a different set of ambitions when you're writing while what I was saying was back what Pakistani writing is even though they're writing in English if if if if Pakistan itself doesn't come with this myth that's been celebrated through let's say English the the nation state Pakistan if it's just a much more fractured and ambiguous entity then I think they are freer as writers to do a matter to me imagining more unexpected ways than if they become spokespersons for the nation yeah yeah absolutely

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