'India may dream in Hindi but aspires to write in English'

'India may dream in Hindi but aspires to write in English'

India may dream in Hindi but aspires to write in English, is the argument presented by Aditi Maheshwari, Director Vani Publications at the Jaipur Literature Festival here.

"India may dream in Hindi, sleep in Hindi, but it aspires to read in English. The population of Hindi readers is much fewer than English readers in India," Maheshwari said at the concluding day of Festival today.

She was participating in a session titled 'Geographies of Reading: Contexting the Indian reader'.

"Writers in Hindi have earned themselves a loyal readership in the long run, as books and author establish themselves over time," she said.

According to Maheshwari, English has become sort of a technical language know which has given a 'comfort' worldwide of having a common language which can be used for conversation almost everywhere.

"So the Hindi authors have a challenge ahead. They have to establish themselves to find places on bookshelves rather than just libraries, but isn't that competition part of the charm of writing in Hindi?," she asked.

Who is reading what, where, how? What is the changing dynamics of the contemporary South Asian reader?  What are the mechanisms behind readership in the subcontinent? What are the recent changes in the readership population in India, and what are its effects on the publishing sector?

These were among the subjects debated during the session in which Maheshwari was in conversation with Mita Kapur, CEO of Siyahi, a literary consultancy, Vivek Tejuja, blogger and Flipkart employee and feminist writer Urvashi Bhutalia.

Asserting that social media now has an influential role in what a reader picks to read, Tejuja said," There is so much of social media pressure on book readers, and the fear of being judged by the kind of book one is reading."

"The kind of posts one has on social media about the book matter these days.  So the readers have no choice rather than picking up the stuff  which is 'in' or being a pseudo pretending to read something and reading something else," he added.

According to Paul Yamazaki who runs a bookstore in San Francisco, the trend of translations and marketing of books, language barriers have reduced and readers have multiplied across the world. 

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