Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Things to keep in Mind while Writing Historical Fiction in India

Writing historical fiction is a dicey business but even more so in these parts where bovine dung is revered over human life and art is devoured by self - appointed guardians of morality using the most immoral means. Yet, risking life and limb, many an author has embarked on this dangerous mission, possibly out of an abiding passion that drives them to preserve the precious remnants of tattered truths painstakingly unearthed from the shifting sands of time or a deeper need to become one with the history they have long revered.
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The first step in this hair - raising enterprise is to remember to make like a limber and supple character in a Marvel movie, dodging the slings plus arrows of fickle public opinion and the outrage of the mob, spurred on by the mostly erroneous notion that writing historical fiction can pay off in rich dividends.

Next in the order of business is to strike that perfect balance between artistic integrity that impels one to stay faithful to Clio, the stern muse of history and an instinct for self preservation that helps steer clear of howling hooligans who literally take the hatchet to those whose retelling of history may be at odds with their own hackneyed version.
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It helps if aspiring writers of historical fiction are not as ridiculously beautiful as Deepika Padukone with her ability to make even the uni -brow sexy nor as successful as Sanjay Leela Bhansali with his unlimited budget to make his overwrought passion plays. This is one situation where it pays to be a paunchy wordsmith who is unlikely to stir envy and wrath in the breasts of the less fortunate who may then be prompted to bay for blood till a work of art is banned into oblivion. 

Finally, the writer of historical fiction must be willing to embrace suicidal tendencies and take a leap of faith, bolstered by a firm belief, misguided or otherwise that a shot at history will always be worthwhile.   

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