Poet Saptarshi Dutt from India interviewed by Patrick Sammut
1. The world today is facing very hard times. I just mention the floods that struck parts of Australia, the quake and tsunami in Japan and the following nuclear threat, and the civil war in Libya. How much do events like these touch the poet/writer? Did you react to such events through some kind of writing (poetry, novel,etc.)?
A writer’s pen soars irrespective of any event ---- no matter how small it may be. Be it natural catastrophe or human threats (viz, nuclear threat, civil war, cold war, hostility amongst various nations in International world) all drives the writer’s inner self to react. As a fact, a writer’s baby (poem, fiction, travelogues, columns, interviews, article, and essays) takes its birth from the surrounding happenings all over the world
Yes, I did react. In fact I did protest against such insurgencies long time ago. Poems like Terrorism, Mayhem, Bloodshed, Where are we Going, Enough…..had already been composed by me long time back. These creations explicitly reveal the negative aspects of humanity and the horrendous site that we are leaving for our upcoming generations.
2. Do you think that the writer/poet must express himself and sound his voice regarding such events as soon as possible? What is the role of the writer/poet faced with events like these? Is this role less or more important than that of today’s politicians?
Each and every writer has its own unique ways of expressing. Hence, I do not feel that any universal principle can be designed to this particular question. However, looking upon the matter from societal perspective, I think, it benefits the society if the writer voice outs his/her opinion immediately after the event occurs. For, it enhances the masses, citizens, bureaucrats, policy-makers, legislators, judiciary, administrators, politicians, statesman, journalists, and others to know their true stance. But again, this job is not as easy as it looks. Political disturbances and chaos often forces writers to sublime their voice relatively to a large extent. Mostly because publishers, newspapers, commercial houses do not intend to any risk in relation to this aspects fearing that they may have to experience ill-experience from various corners of the society, if the “Actual truth” comes out. It is for this reason, we find that writers comes out with their voice of protest in relation to a particular event long time after the event had actually taken place……
3. The writer/poet has been insisting on the need for peace and respect of nature for decades. Perhaps now the people in general will understand that writers/poets were right. Do you think writers/poets are doing their utmost to make their plea heard? What more can be done?
Over the years, writers, poets, columnists, free-lance writers are epitomizing on the needs of peace, tranquillity, composure, and equanimity. These creative writers had been protesting against these vices in whatever ways…..Now its upto the citizens, commoners, and general masses to adopt their principles and implement it in their walks of life.
4. There is a need for governments and authorities to acknowledge the utmost importance of disciplines such as History, Literature, Philosophy and the like. Modern society does not need only science, finance, marketing, economics and management. How do you react to such a statement?
In my opinion, development of a nation is a whole-some process. It cannot be demarcated in a one-direction. A positive development needs to have an all round progress, which can be achieved only by combine efforts of history, culture, literature, fiction, science, maths, sports, medicine etc. hence, ignoring couple of them or any of them and thus emphasizing on others leave a space for latches. Hence, I feel that if a nation at all, has to improve, it needs to reconcile its efforts in all the direction i.e. marketing, finance, science, stock-markets, economics, history, literature, fiction, art, music so on and so forth…..