|Posted on 27 January, 2016 at 2:50|
BookGeeks: How was your experience as a debut author?
Suresh: Passion generates a dream and the dream becomes a reality provided the passion does not limit itself to the dream and dies once you open your eyes. Having traversed the 65 years’ span of life, my perspective of life has already been realized in a precious experience which I desire to pass on to the next generation inspiring as many of them as possible to dream and think of flagships that they set for themselves to achieve. Becoming an author is certainly much beyond any flagship achievement as the intense suffering of the world around has gone wild and is swallowing the pleasure of life. And during these unfortunate sufferings many stories are born and these stories crave for a soul that can mold them into a presentable shape so the entire human world can read them, embrace them and love them. That soul is no one but an Author. This was the feeling and my experience as a debut author.
BookGeeks: We learn that the character of Ghulab Sahib was inspired by your mother? Could you please throw some light on how you derived inspiration for the character of Ghulab from your mother?
Suresh: After her marriage at the age of 13, Santosh, my mother landed in Kishtwar, a small but strategic town in Jammu & Kashmir from Srinagar. It took her only few days to know the people and the place. Every one fell in love with the new bride, as she moved on winning each soul that lived in there. She was just like Ghulab, an intelligent, warm and extra ordinary woman.
She was 16 when most tragic riots spread across the country, post-independence in the year 1947. Kishtwar has always been a secular town where the various communities always lived in complete harmony, but as the destiny would have been, the religious sentiments outweighed the harmony and a strange tension started brewing between the two main communities, who started piling up weapons and whatever they could find. The center stage was the main bazaar, the only market place that divided the town. And once the two communities thought they were ready to attack each other across the bazaar, dressed as a soldier and holding a shining sword this 16 year pregnant woman, Santosh jumped in to patrol the silent bazaar. She challenged both the sides to fight her before crossing to the other side. So much was the love and respect for her that not even a single person dared to confront her. She kept on her patrol and the vigil for three days and three nights without a blink until the people dispersed one by one. The sanity eventually returned and till this day people have never forgotten the angel who had saved them from a heinous fate. She was admitted into a sanatorium after she gave birth to me two years after the above incident and never came out. She died very bravely at the age of 25 years. Driven by her strength and magnanimity, I have always been inspired by her in my life.
BookGeeks: Any upcoming projects you are currently working on?
Suresh: My next project is a film project with no name. The story has been written and we that are I and my daughter Misha Goswami are writing the screenplay. It will be an in-house production and she will direct the film. The story is about thousands of missing persons in Kashmir in the last two decades. Incidentally most of these missing persons have died in custody.
I have also started working on two books. The first one is “In search of God”, a fiction about a child and his perception of God as he grows. The second book, “Seventh Dimension” is a fiction about a man who discovers a man created zero gravity zone deep inside Himalayas, very far and unapproachable by anyone, except the chosen ones. He realizes that he is one of those chosen ones and then his strange journey starts. The zero gravity zone is an environment of Nirvana state where the body transforms into an eternal substance and does not need any of the material substances to survive. The soul nourishes and the life though devoid of complete material sustenance lives without aging.
BookGeeks: Who is your favourite author and what makes him/her so?
Suresh: Ayn Rand (1905–1982) was a philosopher and a novelist who outlined a comprehensive philosophy, including an epistemology and a theory of art, in her novels and essays. Early in her career she also wrote short stories, plays, and screenplays. In Rand's own words, her first and greatest love, her “life purpose,” was “the creation of the kind of world … that represents human perfection,” Rand's first and most autobiographical novel, We the Living (1936), set in the Soviet Union, was published only after many rejections, owing to widespread sympathy for the Soviet “experiment” among the intellectuals of the day. We the Living was quickly followed by the dystopian novel, Anthem (1938), written as “a kind of rest” from work on her next major novel, The Fountainhead (1943). The Fountainhead, also published after many rejections because of its individualism, and largely panned by critics, soon became a best-seller by word of mouth. The Fountainhead brought Rand international fame, and Atlas Shrugged (1957) sealed this fame. By 1958, Rand's novels, increasingly philosophical, had won her ideas a sufficiently devoted following for her to form, in association with psychologist Nathaniel Branden (with whom she later broke), an official “Objectivist” philosophical movement, complete with journals and lecture courses. We the Living and The Fountainhead have been made into movies, as has Parts I and II of a projected trilogy of Atlas Shrugged.
I read all her books and the publications at a very early stage in life and somehow I have never enjoyed any book after reading her. So much was I obsessed with her and her philosophy that all I wanted was to meet her personally. And on my first visit to New York in 1974 as a sailor on a ship, my good friend Elinor Polansky who was then a professor in New York University made it possible. She drove me straight to her house one early winter morning. It was snowing but almost 200 people stood outside her house to have a glimpse of this great writer. She received me well and hugged me warmly. I have never forgotten that moment of my life.
BookGeeks: What is your greatest desire as an author?
Suresh: Getting the love of readers, and getting to the most of World readership has been my desire. There is this continuing urge to unearth stories, hidden in the mysterious mind and under the skin of the past, and bring them to the forefront so the human society can realize their presence.
BookGeeks: Who or what gives you your biggest inspiration to write?
Suresh: Millions of innocent human beings across the globe who suffered at the hands of greed, power, politics and senseless genocides and whose voices remain buried under the soil, unheard, un-noticed and neglected. I guess, the painful sorrow of these fellow human beings need to be brought to the knowledge of our world and that is where I derive a great inspiration to open their ears and eyes to the buried voices that continue their painful shrills in an effort to seek justice from all of us.
On a concluding note, I would love to mention that the person who has always supported and encouraged me to write is my wife Savita Goswami.
BookGeeks: If it is not too intruding, can you share something about your life in Kashmir?
Suresh: Born in Kashmir, I spent the first 21 years of my life in the valley. It was a heaven in those days. A magnificent marvel of nature and the wonderful Kashmiris was the ideal destination for millions of tourists who poured in lavishly and enjoyed the beauty of the place and the hospitality of the locals. The infiltration of the mercenaries was always noticed occasionally but apart from a few violent incidents the life continued and despite the endless struggles in my life I did enjoy the way I was growing up. The initial childhood was deprived of the mother and the family but there was love in abundance from the neighbors and friends. I was very passionate about education and did everything possible to continue studying no matter what I had to do, including working as a house help with affluent people. Later on while doing engineering In REC Srinagar, I worked almost 8 hours a day in order to meet the expenses in addition to educational loan and the merit scholarship that supported me to a great extent. The 5-6 years in the campus was the best part of my life. During this golden time I grew up and ventured into everything possible, be it music, theater, athletics, mountaineering, debates, writing plays and having lots of fun.
BookGeeks: In your opinion what is the biggest challenge facing the present day Kashmir and what could be its possible solution?
Suresh: Kashmir has somehow been a target for exploitation. If you go through the history, you will notice that India always attracted aggressive warriors who found the divided Indians vulnerable and it was never a great effort to attack our country paving way to their successful expeditions and taking control of India, a place with abundant prosperity. Unfortunately it was always the Kashmir Valley that each one of them wanted to possess, and indulge their exclusive prize possession. Their madness was so extreme that they did not want to share the valley with the Kashmiris with the result that Kashmiris, who were mostly Hindus, were either killed mercilessly or forced to flee from the valley.
The first exodus resulted at the instance of Sultan Sikandar during 1389 to 1413. He was known as the iconoclast and meant to wipe out the very existence of Kashmiri’s from the valley. It was Chaks during 1506 -1585 when second exodus took place, the third exodus was the doing of Aurangzeb, and then it was, Fazal Kanth, Faqirullah, The British, all the Jehadi’s infiltrating from Pakistan and other countries and to complete the 700 years of agonizing multi exodus there came this freedom, after which each Indian felt free and a complete citizen except for the unfortunate Kashmiri who never became a rightful citizen of India, Instead he was deprived of his life and dumped into a refuge and an exile within the territory of his own motherland and was given the name of A Refugee without being given any rights of being a refugee by the United nations and the rest of this world.
Under the circumstances it is very difficult to think about a solution. The only probable solution would be a compromise of all the vested interests in Kashmir. Unfortunately India, Pakistan and China will never be able to carve any solution. Kashmir continues to be a painful vulnerability in the Indo-Pak region disallowing India to become a world power.
BookGeeks: A few words for BookGeeks.in
Suresh: I am very impressed with the simplicity and the vision of Book Geeks that has created a platform for the independent author and their books to grow. The collaboration of these young minds who have rightly sought to find a unique initiative, are much appreciated by us and I am sure you will receive many blessings in your support.