Reading to overcome
There was a time when one went to the Gita, the Ramayana, the Bible or another religious text with faith that it would help one in times of crisis. But in these postmodern times, religious texts have lessened their grip on us and we hardly go to them for help. Instead, we pick up novels that will grip us with their fictional worlds. Reading to overcome has shifted from a blind faith in religion to a trust that fiction will keep us in the right frame of mind and positive in outlook.
Novels and fictions, written in the contemporary world of technology and unnatural addictions, must live up to their new social roles. When novelists tell stories that go not a jot beyond love stories or crime fiction, they leave their roles quite unaccomplished. The novelist needs to engage the souls and the complete beings of people. Responsible literary authors have come forward to carry out this social role of supporting society with a kind of vision or assurance that all is not lost for us. Contemporary fiction must carry out this role if it is to remain a meaningful activity. Since fiction is absorbing and is an effective tool to pass time, it must include in its functions something that religion did in yesteryears.
This is what I had in mind when I wrote The Tailor’s Needle. I took seven years to complete it but in those seven years, my mind remained determined to help the man that had been treated unkindly by life; I wrote for the man looking for solutions to tackle the problems of contemporary living. I realized that to do this I had to take the reader to a past age when man had more faith than he has now. Once the reader was made to enter a text’s world where faith was still not lost, he would become a part of an existence in which faith could still help. It is not as if the world of the past was crime free; far from that. The Tailor’s Needle takes the reader into a world as full of crime as it ever was or has been but it also sketches a world where faith is still present to pull man out of this anomie.
I believe that because of this quality, The Tailor’s Needle has done so well not only in India but in the world at large. I have decided that as far as possible whatever I write in the future must share in this quality with The Tailor’s Needle. I have no doubt that without faith people will tend to be attracted by fascist and extremist activities. The underworld of crime will grow. I always say that students must read meaningful fiction as that will keep them assured that good actions will lead to good and fulfilled lives. This is what fiction should make us believe.