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10 Indian Author’s Books Selected for JCB Prize for Literature

Of the 10 novels, the jury will shortlist five, which will be announced on October 3. The five shortlisted writers receive Rs 1 lakh each.

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Scottish novelist, playwright and short story writer Irvine Welsh echoed similar sentiments, stating that people in India are reading "a lot of books".

Ten outstanding Indian novels in English along with translations from Indian languages by veterans as well as debut authors were longlisted on Wednesday for the Rs 25 lakh JCB Prize for Literature, with its literary director highlighting “enormous diversity” in the submissions.

The longlist features two novels in translation: “Poonachi or The Story of a Black Goat”, originally written in Tamil by Perumal Murugan and Malayalam novel “Jasmine Days” by Benny Daniel; two novels by debut women writers: “Latitudes of Longing” by Shubhangi Swarup and “Empire” by Devi Yesodharan; and two novels by authors previously nominated for the Man Booker Prize: “All The Lives We Never Lived” by Anuradha Roy and “The Book of Chocolate Saints” by Jeet Thayil.

They are joined by veteran writers Nayantara Sahgal and Kiran Nagarkar, whose “When The Moon Shines by Day” and “Jasoda” released to prominence and reflected the burden of society in 2017.

While the entry of Amitabha Bagchi’s “Half the Night is Gone” that explores the inner and outer lives of the men in two families, was almost expected, Chandrahas Choudhury’s “Clouds” was the surprise novel in the longlist.

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Excerpt from Amitabha Bagchi’s “Above Average”

Entries for the inaugural edition of the prize, an initiative of the earthmoving and construction equipment company JCB India Ltd, came from writers in 19 states and 22 per cent of them were translations.

“The most striking thing about the entries we received is their enormous diversity. We had entries from 17 states and eight languages. The oldest author was nearly seven decades older than the youngest. There were books about ancient Indian history and mythology, books about ecological disasters, books about religious strife and the situation of women. All in all, it was a very exciting set of books, which represents the full set of possibilities of the novel,” Rana Dasgupta, Literary Director of the prize told IANS.

The British Indian novelist and essayist further noted that many of the translations were from Malayalam and Kannada. He said that it is no longer possible to “generalise” as novels in Indian languages are “as cosmopolitan as any other”.

“Writers in these languages set their novels in locations all across the world, and they have a great contemporaneity of form, character and language. In future years, translated fiction will make up a much greater share of entries to the Prize,” Dasgupta maintained.

Scholar Rohan Murthy, writers Priyamvada Natarajan and Vivek Shanbhag, and author-translator Arshia Sattar comprise the jury with film director Deepa Mehta chairing the panel.

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Rana Dasgupta, is himself a celebrated author. Flickr

Of the 10 novels, the jury will shortlist five, which will be announced on October 3. The five shortlisted writers receive Rs 1 lakh each.

The final award will be presented to the writer of the winning novel on October 27. If the winning work is a translation, the translator will be awarded an additional Rs 5 lakh.

The winning novelist will be awarded Rs 25 lakh, the highest for a prize of its kind in India.

Ten outstanding Indian novels in English along with translations from Indian languages by veterans as well as debut authors were longlisted on Wednesday for the Rs 25 lakh JCB Prize for Literature, with its literary director highlighting “enormous diversity” in the submissions.

The longlist features two novels in translation: “Poonachi or The Story of a Black Goat”, originally written in Tamil by Perumal Murugan and Malayalam novel “Jasmine Days” by Benny Daniel; two novels by debut women writers: “Latitudes of Longing” by Shubhangi Swarup and “Empire” by Devi Yesodharan; and two novels by authors previously nominated for the Man Booker Prize: “All The Lives We Never Lived” by Anuradha Roy and “The Book of Chocolate Saints” by Jeet Thayil.

They are joined by veteran writers Nayantara Sahgal and Kiran Nagarkar, whose “When The Moon Shines by Day” and “Jasoda” released to prominence and reflected the burden of society in 2017.

Literature
Anuradha Roys’s ‘All The Lives We Never Lived’. Goodreads

While the entry of Amitabha Bagchi’s “Half the Night is Gone” that explores the inner and outer lives of the men in two families, was almost expected, Chandrahas Choudhury’s “Clouds” was the surprise novel in the longlist.

Entries for the inaugural edition of the prize, an initiative of the earthmoving and construction equipment company JCB India Ltd, came from writers in 19 states and 22 per cent of them were translations.

“The most striking thing about the entries we received is their enormous diversity. We had entries from 17 states and eight languages. The oldest author was nearly seven decades older than the youngest. There were books about ancient Indian history and mythology, books about ecological disasters, books about religious strife and the situation of women. All in all, it was a very exciting set of books, which represents the full set of possibilities of the novel,” Rana Dasgupta, Literary Director of the prize told IANS.

The British Indian novelist and essayist further noted that many of the translations were from Malayalam and Kannada. He said that it is no longer possible to “generalise” as novels in Indian languages are “as cosmopolitan as any other”.

“Writers in these languages set their novels in locations all across the world, and they have a great contemporaneity of form, character and language. In future years, translated fiction will make up a much greater share of entries to the Prize,” Dasgupta maintained.

literature
The final award will be presented to the writer of the winning novel on October 27. If the winning work is a translation, the translator will be awarded an additional Rs 5 lakh. Pixabay

Scholar Rohan Murthy, writers Priyamvada Natarajan and Vivek Shanbhag, and author-translator Arshia Sattar comprise the jury with film director Deepa Mehta chairing the panel.

Also Read: India Provides Good Future for Books Than Other Parts of The World

Of the 10 novels, the jury will shortlist five, which will be announced on October 3. The five shortlisted writers receive Rs 1 lakh each.

The final award will be presented to the writer of the winning novel on October 27. If the winning work is a translation, the translator will be awarded an additional Rs 5 lakh.

The winning novelist will be awarded Rs 25 lakh, the highest for a prize of its kind in India. (IANS)

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TikTok, Wikipedia Face Troubles With The Arrival of new Data Rules in India

As per the proposals, social media companies will have to modify their application as they are required to have a system in place by which a user can verify themselves

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the government could pull down information provided by platforms such as Wikipedia, potentially hampering its functioning in India. Wikimedia Commons

With the window to submit comments on India’s proposed personal data protection law closing on Tuesday, a period of anxious wait for final version of the Bill started for social media firms.

This comes even as global Internet companies have called on the government for improved transparency related to intermediary Guidelines (Amendment) Rules and allay fears about the prospect of increased surveillance and prompting a fragmentation of the Internet in India that would harm users.

As per the proposed amendments, an intermediary having over 50 lakh users in the country will have to be incorporated in India with a permanent registered office and address. When required by lawful order, the intermediary shall, within 72 hours of communication, provide such information or assistance as asked for by any government agency or assistance concerning security of the state or cybersecurity.

This means that the government could pull down information provided by platforms such as Wikipedia, potentially hampering its functioning in India. In the open letter to IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, leading browser and software development platform like Mozilla, Microsoft-owned GitHub and Cloudflare earlier called for improved transparency by allowing the public an opportunity to see a final version of these amendments prior to their enactment.

The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, which was introduced in Lok Sabha in the winter session last year, was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) of both the Houses. The government last month decided to seek views and suggestions on the Bill from individuals and associations and bodies concerned and the last date for submitting the comments was on Tuesday.

Prasad, while introducing the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, in the Lok Sabha on December 11, announced that the draft Bill empowers the government to ask companies including Facebook, Google and others for anonymised personal data and non-personal data. There was a buzz when the Bill’s latest version was introduced in the Lok Sabha, especially the provision seeking to allow the use of personal and non-personal data of users in some cases, especially when national security is involved.

Several legal experts red-flagged the issue and said the provision will give the government unaccounted access to personal data of users in the country. In their submission to the JPC, several organisations also flagged that the power to collect non-personal and anonymised data by the government without notice and consent should not form part of the Bill because of issues regarding effective anonymisation and potential abuse.

“Clauses 35 and 36 of the Bill provide unbridled access to personal data to the Central Government by giving it powers to exempt its agencies from the application of the Bill on the basis of various broad worded grounds,” SFLC.in, a New Delhi-based not-for-profit legal services organisation, commented.

The Software Alliance, also known as BSA, a trade group which includes tech giants such as Microsoft, IBM and Adobe, among others said that the current version of the privacy bill pose substantial challenges, including the sweeping new powers for the government to acquire non-personal data, restrictions on data transfers, and local storage requirements.

The mandatory requirement for storing a mirror copy of all personal data in India as per Section 40 of the Srikrishna Bill has been done away with in the PDP Bill, 2019, meaning that companies like Facebook and Twitter would be able to store data of Indian users abroad if they so wish. But the bill prohibits processing of sensitive personal data and critical personal data outside India.What is more, what constitutes critical data has not been clearly defined.

TikTok
On a plain reading of the definition, online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, ShareChat and WhatsApp are likely to be notified as SMIs under the Bill. Wikimedia Commons

As per the proposals, social media companies will have to modify their application as they are required to have a system in place by which a user can verify themselves. So legal experts believe that some system to upload identification documents should be there and something like the Twitter blue tick mark should be there to identify verified accounts.

“The 2019 Bill introduces a new category of data fiduciaries called social media intermediaries (‘SMIs’). SMIs are a subcategory of significant data fiduciaries (‘SDFs’) and will be notified by the Central government after due consultation with the DPA, or the Data Protection Authority. Clause 26(4) of the Bill defines SMIs as intermediaries who primarily or solely enable online interaction between two or more users,” SFLC.in said.

“On a plain reading of the definition, online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, ShareChat and WhatsApp are likely to be notified as SMIs under the Bill,” it added. (IANS)