Monday, January 31, 2011

prof. carlos is a leading writer and critic in tamil.
we present an interview with carlos by m k harikumar

1) What is your philosophy of writing?

Answer:As such I dont have a philosophy of writing, if by philosophy you mean a set of norms.I think,norms dont guide one's writing. I dont have a philosophy as Camus had a philosophy,existencialism.I am of the view that most of our writers including me are guided by our situation. I lose my self in themelieu, and my melieu writes through me. By my meleiu or situation I mean my Language and society.

My philosophy, so, is that I am carried away by a kind of non-agency because we humans are lost ina post- modernist condition where man/woman are lost in an environment , the environment whichshows Marxism or Religion as the last resort of humans if only they have enough dreams( delusions)to shape a personal Marxism or a personal Religion.You can see these motifs both in my fictions(some novels&two collections of short stories) and critical my younger days all of us had philosophy.Not any more.

2)Is writing a fate?

In Tamil most of us were shaped by the rationalist Periar evenwhen we were not grown enough to know what he was preaching was a kind of Western rationalism. So " fate" looks to be a little old-fashioned concept to describe my resorting to write for the last 40 years, mostly in little magazines.An ordinary Tamil reader doesnt know our kind of writing.When I introduced STRUCURALISM in 1982 in a 365 page book, even coining many words were very difficult; now Tamil critics use most of the words that were used in that book. Not like Malayalam,Tamil hide writers in many of its shirt pockets or pant pockets or underwear pockets like children hide sweet or chocolet.Very serious writers are not known to many.In this situation how can I say writing is my fate.We write, thats all.We all write a kind of minority literature, to use a phrase of Deluse, the French philosopher.

3)How do you evaluate cross -culture writing?

I think it is otherwise called 'hybride' writing or expatriate writing or the colony writes back. I think In tamil the ' under ground ' writers ( who are not known to the general public ) are all writing a kind of hybrid writing becase western influence is very much felt in their writing . As the western writers give wards to Salman Rushdy or Arunthathi ray, they feel a sense of East.So are we . So this hybridity may not catch the imagination of our writers.But I am attracted by Salman or Arvind Adiga.Sometime back there was a debate on Adiga. I said , I like Adiga as he brings fresh air to writing as against the tamil writing that comes in Magazines
that cater to Brahminwomen readers who are the consumers of pulp ficion in Tamil ie. "pynkili sahythyam"- that word is
malayalis contribution to critical phrases of Indian Language.

4)Evaluate the terms like sensibility and identity Answer:To me the mention of the word "sensibility " and" Identity "are related .Sensibility makes one to lose sensibility in the background of a harsh and inhuman world .Marx considered religion consoles people in an inhuman world. In the same sense sensibility of humans drives them to identity; be it race , religion, or language, or nation. We know that literature deals with sensibility.I think sensibility is individual and identity is social. Earlier sensibility is associated with authors or writers.Not any more.After Roland Barthes wrote his book opposing Sartre's idea of commitment in Literature sensibility is associated with readers and the languageof the author becomes nuetral. One reads an author to lose his individual sensibility and become one with the authors nuetrality. Bad writers are, I think, propagating their ideas along with their sensibilities because writing is a nuetral act.When I take a stand whether to join a struggle or not to join, it is my choice.Author may throw some light; Reader has to stand aloof from the text and take a decision.I come from a culture where people are cheated by actors of films. After seeing a few films where the actor always beats the villain the people make the actor the chief minister.So I think sensibility and its associates feeling etc.-all these things have to be checked and then reshaped .The modified sensibility is identity.Diospora writing is largely based on Identity politics.

5)React to the concept of an outsider or anarchist in connection with the life style of a writer?

Thanks for asking this question. I have been always thinking that an author is an outsider and hence an anarchist. Marxist critics like Herbert Marcuse used the word Negation, drawing this word from Hegel.Thats perhaps the reason -nagating is the vocation of a writer-why Sartre rejected Nobel price . I have faith only in experimental writing. I am happy to know that you like Kazakinte Ithihasam.I like Borges who experiments in every piece he writes . This comes from his sense of anarchism. Great writers are always anarchists. The second rate writes write for
a common mass. Experiment is not possible there.Robbe grilette- whom you mention in some essay -do you think that kind of writing is possible if they think they should reach lakhs of readers. Marx was considered an anarchist who died in poverty. Art is created with a fundamental feeling that artist belongs to no where. Marginality or gay writing,
or feminist writing, dalit writing - all these are based on a feeling of anarchism. But unfortunately today feminists want reservartion and want to become powerful. Dalit writers want recognition .That is what is happening in Maharashtra.

So is the case with all kinds of marginalty.Literature is basically anarchistic as language through which we write is in its core an anarchistic medium.Barthes said language is fascistic, but i think language is anarchistic. Tn Tamil most of the writers are outsiders as most of them are not known outside a circle of a few hundred readers.

prof carlos:

1) Professional background:

a)Professor & Head, Dept.of Tamil-Dravidian University, Kuppam(Retd)-2 years

b)Visiting Professor In Tamil, Warsaw University, Poland ( 4 years)

c) Director ,Translation Centre, Central sahitya Akademy


1) 4 novels

2) 15 books on criticism

3)Talk in foreign countries

1) Germany- isfnr congress

2) Paris-Lyopald Mayer institute

3) Cracow Univesity-Poland

4) London- Tamil Book release& Talk


1) Warsavil oru Kadavul-by Tamilavan - best novel of 2008( selected by Can

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