To protest against terror, refuse to be afraid: Hari Kunzru

Novelist Hari Kunzru, who is closely connected to India due to his Kashmiri ancestry (Kashmiri father, English Protestant mother), is renowned for his three books – The Impressionist, which won the Betty Trask Prize and the Somerset Maugham Award; Transmission and My Revolutions, which came out in January 2008.

Standing tall with a strong built, shaven head and a mix of oriental and occidental features, the writer was one of the most sought after writers at the Jaipur Literary Festival.

Shivangi Singh of, caught up with the writer, who chatted away about terror attacks, his upcoming work, Bollywood and so on…

Shivangi: You said in your books that technology has changed the way to protest against injustice. What do you think is the best way to protest against terror attacks, considering the recent events in India?

Kunzru: Well, this is a very interesting question. I would like to say is that to protest against terror, refuse to be afraid. Couple of years ago, demonstrations were used to protest but now times have changed, we can protest in so many ways. Use modern technology to protest, use webgraphics, e-mails, and illustrations to underline the message that – We are not afraid. Just refuse to be afraid.

Shivangi: How many times have you been here? What do you think are the changes in the response of the audience towards a literary festival?

Kunzru: This is the second time I am attending the festival. I must say that this festival has become really big and one of the major literary events in the world. What surprises me is the huge appetite in the audience for literary stuff. It is encouraging!

Shivangi: Your readers are eagerly waiting for your next book. Please tell us something about it?

Kunzru: Well, I can’t reveal much on that because the novel I am writing is in the early stages. It will take sometime before I complete it.

Shivangi: Your ‘My Revolutions’ did not have any Asian character. Do you have any character from this region in your upcoming book?

Kunzru: (Smiles) Yes, I have. In fact, my character is a Punjabi!

Shivangi: Tell us about your favourite Indian authors?

Kunzru: My favourite Indian authors are Salman Rushdie and Pankaj Mishra.

Shivangi: Have you read Booker winner Aravind Adiga’s ‘The White Tiger’? What is your opinion of the book?

Kunzru: I read Adiga’s ‘The White Tiger’, its tone is very angry. I liked it. However, I found his second book, ‘Between the Assassinations’, very interesting. It’s a short story book and is very good.

Shivangi: Do you watch Hindi films? Which was the last Bollywood film you saw?

Kunzru: I generally don’t watch a lot of Hindi films. But while on flight, I watched Akshay Kumar’s ‘Singh is Kinng’. It was entertaining. Akshay Kumar plays the stupid very well.

Shivangi: Please tell us about the literary influences on your life?

Kunzru: It’s very hard to answer because there are so many influences. But I can tell you about the recent good book I have read. It’s a work by Roberto Bolaño Ávalos and I tell you, it is amazing.