The Great Crossroads of Paul Zacharia’s Literature with Tamil Readers – The New Indian Express
Express press service
After decades of writing, across multiple mediums, acclaimed Malayalam writer Paul Zacharia is no stranger to awards and accolades. Amidst all this, it is the Kalaignar MU Karunanidhi Porkizhi award which he considers one of the most important recognitions. “It comes from the Tamil people, that’s how I like to see it. And it’s in the name of a man – a statesman and a politician – whom I respect a lot, Mu Karunanidhi. So, it is greatly appreciated,” he said. said.
The award is all the more special because it is a Dravidian award, says Paul. “I always say that I support Dravidian politics; I can be left-wing or right-wing. And I think Dravidian politics will have a big role in the future of the Indian nation. Especially with a man like Stalin in charge, who modernized it. I think that will make a huge difference,” he said.
Yet for such a major award given by the state government, there is very little promotion that comes with it, he notes, adding that working on it would greatly benefit the honor and the people it is awarded to. .
“What do the awards do? They help to promote the writer’s books; besides helping those particular books, it helps literature as a whole. And literature, even in Kerala, is a minority business. An award attracts immediate attention to it.Also when Rs 8-10 lakh is given (as part of the Porkizhi prize) through BAPASI to writers, I think (the prize) should be given a very big advertising,” he suggests.
He attributes this distinction to Tamil translations of many of his works. “I think 12 to 14 of my books are now in print in Tamil published by various publishers like Kalachuvadu. So a lot of books have reached Tamil readers. I used to write a column in Kalachuvadu called Malayala Ragasiyangal. It was written in Malayalam and translated into Tamil by the poet Sukumaran. It has also reached a large number of Tamil audiences. So, I meet Tamils who think that I am a Tamil writer. It is a very privileged position,” he shares.
Experimenting with different mediums is something Zacharia considers an essential addition to his creative process. Although widely known for his short stories and novels, he has done his bit in the fields of children’s literature, travelogues, screenplays (for films and soap operas), translations and essays. He continues to write for several major newspapers, on topics ranging from mythology, history, social policy and art.
“I tell my friends – writers younger than me – to write for the (news) media. You have to write fiction or poetry or play or whatever – it makes you a writer. Once you get there, if you can also write for the media on contemporary issues, taking a clear stance on issues that are important to society, that helps. In my case, I know a lot of people who have connected with me in a particular way not because they read some fiction that I wrote, but they read me in my columns and newspaper articles,” he says.
Perhaps that’s why Paul Zacharia is still active in the literary world at the age of 76. A Cuba travelogue is in the works, which would bring to life her experience in the Caribbean country two years ago. This will be his seventh book in this category.
Her second novel in English, after the surreal A Secret History of Compassion, is also due out soon. And there are stories that “keep happening.” Until then, you can always look up his signature in your favorite newspaper.