“One of the most dazzling writers in India” – mourning for Kiran Nagarkar


He was one of the greats of Indian contemporary literature. Now, Kiran Nagarkar, who was also in Germany many readers, died in his home city of Mumbai, 77-year-old. His death moved the Feuilletons.

A literary critic Sigrid Löffler named Kiran Nagakar “one of the most important authors of post-colonial India”. Nagarkars work is varied and different in narrative style, in the literary Genres and in the fabrics. It is a main theme, namely, the reality of life in India after independence circle, but between the big-city Slums and village life, between Bollywood and the rise of religious extremism among Muslims and Hindus to Islamic and Hindu Terror. “Actually, it’s about the Perversion of the Religious,” says Löffler, in the Germany radio.

The critic of the Bayerischer Rundfunk, Cornelia Zetzsche, recognizes Nagarkar as a “virtuoso of his craft”, the Bombay, the Mumbai of today, I have described what it is: “a gateway to the Western world, with but a thousand microcosms.” As a playwright, screenwriter, Essayist, and especially as a novelist was with Nagarkar, “a soloist and one of the most dazzling writers in India” assigned.

Kiran Nagarkars Humor

Kiran Nagarkar, interviewed by DW-employee Manasi Gopalakrishnan at the Frankfurt book fair 2012.

The “serious Humor” of the deceased’s praises, however, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. “That was for Kiran Nagarkar, no Flirty Paradox, but a Directive, to be oriented, and which he raised in addition to the ethical principle,” noted the NZZ author Angela Schader. To do this, you quoted Nagarkar from a previous conversation with your newspaper: “What should the effect of Humor, actually,” said the Indian writer as, “is a maximum sharpening of the sense of value standards. You must be of your own values is absolutely safe; the only way to will lead the reader to the point where he grabs her head and asks: To heaven, what did I laugh there?”

There were four novels that earned him his literary reputation. Already with his debut novel, “Saat Sakkam Trechalis” 1974 (dt. “Seven times six is forty-three”/2007) ventured Nagarkar, a formal Experiment: He cut off the life story of its protagonist, a have luck nothing, multiple times harsh and used a language mix of Marathi, Hindi and English.

Four important books

Nagarkars novel “Ravan and Eddie” from 1995 (dt. “Ravan & Eddie”, released in 2004) plays in the Bombay of the 1950s and gives an insight into the life-world of the “Chawls”, the gigantic Mietblocks of ordinary people. The author focuses on the barriers between social and religious groups of the subcontinent. “Cuckold” of 1997 (dt. “Krsna’s shadow”/2002) tells a historical epic the Princess Mirabai from the 16. Century, a mystic and God schwärmerin and one of the greatest poets of India. For this work, Nagarkar received in 2000 the highest recognition of the Indian Academy of Literature, the Sahitya Akademi Award. “God’s Little Soldier” finally, which was published in 2006 (dt. “God’s little warrior”/2006) is a study of religious fanaticism.

“The gateway to the Western world, with thousands of microcosms”: Mumbai, the former Bombay

“Tall and slim, in her hair, white strands, like the threads in his shirt in grey cotton that falls to the knees.” TIME-author Susanne Mayer described by the author in 2008, when he took for a year at the artists-in-Berlin program of the DAAD and met him for an Interview. “Moving hands, narrow with long fingers. He could be a movie star, would Bollywood occupy finally the elder gentleman.” In fact, Nagarka outed himself in an article for the NZZ because even as a die-hard Fan of the Hindi film: “We have always looked to our own film industry, and if a writer on Bollywood wrote – even if he did it lovingly, he made it funny. It is easy to mock these movies; but they overlook the fact, however, is the simple fact that you can’t parody Bollywood because it does it all the time, nonstop.”

“Merkel as a world-Chancellor”

Sometimes adding, Nagarkar, the love of his homeland and the grip of the Humor: “a Lot of things in India baffled me completely”, he once admitted in an Interview with the magazine “The Parliament” on the record. “In India, every imaginable objection seems to be possible,” says Nagarkar, “some of the richest people in the world are Indians, at the same time, we are a terribly poor country, where people still starve to death and children die of starvation. We make a name for ourselves in the world of information technologies, in industry and research, and at the same time, we are extremely superstitious and hold on the officially long since been abolished, the System of the box.”

Kiran Nagarkar studied at the Ferguson College in the Western Indian city of Pune, worked as a lecturer at various universities, was a Journalist, wrote screenplays, and earned money in the advertising industry. Germany, where he was often a guest at the Frankfurt book fair, felt Nagarkar, specially connected: So he wrote to the Federal election in 2017, a guest commentary for Deutsche Welle. “Watch the world happen,” demanded he, “a madman with delusions of grandeur ruling the USA, the UK can’t say after his Brexit decision once, what is his own interest, the Eastern European countries are happy with their democratic values. And my own country, India, is ruled by a Hindu-nationalism.” He wishes that the castle Nagarkar, “that not only Germany but the whole world could elect Angela Merkel as their Chancellor.”

Last Thursday, Kiran Nagarkar, has died in Mumbai at the age of 77 years.