My interview with KR Meera, published in Scroll: the explosive Malayali writer talks on the need to preserve regional languages in literature and the value of translation.
KR Meera is among Kerala's most celebrated contemporary writers. Born in 1970, she worked as a journalist for many years, writing short stories on the side. In 2006, she gave up her job to write fiction full-time – which, as her prolific output reveals, she really does.
When she talked highly of the book, I thought I was dreaming. Then one day, Anita Nair surprised me by reviewing the book in Outlook. In Jaipur, hers was one session I attended religiously. But for Devika’s translation, I don't think this would have happened.
Language is a tool for communication, but it is also a record of various forms of life and information regarding the complex relationships evolved between humans and humans and between humans and nature over centuries. If an Asian or African regional language dies, along with it die a number of words which would denote the indigenous culture, environment and time-tested knowhow of the people who spoke that language, too. Global English has never been successful in bringing out the myriad nuances of these languages.