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AUTHOR RATAN KAUL'S INTERVIEW
I’m glad to share the great news of my interview of April 4 on http://teazurs.blogspot.in/2012/04/interview-with-ratan-kaul-author-of.html
An excerpt from the interviewer Angie Azur’s comments:
“This story is one that needed to be told. Not only does it peak my interest, but I will learn about a culture that I know little about. And what an easy and unexpected way to learn about another culture, through a love story.
Thank you Ratan for your dedication, and all of your research that went into this book.”
Excerpts from the interview:
Q. How much research did you do for this book? And what was the most interesting thing you came across?
Ah! It took me over two years of research. It was accomplished in two phases: At the concept stage-in government archives, libraries, historical museums and over the internet.
After I'd worked out the plot, characters and locales, I supplemented the research by visiting the heritage sites of British India and the exact places where the characters were imagined to have lived. That's how I was able to add the flavour of the period into my novel.
During the research I found several interesting things. One related to a news report in the December 16, 1911 edition of The New York Times with the headline--LONDON HEARD THAT GEORGE V. WAS SLAIN. However, it turned out to be a false alarm.
I also came across various technological improvements that took place during the period of novel. You‚ll find the timeline of some such developments viz. Kerosene fed street lamps giving way to electric lamps and horse carriages being replaced by trams in the first decade of twentieth century. In fact the novel is dotted all along with references to such innovations.
Q. Why did this novel have to be written?
I'm glad you asked this question. As you know, most of the novels on British India like A passage to India by E.M. Forster, The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott or The Far Pavilions by M.M.Kaye, were written by western authors. Obviously, they represented a certain point of view.
I was longing to write a novel on British raj with an Indian perspective, adding to it the authentic flavour
of emotions, culture, language and traditions as were prevalent a hundred years ago in British India.
Q. Do you see this novel being a tool used in colleges?
A similar question came up in various forums of social networking websites, and there has been a general consensus that historical novels have immense educational value as they not only encourage critical thinking about events of the past in contrast with a plain reading of history, but also enrich the students‚ mind about other social science subjects like anthropology, archaeology, political science and
I take the liberty of giving an excerpt from a pre-publishing review on authonomy.com that will support this view:
"Wings of Freedom is a compelling historical account. I like your extensive footnotes which help guide the reader and make this work so educational. I didn‚t know much about the history of India prior to reading this book. You succeed in taking the reader back in time and you describe the setting so vividly that it makes it easy to imagine the events which unfold."
At dawn when I open my doors, windows
I am greeted by my regular companions
Flocks of tiny, playful and lively sparrows
with spirited mynas, bulbuls, and pigeons,
Who come gliding from their night shelters
in the Kachnar, Champa, Harsingar, Neem
And Gulmohar trees, shrubs and creepers
adjoining and touching balcony of my room
with friendly tapping on my window sills
For jowar, bajra, corn and other seeds
even rice, wheat puffs, nuts and biscuits
Squirrels watchfully spy the bird rations
and it is a sight to see how they pick the nut
Clasp and gnaw on it with swift actions
hiding in the small openings in the parapet
and no longer dwell in concrete jungles
But I am blessed with the idyllic mornings
with my little friends providing jingles
The sweet sound of sparrows chirping
their calls of mobbing, duets and mating
Make my idyllic and cheerful morning
as my mind is enchanted in their playing
But it is now time to bid adieu to my lovable pals
For getting prepared for my share of earthly tasks
And face the day’s targets, meetings and mobile calls
With the polluted air, din of horns and traffic jams