Is it called pulp fiction only because it is written on rough paper? : Ved Prakash Sharma, Hindi fiction writer on mixing genres
Updated on: 29 Nov 2015
Ved Prakash Sharma has been writing Hindi fiction since 1971, and is counted among the highest selling writers in the country, by some accounts even leading the pack. He spoke about his fiction and readership toThe Hinduat his office in Meerut. Translated excerpts from the interview:
You have been one of the bestselling writers of Hindi novels and have millions of readers. But the literary fraternity has largely slotted you as a "pulp" writer.
See, I have written over 175 Hindi novels which have been read by several millions. Some of my books like Wardiwala Gunda (Goon in Uniform, 1992) broke all records and sold 15 lakh copies the very first day. Quite frankly, now I don't have records of my readership, but unfortunately, whatever I write has been called by the high-brow literary bodies "pulp" fiction in English or "lugdhi sahitya" (lugdhi being Hindi for rough, referring to the paper it gets printed on), but that doesn't affect me. I have the satisfaction that millions of people read me and what I write entertains the masses. The writing the Hindi literary world considers literature has no reader. Just over a thousand copies are printed, and the books exist only in a library. I think there is no point in writing a book which gets the "status" of being literature but doesn't get read.
What I fail to understand is why writing is categorised as "pulp" fiction only because it is written on rough paper. So, a certain of kind of literature which is read not just by thousands but several millions will remain on the margins of the power hierarchy in the world of literature because the categorisation of literature is not on the basis of the purpose it serves in society, or its message, but just the quality of the paper it gets printed on.