‘Politics without principle’, according to Mahatma Gandhi, is one of the ‘seven deadly sins’.
But it doesn’t seem to be true in present day India, at least not in the case of Siddhartha Tagore, the protagonist in Tabrik C’s debut novel ‘Prisoner, Jailor, Prime Minister’, who according to the author is the product of his genius or of his dangerous mind.
With India heading towards 16th Lok Sabha elections and expecting a new Prime Minister, the setting seems to be perfect for a novel based on politics and has a Prime Minister as the protagonist.
Tabrik C, author of ‘Prisoner, Jailor, Prime Minister’, is a political enthusiast, perfumer and an internet entrepreneur. He has a post-graduate degree in History from St. Stephens College Delhi, where he was the president of the student’s union. His special interest lies in observing, analyzing, predicting and debating the rise and fall of political personalities and their influence on the destiny of nations and individuals.
In a tête-à-tête with Learning and Creativity (L&C) Tabrik talks about his debut novel in context of present political milieu in India.
Excerpts from the interview:
L&C: Tabrik, you are a political enthusiast and have served as the president of the student’s union St. Stephen’s College Delhi. So you are no stranger to political corridors. Is it the reason you chose the political backdrop to debut into the world of storytelling?
Tabrik: Most certainly. Politics, especially charismatic personalities who are able to hypnotize people have interested me for as long, as I can remember. This filtered through on both a conscious and subliminal level as I wrote my book through 2013.
L&C: Is ‘Prisoner, Jailor, Prime Minister’ a complete work of fiction or we can expect a few shadows of real people taking shape out of the narratives in the novel?
Tabrik: It’s a complete work of fiction but something more than shadows of real people emerge from the pages. The character traits of many of the leading players on the Indian Election Stage have mingled into the imaginary characters. This has given a sort of fictional realism to the story. Though I have to say that what’s being played out around us today feels strangely unreal almost thriller-like!
L&C: The political milieu of India is going through turbulence these days. Has your novel got any connection to current political scenario in India?
Tabrik: Oh yes. Coincidentally so, I have to say, since I am no soothsayer and the last act is still to play out. I won’t give out too much but the book in its opening pages hints at a Saffron government in 2014 that falls in 2016 to be followed by a ‘Federal Front’ of state parties supported by the Congress from the outside.
The only question is will this come true in May? Or will the timeline be brought forward and could the ‘Third’ Front supported by the Congress and the communists and the AAP from the outside make it to power as a ‘Rainbow Coalition’- pepping Narendra Modi to the post?
L&C: Does ‘Prisoner, Jailor, Prime Minister’ promise some shocking revelation – unheard or unimaginable before?
Tabrik: Yes. Both politically menacing and sexually revealing! Can’t reveal more!
L&C: The overview of your book reads, “India has a new Prime Minister but is Siddhartha Tagore the product of his genius or of his dangerous mind?” So what is the real face of Siddhartha – a patriot or an opportunist?
Tabrik: He is a conflicted, disturbed individual, both charismatic and controlled by opposite sides of his erotic personality and genius. He is certainly not an opportunist but a man who rides a Tsunami of his own creation. A powerful idealist – a flawed hero!
L&C: You are an active politician. How much of you, as a politician, has Siddhartha imbibed in his personality?
Tabrik: Unfortunately I’m not an active politician. Just sitting on a high chair wondering if I could ever be Siddhartha Tagore! No, Sid Tagore is not me for sure!
L&C: As an aware citizen of India, would you like to see somebody like Siddhartha Tagore on Prime Minister’s chair?
Tabrik: Oh no! He is too volatile and unpredictable a character. A man like him could at a stretch become PM but we would be in for trouble as a nation. Too many ‘ifs’ and question marks about him…
L&C: How difficult was your journey – from manuscript to paperback?
Tabrik: It was not difficult in a creative sort of way but involved a lot of patience. Checking and rechecking of facts to keep the story on track and making sure that the chain of events in a complex rollercoaster held fast.
L&C: What are your future plans? Politics…writing…or…both?
Tabrik: Both for sure, if I’m offered a ticket to ride (chuckles)!
L&C: Some encouraging words to aspiring authors.
Tabrik: Start with a blank sheet of paper a fountain pen with royal blue ink and two empty hours. See if you can put pen to paper and fill that page. If you can then cheers! Go get computer and the words will fill your hard drive. Just write on. Don’t revise. Go forward. Finish it! Gosh you’ve got a book that’s yours!