I write because I can’t kill: Manoranjan Byapari
Thiruvananthapuram: The system and law in India favours the rich and not the poor, said noted Dalit writer and socio-political activist Manoranjan Byapari.
The Bengali writer was speaking at a discussion on the topic ‘Writing instead of Killing’ at the Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters 2020 (MBIFL20). Publisher Trisha Niyogi acted as the translator as Byapari spoke only Bengali and Hindi.
“If one man is preventing one thousand or one lakh people from living their lives. I cannot tolerate it. When women and children are raped in the street, I don’t want to wait for the law to take its course. I would rather kill such people. Since I cannot do that in real life, I create similar characters in my books and kill them in my writing,” explained Byapari. That’s how I satisfy my urge to kill, he added.
Byapari explained that its the anger against such wrongdoings and the corrupt system which helps the rich get away but punishes the poor that made him take to writing.
Byapari elaborated on how he started writing. Though Byapari did not have any formal schooling, the prison taught him the best lessons and brought him to the world of letters. After getting out of prison, he worked as a rickshaw puller to make ends meet and there he started reading anything and everything he could find or get his hands on.
Once a well known female writer got into his rickshaw and that became a turning point in his life. Realising his knowledge about books, she asked Byapari to write in her paper. From there he never looked back.
Byapari still fights against the system and wonders why the government let people starve to death on the street while prisoners are well fed and looked after. He does not believe in destiny or luck.
According to Byapari, there are three kinds of people in this country; The first are the ones who wear ties and call the country - India. The second are those who wear religious marks on their forehead and body and call the country - Hindusthan. The third are the working class who address the country as - Bharat.
He explained that his book ‘There is gunpowder in the air’ looking at the world through the eyes of a prisoner.