Podcast: Ira Pande on Shivani, Chetan Bhagat and Books in India Part-1

Ira Pande is an author, editor, translator and teacher. She worked in the publishing industry for many years and was the managing editor of Dorling-Kindersley and chief editor of Roli Books India. She also worked as the chief editor at India International Center.

A gifted storyteller with a keen eye for details, Pande has translated the works of Shivani (her mother) and Manohar Shyam Joshi from Hindi into English. Pande translated Shivani’s Diddi and Apradhini and Joshi’s T’Ta Professor  into English.

In Part-1 of our conversation Pande talks about how and why she translated these books into English and the change in Indian publishing landscape and the impact of Chetan Bhagat. A banker-turned-author Bhagat’s books are a big hit with Indian readers.

A highlight of our conversation is Pande’s discussion about her mother’s book Apradhini. This is an unusual collection of stories from 3 different perspective on the same subject – women in prison for committing crimes of passion. Pande shares how her mother got the idea to write about women in prison. Sometime in 1971 Shivani received an invitation from a doctor in a Lucknow prison to come and meet the female inmates and listen to their stories. What started out as a visit turned into a powerful experience for Shivani, and she then became the medium for these women as Pande puts it. Shivani did not write to titillate as Pande put it, and instead wrote about crime without diluting the moral dimensions.

Tune back in Part-2 of our conversation with Ira where she talks about Jaipur Literary Festival and books.

LISTEN to Ira Pande