We are very fortunate to have Anupam Srivastava the author of THE BROWN SAHEBS as guest on our blog today. Anupam Srivastava is a journalist by profession and worked with Times of India, Oxfam India Society, Unicef and other development agencies. THE BROWN SAHEBS is his first novel and tells the story of India not taking off its colonial clothing even as it became a democracy.
Here is what he has to say about the characters of his book.
How do you create the characters for your book? Are they imaginary or inspired by someone you know?
This is something that happens by itself – as the story begins the characters appear. When the plot progresses, characters come and go. They have been drawn from life, from books, from situations real and imaginary. We all know good and bad, the contradictions that exist in ourselves, the constant see-saw game that is on between opposite values in ourselves. One character in the novel is Gandhi who conceptualized not only the freedom movement and the involvement of ‘masses’ as it is said, but also dreamt of an India that would be created after Independence. An assessment of India to understand if it achieved the ideal that its leaders had set for the country after the ouster of the British cannot be done without taking into account the vision of Gandhi. It was Gandhi and his vision that drew the common Indians into what was, until then, no more than a political movement.
The other characters in the novel are based on public figures, and one may catch a glimpse of Nehru, even Narendra Modi, or Indira Gandhi. However, I have taken the liberty of mixing traits of different people in one person. So, while the novel follows a historical path and does not interfere with the key facts of India’s past, the fictional story has a life of its own.
While writing the story I was sometimes no more than an observer and witness and was was merely recording what was being played out. At other times, I waited patiently for the story to progress but by now the characters had a life of their own and would not obey an author. At the end, I was susprised by what I had written, and quite pleased as well.
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