This week, I am honored to post a guest blog from Paulami Duttagupta who is an accomplished writer, author and screenplay writer. She recently co-authored in the anthology Mock, Stock & Quarrel. I had been waiting with bated breath for the release of this anthology as my friend Piyusha Vir, the Wandering Soul is also one of the authors of this anthology. So when there was an opportunity to host a guest author from the Mock, Stalk & Quarrel, I grabbed it with both hands!
Read on to find out what Paulami has to say about Satire, Protest, and Literature!
Every day as I go to bed shutting all gadgets, I dream about a new beginning. A day that would begin without the news of a rape or an accident, a terror attack, a death of an army jawan or a botched-up news item. And each day starts with heartbreak. These are bad times for everybody. Whichever part of the world you live in, whichever religion of gender one belongs to, there is no escape from the morose and violent world we live in. Each day is a reminder of Yeats’ words –
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Now more than ever is the time when artists and writers should take up unbiased stands, speak out fearlessly and also accept contradictory views. And what better than falling back on the use of satire?
There is so much happening around that if we are to protest or point out follies with mere reporting, it will just be a drab piece of news that no one might read or think about issues. A satire is pinching, it makes you sit up, it pricks your conscience. What an informative piece fails to do, sarcasm, wit, and satire succeed in doing.
Individuals and their corruption and megalomania, public offices and decisions, follies, etc have become a part of our life. Today, you read a media report in the morning and by evening someone digs up follies in that report. The common man is stuck under rubbles of buildings and flyovers and there is death awaiting them in rail tracks and runways. To shame the follies of the establishment, to shame the follies of the individuals, satire is and will remain a powerful form of art.
When I decided to write my short story for Mock Stock and Quarrel, I had looked at the entire narrative objectively. At most times, satire is about shaming or mocking a social evil or event. Therefore, for a new writer, it is very necessary to be comfortable about the subject one wants to take up. Research always helps.
Also, satire writing is about taking risks. One has to be very open about how the story is going to be received. Brickbats and bequests both might come your way. But if a writer has chosen satire as a form of protest, then there is no reason to shy away from criticism.
There is a satisfaction in being irreverent. To challenge set ideas of morality, intellectualism, to challenge the establishment or also the people that sit on high chairs is something an artist who seeks satire as a form of writing could do. Poignant themes and arguments can be put forward, but there is also the challenge of not making it preachy.
Satire writing is also very different from journalism or reporting and a writer should remember that while talking up. Irony, humor, and wit are a writer’s best friend while writing satire. However, there is the need of differentiating between mocking a situation, and name calling or personal attack. One can be sarcastic and not mean. And while insult comedy, mean jokes have the capacity to go viral since social media culture is at its peak; it is sarcasm that has leaves a lasting impact.
Writing satire is not a ‘roast’ or mere lampooning and earning claps at shows that run to full houses. The use of dry humor with the right dosage of facts does make a good read.
About Mock, Stalk & Quarrel
Mock, Stalk & Quarrel is a collection of satirical tales that emanated from a nationwide contest conducted by Readomania to identify powerful authors that wage an ideological war against issues that matter. The purpose of the book and these stories within is to make you smile, laugh, cry, rage and think. Mock the society and its idiosyncrasies; Stalk the readers and goad them into siding with us; to together, Quarrel with the injustices of Life, Society, Politics, and Religion.
For more about the book and the people behind it, head to the Facebook page of Mock, Stalk & Quarrel.
About Paulami DuttaGupta
Paulami DuttaGupta is an accomplished writer, author, and screenplay writer. Two of her films – Ri Homeland of Uncertainty and Onaatah -of the Earth have won the National Award. Her previous novel – A Thousand Unspoken Words is already winning readers’ hearts. She has also authored many short stories and articles in various magazines and anthologies.