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‘Ugra’: The Hindi writer whose provocative, satirical works had made him more popular than Premchand

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The fifth in a series on Hindi writers who were famous in their day but have slipped out of public attention now.
'“Having just woken up from a siesta, I was standing in my study, smoking a cigar, and looking at the library filled with many shelves. I was thinking of reading a work by a great writer, but from one corner to another all I could see were the greats. Goethe, Rousseau, Mazzini, Nietzsche, Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Hugo, Maupassant, Dickens, Spencer, Macaulay, Milton, Moliere – uff. Each one greater than the other! I couldn’t decide which great to spend a few minutes with and was distressed from reading the names of so many great people. Meanwhil, a car honked. I leaned out of the window and saw a red Fiat. I thought – good, maybe a friend has come. Saved from the Greats!” It must be examined whether being saved from the greats is a fate worth having, or whether, indeed, there are any greats in literature and in life, or what the elusive notion of greatness constitutes of. These are questions that a Hindi language writer from Mirzapur asked all his life, and was attacked for being crass and pornographic in the process, not to mention being mocked for not being “artistic” or “literary” enough. To these accusations, Ugra responded by saying that “if there.. Read more'