For Sanjay Bahadur, author of an unpublished fiction — The sound of water — it came as a surprise when he was intimated that he was one of the short-listed authors for The Man Asian Literary Prize 2007 for unpublished works in Asia.
The 40-year-old additional commissioner of Income Tax has an unusual hobby since school days; Bahadur has penned numerous short stories that have won him awards.
“I completed the novel in 2004, but haven’t been successful in getting a literary agent.
For India’s immense talent, there are surprisingly very few literary agents. There is also an absence of a formal procedure to send manuscripts to publishers. Many young talents are wasted this way. It is hard for a first-time author to get good breaks in India,” said Bahadur, who is hoping to get a publisher now.
Bahadur confesses that it is unusual for a public servant to have such a creative hobby, but defends his profession saying that it provides a different vent to his creative leanings. “People assume that bureaucrats do not have any creative outlet, which is untrue. We execute several projects that need creativity,” he added.
His fiction is inspired by the accounts of an aged miner who was trapped underground and talks about the psychological and spiritual reactions of persons involved in the accident. However, he denies it being a disaster novel and presents it as fiction.
Bahadur is also working on a historical fiction based on 1857 revolt, “Historical fiction is not very popular in India. I feel if it is well-written, it will turn out interesting. I plan to explore all genres and will not restrict myself.”