Flynas airlines
Wednesday 23 April 2014
Free Newspaper Asian News
The Asian Today Newspaper - Issue 185 Out Now View Issue 185 Online Now!
Register today for all the latest news from The Asian Today.
Where did you hear about us?
Get Your Free Copy of The Asian Today
YOUR FREE ASIAN COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER!
Use our store finder to find out where you can pick up your local copy of The Asian Today!
WANT TO ADVERTISE? 
Advertising in The Asian Today  is a great way to promote your business. Contact our advertising team:    
sales@theasiantoday.com
Call:  0121 314 2892


Features - The Asian Today

Updated: 12:53, Monday February 7, 2011
        Features Feed
Novelist Today with Kishwar Desai
Author speaks to Zeenat Moosa about her debut novel 'Witness The Night'
 
JOURNALIST and TV producer Kishwar Desai can now lay claim to being an award-winning novelist after scooping a top literary prize with her debut novel 'Witness The Night' last month. Her book, which exposes female infanticide in India, landed the prestigious Costa First Novel award. Here she speaks to Zeenat Moosa about 'Witness The Night'
 
Congratulations on winning the Costa First Novel Prize. How does it feel?
It feels wonderful. I never imagined this would happen to me with my first book. I am really grateful to the judges for finding my book worthy enough of such a prestigious prize!
 
You have a wealth of experience in media, as a journalist, TV producer and TV presenter. What made you start writing?
I had worked in TV for over 20 years and in the last few years I found that I was disappointed at how celebrity-oriented the shows had become. I was also concerned that everything seemed to be becoming a little superficial at that time. So I thought it was time to get back to writing - I used to write a lot, as a schoolgirl-and fulfil a childhood dream of becoming an ‘author’. 
 
We probably know you best as the wife of Lord Desai. Tell us briefly more about the real Kishwar Desai - your background, your life.
I was born in Ambala (now in Haryana) and grew up in different towns scattered all over North India: in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi --and even Kashmir as my father was in the police and posted in all these places.  I changed more than ten schools - but it was fun because I would make a lot of new friends, every year. After school I joined college in Delhi, to study Economics Honours in Lady Shri Ram College. But I was interested in media --and so after college I became a journalist in Chandigarh with the Indian Express - and then I got married to my former husband --and again began a life of once again being posted in different cities. However, I carried on working - in Mumbai and in Kolkatta - and by the time I began living in Delhi I had shifted to TV and joined NDTV as a production controller and later a TV journalist. I loved my TV career and carried on working whilst my children grew up. I have two kids, Gaurav and Mallika, who are both coincidentally at Harvard Business School right now.
I met Meghnad Desai in India in 2004 --and we got divorced from our previous partners and married each other. The romance made front page news in India as everyone was totally surprised! Now I live in the UK and have a great life writing and visiting India and the US to meet friends and family.
 
Without revealing too much what is Witness the Night about?
Witness the Night has been described as a thriller and a work of crime fiction.  It is about a young girl who is accused of a horrific crime, and about an unconventional social worker Simran Singh, who, convinced of her innocence, decides to help her. The book also deals with gender and with other issues which confront a modern India. But, overall, I hope it’s a book that people will want to read.
 
It’s an intriguing title – how did that come about?
The book was originally called ‘The Tyranny of Dreams’. It had been long listed for the Man Asian Literary prize, 2009 but then we all felt the title was sounding a little too ‘heavy’. But I still wanted a name which represented some of the events and characters in the book.  So during one brainstorming session with my editor in which many names were suggested, I came up with ‘Witness the Night’ and everyone liked it so we went with it.  
 
What has the reaction been to the book so far?
Very good and I am really pleasantly surprised by that.  The reviews both in the UK and in India have been very appreciative and even readers have been getting back to me with extremely positive feedback. They have been particularly affected by the issue of gendercide and have liked the character of Simran Singh a lot. So much, in fact, that she is now returning as the central protagonist in a book series. I am now writing the next one.
 
Sex selection is still prevalent today, within many British Asian communities. Why do you think this backward ideology is still so apparent?
When people migrate overseas, they usually carry their traditions and prejudices with them. So it is not astonishing at all if some British Asians still show a marked son preference over their daughters. This regressive attitude is self-reinforcing, and can be justified in a million ways: it is because of the dowry system which still exists. It could be due to the fact that girls get married and ‘go away ‘, thereby turning out to be wasted investments. Or it could be due to the fact that they do not bear the family name, after they are married. Or due to the fact that in a western world, it is also much more difficult to protect the ‘virginity ‘ of girls, thus leading to notions of family shame associated with girls who have found their own partners. There could be many reasons, and most of them are economic, but most of them are completely irrational in this present world of gender equality.
 
You spend your time living in Britain and India – what, in your opinion, needs to be done to combat this problem?
The problem can only be solved through a change in the mind-set and a clear recognition that women are equal to men in every way. In the UK especially, this can be done quite easily through a targeted approach, using the media to spread the message. It is also important to ensure that girls are educated properly, and given an opportunity to work in the area of their interests.
 
Finally Kishwar what are you working on next?
I am working on the next book in the series in which Witness the Night was the first book.  And I am also completing the biography of some early pioneers of Indian cinema, Devika Rani and Himansu Rai.
 
Kishwar Desai: Witness The Night, published by Beautiful Books, is available to buy from all leading bookshops

Comments

Latest Stories

Autism in the Asian Community
Things Need to Change
Bangladesh: A Story of Independence
In its 43 Year History Bangladesh Has Garnered Many Achievements
The Changing Terrain of Marriage
The idea of having an arranged marriage is a very familiar to Asians
Distance is not for the Fearful
Keeping your long distance relationship alive this Valentine’s Day
Benefits Street
“Proud to call it Home”
The Question of Escape
The Immigration Dilemma
Nabila Sharma: Brutal
Nabila Sharma Breaks 28 Year Silence of her Imam Abusing Her
'Shame raises stigma against people with a mental illness'
Nisha Chhabra gives a personal account of her fathers battle with Bipolar
Girl Rising: Pakistan’s Push for Girls’ Education
The Asian Today spoke to writer and activist Bina Shah
Many Asians sitting on a ‘Fertility Time-Bomb’ warns Expert
Dr Venkat: Asian couples are largely ignorant of their fertility 'time-bomb’

More Features From The Asian Today


Entertainment

Asian Entertainment - Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor Talk to The Asian Today's Sunny Malik
22/04/2014
2 States Stars in London
Bollywood actors Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor were in London recently to promote 2 S...
Asian Entertainment - Arjun and Alison Releasing in cinemas on Friday 25th April 2014
15/04/2014
Racially Motivated Revenge Thriller Set to Release this Month
When their best friend is the victim of a racist murder on a Birmingham university campu...
Asian Entertainment - By: Kamal Chopra
08/04/2014
Bhangra Top 10
Chart Bhangra     Jags Klimax and Shin DCS - Hanji ...
Asian Entertainment - By: Kamal Chopra
08/04/2014
Bollywood Top 10
Bollywood Chart Ragini MMS - Baby Doll Gunday - Tune Maari Entriyaan ...

Interviews

Asian Interviews - Aatif Nawaz
07/04/2014
A Day in the Life of...
Every month we will be bringing you an exclusive insight of a day in the life of an infl...
Asian Interviews - Creating Futureproof Music
07/04/2014
The PropheC
Since debuting his album in September 2011 The PropheC, aka Neal Chatha, has gone on to ...
Asian Interviews - Sunny Malik Talks to the Main Tera Hero Ho Actor
07/04/2014
Varun Dhawan
Bollywood’s young heartthrob Varun Dhawan speaks to Sunny Malik about his second f...
Asian Interviews - In Regards to His New Film Release - Total Siyapaa
10/03/2014
Ali Zafar speaks to Asian Today's Sunny Malik
Total Siyapaa was due to release in January 2014. Why was it postponed? We deci...

News

Asian News - Captain Dhoni Blasts 32 off 15 Balls
22/04/2014
Clinical Super Kings Make Easy Work of Daredevils
The Chennai Super Kings are back, and how! After facing defeat in their season opener, t...
Asian News - MCB Urges an 'End to Allegations'
22/04/2014
Trojan Horse: 'End This Witch Hunt'
The Muslim Council of Britain called for an end to weeks of speculation that smears Brit...
Asian News - Omar Narayan Sacked Following Hearing
22/04/2014
Birmingham Dentist Struck Off for Misconduct
A dentist has been struck off by the General Dental Council (GDC) following a publi...
Asian News - Hussein Hussein Murdered Antoin Akpom
17/04/2014
Leicester Man Sentenced to Life in Prison
A 19-year-old man has been convicted of the murder of a young man in Leicester.   ...

Sport

Asian Sport - Chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque Has Passed Away
22/04/2014
BREAKING NEWS: Dr Mohammed Naseem Passes Away Aged 90
BREAKING NEWS: Dr Mohammed Naseem, the founder and chairman of Birmingham Central Mo...
Asian Sport - First Match of the 2014 IPL Season
17/04/2014
Kallis Helps Knight Riders to Big Win over Defending Champions
Thanks to Jacques Kallis’ 72 and Sunil Narine’s 4-0-20-4, the Kolkata Knight...
Asian Sport - Camps are Being Launched From May
10/04/2014
Students to Get Sports Scholarships
Sport Esprit Academy from the UK will be launching their third year of football camps ...
Asian Sport - Unleashing Unearthed Talent
09/04/2014
The Talk Home Mobile Asian Cricket Awards 2014
On Marc h 28th 2014, Lord’s Cricket Ground hosted the launch of the inaugural &l...