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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

Is The Liberal Reader Dead?

An avid reader of magazines and a prolific writer for both Indian and international publications, Pankaj Mishra on the ways magazines impacted his life.

Is The Liberal Reader Dead?
AP
Is The Liberal Reader Dead?
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Author, columnist and traveller Pankaj Mishra has been an early essayist for Outlook with a famous takedown of Rushdie. He is an avid reader of magazines and a prolific writer for both Indian and international publications like The New Yorker and Granta. He was perhaps the first author to bring small-town India to a global audience with Butter Chicken in Ludhiana and wrote acclaimed books such as From the Ruins of the Empire, and The Romantics. In an interview with Namrata Joshi, he discusses the ways magazines impacted his life and his worldview. Excerpts:

What does a magazine mean to you, as a reader, as a writer and how have you evolved as a magazine reader?

I grew up as a reader with magazines, in small places where there were more magazines than books available, and I remain addicted to them to this day. I also grew as a writer while writing for magazines—Indian Review of Books, The India Magazine and then the New York Review of Books and the New Statesman. I remember how nearly every day of the month during my childhood was marked by anticipation that such and such magazine would arrive at the railway station near us. There were the Hindi magazines: Dharmayug, Saptahik Hindustan, Kada­mbini, Sarika, Ravivar, Dinman. I was also vulnerable to these Allahabad rags: Maya, Manohar Kahaniyan, Satyakatha. I even read Vama, a women’s magazine, with much pleasure. The magazines in English were undergoing their own renaissance. India Today was in its illustrious infancy. The Illustrated Weekly got livelier under Pritish Nandy and Anil Dharker; Vinod Mehta’s weekly paper The Sunday Observer was an exciting innovation. So was...

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