Dr. KESHAB MANDAL
- GUEST AUTHOR
& ACADEMIC -
Today, I interview an academic and author from India.
Welcome, Dr. Mandal ...
1. TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
At present (from 2015- till date) I am the Head Master of a Government sponsored High School in Kolkata, India. Also I taught Political Science at a Government College in Kolkata as a guest lecturer. Since 2001 I have taught Political Science at a Government Higher Secondary school in the district of Paschim Medinipur, India. Along with teaching profession, I continued research since the beginning of the new Millennium. I completed my Ph. D. In the year 2009 from Vidyasagar University, West Bengal, India on “Empowerment of Women and Panchayati Raj : Perception and Reality – A Case Study of Rural Midnapore”. Since 2006 I started publishing books and articles. At present I am the author of 10 books, three monographs and more than four dozens of articles. Some of my articles have been published in national and international academic and peer reviewed journals, magazines and newspapers. I was also the editor-in-chief of an e-magazine and a Bengali newspaper. Presently I am on the editorial board of The World United, a monthly e-magazine. I have presented papers and delivered lectures in more than a dozen national seminars, conferences and symposiums and was invited to attend conferences in various universities from Europe such as V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, University of Leeds etc. I am a life member of West Bengal Political Science Association and former member of Jadavpur Association of International Relations. My fields of interest are gender empowerment, local governments and development studies. I obtained my first M.A. degree in Political Science from Kalyani University (1991), two more M.A. degrees from Madurai Kamraj University (2006 & 2008) and Ph. D. degree from Vidyasagar University (2009), and successfully completed an ICSSR-sponsored research project as its Project Director (2015-2017). Out of my total ten publications, four works in six publications in English language has 45 world library holdings.
2. WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
Ans. When I was studying Bachelor of Education (B. Ed.) from Panskura College, Paschim Medinipur, I conducted a local area survey. I was at that time in the verge of the completion of Ph. D. Work. During my research I studied a lot. My study of existing literature and the knowledge I gathered during research study, I felt an urge and interest to express my ideas and views through books and articles. I was acquainted with a lot of scholars, teachers, librarians, reporters, editors of newspapers, politicians, bureaucrats and many others during my research study. I felt an urge and calling from within to contribute for the development of the society. Thus, I started writing. I first published a book in 2006 – A Panorama of Ghatal, which was sponsored by Ghatal Municipality, where I was living then. It was a part of my research on the local area survey in the subdivision town of Ghatal, in the district of Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
Ans. Without planning, I cannot do anything. I had a plan to write at first for the locality, where I am living. Secondly, I had planned for the development of my district; then for the state, and finally for my country, India. After writing for the development of these areas, I made a comparative study on the gender empowerment issues of the USA and India. Now this book – Debates of Development in India in Comparison with the G-20 – is the outcome of my concern for global development.
4. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Ans. When people show immense respect, greet and welcome in various occasions and ceremonies, I enjoy the most. It seems to me that, only as a teacher or a head master I would not have enjoyed this kind of dignity and respect from all quarters of society.
5. WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
Ans. I do not think there is any hardship in being an author. It gives me immense pleasure and joy. But only one thing I must confess that I get hurt when I am misunderstood by my close relatives. Because I cannot provide time to my near and dear ones in the family including my children, wife and even my mother except telephone calls and rare personal visits. My wife often complains that I do not help her in domestic chores. My sisters are angry with me, so is my nephews and nieces. My son, who is still a school-going boy, though does not complaint but feels it would have been better if I could give more time to him as I had given to his elder sister, who passed M.Sc. in Physics and preparing for Indian Administrative Service through Union Public Service Commission.
6. WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
Ans. I was working in a private company in a middle management level. I was working in Delhi, the capital of India from 1992 to 2000.
7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
Ans. When I see that my books are available in the American Congress, World Universities and Indian Parliament and in the National Library I feel great joy. When people invite me in various functions and shows respect, I am enthralled. Receiving royalty from my book selling gives my family joy. Finally, when I see my policies are being implemented by the local administration and state government, it gives me the highest pleasure. And I think that is the highest achievement for me.
8. WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Ans. I am writing a book titled – “Debates of Sustainable Development in Comparison with the G – 20”. The book is almost completed.
9. WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Ans. I am greatly inspired by the life and hard works of Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Barack Obama, Amartya Sen and APJ Abdul Kalam.
10. WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
Ans. I write mainly for the young students, academicians, policy makers and general readers.
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Ans. I can only say that there should be a vision for every author as I have a vision for the development of the world in general and particularly for the women and girls.
12. DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
Ans. Normally I do not suffer from writer’s block.
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
Ans. No, I am something different. Except my school hours from 10.00 A.M. to 6.00 P.M. on working days, always I am engaged in reading and writing. I have very few friends. But I keep contact with my university teachers who are active in writing and those who love me and guide me with good suggestions. As my mother is old and alone, I need to talk with her and sometimes visit her at native town about 100 km away from my present residence. I also need to talk with some teachers, guardians and other members of society in regard to academic and school related issues. Occasional visits and talks with other authors, columnists and publishers are also my part of routine. My son being young, I have to give some time to him. Now-a-days, this is also being difficult for me to give him time. This is my schedule and world.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Ans. I write in my laptop in the study room, where I spend most of my time when I am at home.
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Ans. Now writing has become my greatest hobby. I cannot live without writing. In a word, I feel HEAVENLY JOY AND PLEASURE in writing for the welfare of the people. I have the greatest joy and most interest only in writing for the betterment of the society and people of the world.
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
Ans. Prof. Amartya Sen is my most favourite author because at this age he is actively engaged in writing for the welfare of the society. But sometimes, I feel that he is a little parochial in mind and not so impartial. I am, on the contrary, liberal and always call spade a spade.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
Ans. One of the readers once came to my home with a garland and a packet of sweet, while I was in my home in casual dress. He, older than me, touched my feed and I embraced him. He told that, “We did not know about you. We considered as a very haughty, and unsocial person. But today our misconception was disappeared.” This was the expression after the publication of my book – The Thoughts of an Unknown India - which was published from Germany. My teachers especially Prof. Dipankar Sinha often says that, “Not a single college teacher is equivalent to you in West Bengal, and there only a few university teacher who can be compared with you in the state.” And Prof. Amartya Mukhupadhyaya says publicly that, “I am envious of Keshab. He works harder than a buffalo.”
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
Ans. Nothing such received so far. But one of the teachers of Vishwa Bharati University told that the methodology part was not good, you should improve it.
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Ans. I am an unbiased author. I write the things that I read and what comes from my acquired knowledge.
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Ans. I like sharing my views and thoughts to my followers and particularly to my students through Facebook and other social media.
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
Ans. No. I do edit by myself.
22. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Ans. All days are perfect. But we need to face any challenges that come in our day to day profession life.
23. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
Ans. It should be daughter. She could help me in all ways to get rid of the awkward situation.
24. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Ans. I would say only – Please think good, be good and do good to the people. We all are the children of God Almighty. So, please serve God through men.
25. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
Ans. After retirement after more 7 years (at the age of 60), I will concentrate on writing totally.
26. WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON BOOK TRAILERS? DO THEY SELL BOOKS?
Ans. I cannot sell books. It is done by my publishers. I just promote my books through various platforms.
27. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
Ans. I do not write plays or dramas. Hence, there is no character in my books. But I see myself in the position of top decision maker.
28. DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Ans. Yes, they never give the exact account of book selling and naturally steal my royalty amount. Very recently my publisher has kept me in waiting for one year in publishing a book titled “Gender Empowerment in Local Governments: Prospects and Debates of Sustainable Development in India.”
29. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
Ans. No. Never. Life is full of challenges. I must face the challenges. It will pave the way of future journey in tougher world.
30. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
Ans. The current manuscript is the most favourite one. Because, in this volume I would be able to highlight the existing socio-economic scenario of the world, and the position of India in relating to the G-20 countries. Also, I would be able to extend some concrete suggestions for the sustainable development of the world with an emphasis on India.
31. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER?
Ans. As an author, I do not measure success or failure. But definitely, reaching people of the world through my writing is a great success in my life. What I have given, already I have received more.
32. WHAT SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
Ans. In almost all my books what I do is to make an analysis of the existing socio-economic condition, and prescribe some policies for the betterment and development of the state. Also I try to trace out the loopholes of the government and its policies with a view to make them aware or remind about their works and performances they are doing or have already done. They also learn lessons from their deeds. When they do engaged in governance, in most of the times they do not understand what they are doing. My job is to work as a whistle blower or a conductor of a bus who shouts and warns the driver (here the government) about the probable dangers and the movement of other vehicles on the road.
33. WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE YOUR BOOKS MADE INTO MOVIES? EVER WRITTEN A SCREENPLAY?
Ans. Yes, but till date I have not written a screenplay.
34. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
Ans. It is designed mostly by my publishers. I get rare opportunity to design the cover of my books.
35. WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
Ans. My ultimate dream is to serve people and especially the women and girls of the world from the highest platform.
36. WRITING IS ONE THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
Ans. So far I have not concentrated on marketing. But now the time has come to market my work to the global readers. I am writing this as a part of the initiative.
37. ARE YOUR BOOKS SELF-PUBLISHED?
Ans. No, most of my books are published by publishers with hard copies available in the market. My two books – (a) Barack Obama: The Harbinger of Peace and Prosperity and (b) The Thoughts of an Unknown Indian are only published from Germany and published only print on demand mode.
38. DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN FIVE WORDS.
Ans. Honest, Sincere, Dedicated, Diligent and Truthful.
39. WHAT PISSES YOU OFF MOST?
Ans. Most of the people are not hard working, sincere and dedicated to their work. Talking over phone while on duty, or working with absent mindedness piss me most.
40. WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE LAST BOOK YOU READ? GOOD ONE?
Ans. Governance Institutions and Economic Development : Emerging China, India, East Asia and Brazil by Prof. Kartik Roy, published from World Scientific is the latest book I am reading. Yes, it is a very interesting book. I was present in the book releasing ceremony held in Kolkata last year.
41. WHAT WOULD BE THE VERY LAST SENTENCE YOU’D WRITE?
Ans. The middle and low income countries should spend at least 6-7 per cent of their GDP on education and health to end illiteracy and ill-health with skill development efforts for making people ready to take up jobs as per their choice for ending their level of poverty and hunger.
42. WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPIER THAN YOU ARE NOW? CARE TO SHARE?
Ans. If I can publish the present book from a reputed publishing house who have wide network globally, I shall be more happy now. I wish to scatter my thoughts and views on world’s development to the concerned readers of the world.
43. ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
Ans. I shall be grateful to you, if you kindly help me in publishing and popularizing the present book – Debates of Sustainable Development in India in Comparison with the G – 20 - to the global readers. Thank you.
Clancy's comment: Thank you, Dr. Mandal. Well done. I hope you achieve your objectives.