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When Salman Rushdie came calling...

Judging nominees for an Indian Language Fiction Translation award can't be easy. Professor Sukanta Chaudhuri, along with writers Dilip Chitre and Paul Zacharia, agreed it wasn't.

"Judging a literary award is paradoxical, in a sense," said Chaudhuri, "because the people judging aren't necessarily better than the writers being judged. Considering the fact that some of these works are literary masterpieces written by living legends, this can be a humbling experience."

The winner was 81-year old Krishna Sobti for her Hindi novel The Heart has its Reasons, translated by Reema Anand and Meenakshi Swami. "We regional writers in India sometimes feel as if we have been put aside," she told the audience. "But regional literature is rich. It has been documenting the nation. If, at some point, we are placed on par with writers in English, it will be a wonderful feeling."

Winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award, the first Katha Chudamani Award and many more such honours, Sobti really can be cited as an example of a living legend. She went on to comment about the art of writing, reminding younger writers -- "You are not the master; the text is. It exerts its right."

Image: Krishna Sobti (left) still has a lot to say...

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