She said after she completed 25 years as a writer, she thought about what she could do for the country and literature. “I wanted to knit India through literature and wanted to introduce Indians to Indians because we hardly know each other. What do we know of those living in Manipur, like their language or culture, or what do they know of us? It took me 16 years to finish the book, and it was almost like a penance to write it. My dream has become a reality today,” she said.
Unlike today, where one can find information in a jiffy on the internet, Ms. Sivasankari said it was a very challenging process to write the book – from finding authors in 18 languages to meeting them in person and travelling the length and breadth of the country. “I could interact with intellectual giants who have helped to shape the thinking of this country. I brought out the book in English too because I wanted this to go pan India. I wanted it to reach the youth as I wanted them to have the right perception of this country and its history,” she added.
Akila Srinivasan, director, Shriram Life Insurance Company Limited, said Ms. Sivasankari interviewed 102 writers in 18 languages for this book, and it was a huge endeavour for her. “We took up the task of purchasing 400 sets of this book in English and Tamil and distributed them to major universities, standalone libraries and important colleges of the country,” she added.
Tamil Scholar Sudha Seshayyan and Jnanpith Awardee Damodar Mauzo launched the book and spoke. The event was followed by ‘Knit India Through Music’, a concert in different Indian languages by musician Aruna Sairam.