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Landscapes of Writing

Collected Essays of Bapsi Sidhwa


Bapsi Sidhwa

Edited By Teresa Russo

This book is a collection of essays by international writer Bapsi Sidhwa gathered for the first time in one edition by Teresa Russo, with a foreword written by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Deepa Mehta. Landscapes of Writing: Collected Essays of Bapsi Sidhwa provides a writer’s perspective on issues of South Asian literature, linguistics, poetry, and views of political events and globalization. In the first part of the book, Bapsi Sidhwa discusses her childhood, family life, and how she became a writer. There is also a revised essay detailing how her book Cracking India became a film by Deepa Mehta. The second part of the book focuses on her thoughts concerning war, terrorism, and how to achieve peace. This collection includes two letters, demonstrating her local and nationalistic perspectives to a larger view of an interconnected world.

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Appendix A


“Faceless Characters” is the original piece published in The Houston Chronicle which Bapsi Sidhwa incorporates in “A Letter to My Grandson.” She taught the “faceless character” lesson in her creative writing classes and has used it in her speeches (as she indicates in her letter to her grandson).

Faceless Characters

September 8, 2002

The Twin Towers stood tall as modern marvels in New York—beacons of our hope for the future, of our faith in a New World in which races and religions are defined by tolerance. In attacking them on September 11, 2001, the terrorists destroyed more than just a miracle wrought of glass and steel; they undermined our trust in American ideals and alarmed us with the realization of how fragile our freedoms are.

The measures Homeland Security has adopted, and is contemplating, such as Operation Tips with its 10 million spies, will turn us into a police state. Anyone who does not think exactly as the captains of the universe do is “evil” by the standards of the comic-strip language used by our leaders. ← 141 | 142 →

Except for a brief visit to Soviet Russia, I have never felt the need to glance over my shoulder or mind what I say. Now I do. Last week an Indian friend, a delegate to the Human Rights Commission in Geneva, called to say hello. The talk turned to politics and suddenly he cautioned me to speak in Gujarati;...

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