NEW DELHI: With the ongoing protests against 'Padmavati', writer Kiran Nagarkar says he is not sure if he would have dared to pen his 1997 novel 'Cuckold' today.
The book revolves around a fictional character based on Rajput king Thakur Bhojraj.
Speaking at the two-day Times LitFest, the 75-year-old author said that he is afraid of writing anything that might offend "people who do not understand literature or history".
"I don't want to pretend that I am fearless, not even for a minute. No, I am not. I don't want to become a victim of people who can't even understand the value of literature or their past," he said.
The Sahitya Akademi winner also called for respecting all Indian languages, and not just Hindi.
According to him, the whole buzz over the "magnificence" of Hindi is unnecessary, and not knowing the language is not something to be embarrassed about.
"We have 24 languages. How come we don't embarrass them? Why do we tell people in the south (of India) to learn Hindi?" he said.
The writer said it was the way one treats a language that makes it great.
"There is no language which is not magnificent. How you deal with it, what you do with it, and what stories you tell is what will make it great," he said.
Sharing an anecdote from his childhood, he said he had learnt his mother tongue, Marathi, for the first four years in school.
"But, then I was sent to an English medium school and Marathi became a burden for me," he said.
Asserting the importance of learning English, he noted how it was a privilege for an Indian child to learn the language.
"You learn English in India and you know instantly that you are privileged. And, this privilege means you give a damn about the rest of the mankind," he said.
Nagarkar also expressed concerns over climate change, and apologised on behalf of his generation for destroying mother earth.
"I am sorry that we are putting all the burden on you (present generation). My generation has let you down. We were so busy being corrupt and the next generation still hasn't understood that we have only one planet.
"You are our only hope," he said.