I sometimes pity readers of English language publications in India. Popular magazines and newspapers carry an overwhelming amount of advertising and commerce driven material. Enough has been said about even editorial space in major newspapers being available at a price. Do we need to daily read news items aggressively pushing for farmyard animal type promiscuity? Must we be fed an overdose of celebrity tripe and trivia with our morning coffee?
We seem to have the women's magazine style of formula fare on the one hand, and 'literary' and sometimes boring and inaccessible 'highbrow' writing on the other. But what about well-written, imaginative and interesting works which a wider range of general readers can understand and enjoy?
There could be several reasons for this. There are many high quality popular magazines in our Indian languages where new writers can test and hone their literary skills. But English, the language that strangely enough connects our mutilingual society, has too much of commerce driven drivel in print.
The book publishing scene is also commercially driven. Big names and celeb authors sell. If one is not already famous, one can't hope to get a book published easily. The few original and interesting new authors in English who do manage to gt published, get little publicity. If people don't know about new books or see them displayed in store shelves, how will they buy and read them?
The attitude of some serious writers is also interesting. A well-known consumer rights activist, classical musician and author of seven books recently told me, "Only one of my books is a collection of short stories. The rest are serious works on biographies, music, etc."
Idiots who indulge in creative writing (usually unpaid because it is non-commercial) get routinely ridiculed even in Indian writers' groups, :-))because their writing doesn't earn big money.