“I personally don’t think that PhD is a post that you take up, it is a passion which you convert into your career. I was never much into studies, instead reading stories, exploring and talking about them interested me more. I was quite sure I wanted literature to be a part of me, and that’s how I navigated my academic journey.
After schooling, I wanted to move out of my city because I, like many other people, had heard that the education system in the southern part of India still focused more on actual educational practices. It actually turned out to be true when I went to Tamilnadu for my Bachelor’s. I was a University Gold medalist there, something I had never achieved before, and it made me believe that I was capable of achieving more. I eventually returned to Kolkata for my Master’s and PhD because I couldn’t adjust with the food and the weather of the South. I initially got through two institutes- Presidency and Adamas, and I decided to go with the latter, because it was closer to my home. Somewhere I felt I could achieve more by staying in my comfort zone too after I topped in my Master’s as well. And I realized, my comfort zone was probably Science Fiction.
I had grown up with comics and was quite inclined towards them. I used to carry a comic book to my college everyday.
My PhD topic can be called slightly controversial because it aims to deconstruct Science Fictions on political grounds with a focus on Satyajit Ray’s ‘Professor Shonku’. In a post-modern period, how science fiction is turning into a ground for political commentaries, is something I am trying to understand. I believe we can understand the socio-political background in a much better way by reading Science Fictions rather than ‘Satires’. The Marvel comics weren’t simply about saving America, it was also about colonialism or finding cultural identity. Furthermore, I don’t think there are enough sci-fi scholars at present. Science Fiction is merely seen as a trivia and Bengali Science Fiction barely has an international exposure.
I don’t think we actually need to change our whole ideas and try to create new literature, it is only about changing certain perspectives towards literature that already exists and not limiting the field to some conventional norms. If literature is limited, it is dead! In that context, I tried giving World Literature a…