An author, a public speaker, a musician, an industrialist, charming and dashing Sumit Agarwal is an altruist by nature.
His debut novel ‘The four Patriots’ is becoming a hit in markets with an average 4.7/5 star ratings on Amazon. Here, we are going to witness his deep and yet witty answers to my questions.
Interview (Sumit Agarwal)
Q. If a stranger passes by you and asks, “Who is Sumit Agarwal?” What will you reply in one sentence?
I am a soul on its journey to make every moment meaningful for self and useful for others.
Q. Tell us about your profession.
Well, after completing my M.Sc. (Chemistry) from IIT-K, I am running a chemicals manufacturing business in my hometown Kanpur.
Q. How was the journey of “The Four Patriots”: from the idea in mind to the execution on paper? How much time did you invest in writing it?
It wasn’t really an ‘Idea’ to write on patriotism, this passion ran in my veins from the beginning. It pained me to see how much our country, my country, has been left behind, even though we have so much. So I decided to put down all my thoughts on paper and weave them into a thrilling story.
It was like a delivery. No, not a pizza delivery… a child delivery. The process was as joyful, emotional, exciting and painful as giving birth to a child is. That’s how I think it is best described. The time I took though was three times.
Q. As the book blurb reads, the story has 4 major characters. Is Sumit Agarwal one of them or have you poured your character in all 4 of them?
Hahaha… how did you catch me on that? I had almost done this unconsciously. So, one of the characters!
Q. What should a reader expect from your book, before picking it up?
You should be ready for a roller coaster ride that will shake you up to the bones. It will make you laugh, cry, think, dream and introspect. The storyline may leave you inspired to take some drastic step to make things better around you. It will definitely make you a better and more informed Indian.
Q. Tell us about your journey from being a Chemistry graduate to becoming a published author.
I had been a full timer businessman since qualifying from IIT-K in 1998 and then came the NGO in 2007. Five years into running the NGO, I started feeling this was just a drop in the ocean and something more needed to be done. I noticed the growing trend of virtual patriotism and the need to translate it to action. I felt we have huge potential but somehow we do not work that hard as we should. We want to win back our lost pride but don’t want to take pains. So I painted this picture which shows that all of our dreams about the country can become a reality if the youth works towards it.
Q. What was your source of inspiration for Prerna, your NGO?
As I said earlier, I was pained at the state of our country and wanted it to march ahead. And I wanted to contribute to it, majorly. So much so, that I planned to amass a lot of wealth to back my efforts like cleaning the city with a fleet of self-owned JCBs and trucks, establishing beggar rehabilitation homes etc. I felt responsible in some when I would see a hapless beggar on the roadside. But that time of owning a self-replenishing well of money did not come even after 10 years of being in business. So I started my NGO in a small way, which over a few years became an organized effort backed by some really good people. It works on adopting government schools and improving the infrastructure, quality of education and all round development of these children.
Q. Apart from writing, what’s your favourite pastime? Who’s your favourite writer and favourite book?
Music has always been very close to my heart. I have made many soulful songs, which you can find on my YouTube channel Sumit Agarwal or you can log on to sumitagarwal.net. My songs LEHZA and O-MAULA have been aired on MTV Indies.
My favourite writer is Dan Brown and favourite book is Angels and Demons.
Q. Do you see any difference in patriotism and nationalism?
Textbook definition wise they may be different but basically both would boil down to love for the country. If patriotism is Sunny Deol’s love, nationalism is Shakrukh Khan’s love for Juhi Chawla in the blockbuster movie, Darr.
Q. Observing through your specs how has India and its citizen’s viewpoint changed in the past decade?
We are the youngest population on the face of the planet, the 2nd largest digitally connected one. The new generation is more sensitive to development and wants to see their country prosper.
Q. Which anti-nationalist incident do you despise of the most and why?
The debates on intolerance in which people like Kanhaiya, Shobha Dey etc tried to use it to their advantage to gain publicity. There couldn’t be a more tolerant nation than India.
Q. If you are provided with the power to change one thing in India, to make the country better, what’d you choose and why?
The implementation of law. Lose implementation of law is the single most important cause for most of our problems. We have got used to the fact that anyone can get away with anything in this country. Even the reservation system, which is gnawing into our society’s fabric is a by product of this basic flaw. If the SCs are vulnerable to mistreatment or exploitation we need to have strict law for sending the perpetrators to jail rather than pampering the vulnerable and empowering them artificially and fostering perpetual animosity between the two.
Q. Any message to your readers?
Read not just to entertain yourself, but for a higher purpose.
Q. Any message to the youth of India?
With great power comes great responsibility. The age of digitalization has opened up vast opportunities and given us all tremendous exposure and reach. But along with it come unforeseen perils. So, don’t get addicted to the virtual world, we need patriots in action.
Q. How was your experience with Dipanshu Rawal: The Interviewer?
The questions were framed nicely and the approach was mature and professional. I’d recommend my fellow authors to contact Dipanshu and take up his services for book reviews and interviews… I wish Dipanshu all the best in all his future endeavors…
P.S. I am currently reading Sumit Agarwal’s novel ‘The Four Patriots’, and the review of the book will be up in next few days. Stay tuned.
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Till next post, happy reading!