Every German who read the four books about India that Sylvie Bantle wrote told her that thanks to her books, they could get a different perspective about India.
“All of them were fascinated to know more about India. But the hippie culture in the mid- 60's and 70's that spread across the world prompted people to look for ashrams, gurus and starving people in India. But the books that I wrote based on my experiences of meeting people in India helped many Germans to have a new view of India,” says Ms.Bantle sitting near her painter-husband, Alexander Devasia of Punnapra in Alappuzha district at their house in Chettikad near here.
Her first book ‘Das Gluck Der Narren’ (Happiness of Fools) was published in 1997.
Now Ms. Bantle is focusing on her project named ‘Brandloch,’ which is a search for forgotten writers, whose books were once banned during the Nazi regime.
“Since 2007 we have been organising a two-week programme from April 23 (World Book Day) and May 10. It was on May 10, 1933 that Adolf Hitler persuaded nearly 50,000 students to burn thousands of books. Germans are afraid to look back into their past, especially the Nazi times. Hence, this project is a difficult one as we have to be at our creative best to attract people to the festival,” observes Ms.Bantle.
The 20-minute documentary film ‘Mortuary Joseph’ which she directed along with her husband won the bronze medal at the Tokyo Video Festival in 2000. The documentary tells the story of Joseph in Punnapra who cremates or buries neglected bodies.
Ms. Bantle, who was fascinated by India during her childhood days began her first journey to India by land in 1977.
With a couple of other documentaries to her credit, Ms.Bantle also is writing on a epic of sorts titled ‘Menach’ which she hopes to publish soon.