Casteist. Communalist. Racist. And Now, A Nobel Laureate

Meena Kandasamy, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, India

You spit on your people,
Your people applaud,
Your former oppressors laurel you.
The thorns biting your forehead
Are contempt
Disguised as concern.

'At Last', Sea Grapes, 1976. From a poem on Naipaul by Nobel laureate Derek Walcott

Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (b. 1932) has spat on us. Spat too much on India that we are actually stinking from his spitting expeditions. Only last month the Indian Council for Cultural Relations invited him to a writers conference in Neemrana to spit more at us. And he did. He has always got our applause -- we indians give it for free to onetime indians living abroad no matter how much they heap scorn on us. Even if we are not intellectually competent to applaud. Naipaul has even won the western world's highest laurel -- the Nobel.

Derek Walcott's poem now serves as a solemn prophecy. The thorns on Naipaul's forehead are the ones stinging us now. Naipaul might be portrayed as a great writer who wrote about the greater things -- caste, community, race, and the third world. But his disgust for the deprived is clear. With all his works and interviews, there is one thing Naipaul has established. He is a casteist, a communalist and a racist. Like someone said of him: A Colonial among the Colonials.

A Casteist's Friendly Society

Everyone knows of hindu India's wretched caste system. A classification based on descent and occupation, the caste system has been India's own variety of racism. At the helm of this caste system come the brahmins (priestly caste) who consider the lowest castes to be untouchables. His brahmin origin, Naipaul wrote in 1984 (Finding the Center), gave him a caste certainty, a high sense of the self. Having grown up aware of his 'high' ancestry, how does Naipaul view the survival of the caste system? 'The caste system, that friendly society which provides people with every kind of cushion in bad times, will be around for most people in India' ('India through V.S.Naipaul's eyes' 9 September 2001, Radio National, Australia).

How did India's caste system become that friendly society to Naipaul? What has been friendly about caste? It may sound awful, but in this world more crimes have been committed in the name of caste than in the name of anything else. And worse, these atrocities will continue for long because caste has never been banned. It has been protected and propagated for more than three thousand years. It has gained legitimacy because of its antiquity. Naipaul must put himself in the position of the dalit-'untouchables'. Let him look at history through the victim's wounded eyes. He will learn a lot of lessons. Imagine being part of an advanced society which was a casualty of the genocide caused by the aryan invasion. Imagine losing your lands and lives to a group of nomadic tribes who term you untouchable -- your shadow untouchable. Imagine being part of an Unimaginable Holocaust. And finally imagine that three thousand years and countless sorrows later, you still survive on this earth, and are called the lowest creation. Caste will cease to be that friendly society. It wouldn't appear to be a pillow-provider. You will realize its horrors; its exterminating structure. Or forget history because none of it survives. And whatever has survived has been twisted beyond our recognition. Think of what has happened after we in India won our 'independence'. Let me repeat a decade-old government survey. On an average day, two dalits are killed, three dalit women are raped, two dalit houses are burned and 50 dalits are assaulted by caste hindus. What cushion has caste provided to these deprived classes in bad times? Nothing can be more unfriendly to society than the caste system. But Naipaul not only calls it a friendly society, he justifies its existence in an interview. 'I think differently about caste now. I understand the clan feeling, the necessity of that in a big country' (Literary Review, August 2001).

Even Naipaul's latest book is an amalgamation of all his casteist and racist feelings. The book called Half a Life deals with the story of a south indian brahmin, who in his zeal to follow Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi marries a 'backward' caste classmate and regrets his decision till the end of his life. His half-caste son goes to England to study, and marries an african girl. The story which stretches across three continents has only a single completing factor to it -- the sexual adventures of the half-caste brahmin married to an african. After eighteen years of living with the african woman he leaves her because he is troubled by the idea of marrying an untouchable. The brahmin who has broken all traditions of self-denial however turns conscious about his marriage with an untouchable and blames his bad qualities on his 'backward' caste mother. To help us understand this near-impossible work of fiction and the concepts of brahminic fatalism, Naipaul recommends us to perceive historically 'indian austerity'. He argues that in ancient days the brahmin priestly caste was supported by the hindu temples. Because of the islamic and british invasions the temples became poorer and the brahmin priests were caught in a web of poverty. So they began to fast often and this concept was respected. This is Naipaul's version of self-denial.

But the Manusmirti, an ancient brahminic code, suggests fasting as a penance for brahmins when they commit sins. And this law-book was 'probably composed sometime around the beginning of the Common Era or slightly roughly earlier' (Wendy Doniger, in her translation of Manusmriti, 1991). Jesus was not born at that time, neither was Prophet Mohammed. There were no british conquests, no islamic imperialism. There was neither Britain, nor islam. To blame the brahmin custom of fasting on Islamic and British 'invasions' is a highly crooked way of interpreting and representing history. Naipaul has ignored facts and figures. And the end product of his ignorance and indifference can change the way the world looks at us. Painting the mughal and the british periods in India as the dark ages where the brahmins and hindus suffered is more in tune with hindutva propaganda than an intellectual's justified probe into aspects of hindu asceticism. We can recognize a common agenda, an urge to produce a saffron history with a sacred thread. A hindutva history that decries the muslims, the christians. A history that blows away the concepts of aryan invasions. A history without a timeline, but full of hatelines. Here's first revelation then: Naipaul is not only casteist, but a highly prejudiced hindutva torchbearer too.

The Waver of the Hindutva Flag

In another interview Naipaul comments on hindu militancy and India's secularity: 'To say that India has a secular character is being historically unsound. Dangerous or not, Hindu militancy is a corrective to the history I have been talking about. It is a creative force and will be so. Islam can't reconcile with it' (15 November 1999, Outlook).

Yes, Sir Vidia, only now do we know that India is not secular. Not even historically. India is saffron. Saffron is India. India should not be India. It should be Hindustan. This sounds nice and saffron. Even the word resonates, unlike India. And it suits very, very historically too. Hindustan, just like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kazhakastan, Turkmenistan. The way you climb northwest over India on an atlas. Very apt. We will advertise a Change of Name. We are late to realize, but better late than never. Thanks for reminding us. Now, there is nothing like a secular India. Discard that preamble which mouths all this secular stuff. We've got to change. To keep up with what is historically sound. Let the government nominate the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to try their hands at a Flag Review. We may get an all-new trident shaped, fully saffron flag. Chuck that white band, we are not peace-lovers. Erase that Ashok Chakra, that fellow was buddhist and hence anti-brahmin. What happens to the pathetic green? Ban it, that is an islamic colour. Nothing should be green. Forget the plants, the trees, and the dirty moss that grows in old temple tanks. This will be Naipaul's India Tomorrow, a tomorrow which belongs to the hindu militants. Our future is one fast-forward to the historic past. We will live in saffron and die in it. Sacred ash can replace talc. A lot of other changes too must take place. We shall revive the Manusmirti. Then the Kamasutra. Our own laws, our own lovemaking. We will resurrect a dead language. We will go to our old silverfish leftover books, and search for twice-born teachers. We are history-correctors. (The latest job in town -- it pays a lot.) We may kill the muslims, the christians, and the followers of all other religions. We will rape their nuns, burn their missionaries, and demolish the mosques, the churches, and the synagogues (those that remain). We are already successful with the Babri. We shall close down the convents, the madrassas. Be brutal, be terrorist, be hindu. Remember this is corrective history. Remedial. Reformative. A creative force. Licensed by a Nobel Laureate.

Mushirul Hasan wrote in the Indian Express ('A Million Mutilations', 27 November 1999) that for his anti-islam bias perhaps Naipaul could be appointed chairman of the review committee of the Constitution. Or that he could be an advisor to the chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research. Hasan is right. Naipaul's myopic views have made him the darling of the hindu militants. (S.Gurumurthy, chief rabble-rouser of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, a hindutva outfit, buttresses his anti-islamic points with chunky Naipaul quotes.) There is more of the unceasing saffron flow. In an interview Naipaul says about the Shiv Sena, a political party which thrives on its anti-islam prejudices, 'Because of my background I have the most sympathy with these movements coming from below.' Let us accept his sympathy for the Sena. Even most of us feel like crying for all the things they are doing for our country. We offer our condolences. We must ask, however, why does Naipaul not accept the other famous movements that are coming from below? Why does he never condescend to know the grim sufferings that cause a larger momentum than the Shiv Sena? Let us take, for example, India's own dalit movements against the caste system. Has Naipaul expressed himself on this? He, however, loudly criticizes the caste movements that have brought about the policy of positive discrimination for the dalits. He won't care about caste in India, precisely because it is not his background. His background is great. He is a brahmin. Higher than the highest castes. A twice-born man. Owner of this earth. Popped straight out of Lord Brahma's mouth.

Now, let us consider the muslims in the indian subcontinent. They have not materialized out of thin air. Most of them were former untouchables and shudras who converted to escape the tyranny of the caste system. (That friendly society.) They turned to islam, not forcibly, but because they wanted to realize their humanity. Naipaul hides behind theories of islamic conquests and forced conversions. Let us suppose that the conversions were forced. But what really forces these conversions? The caste system or islam? A second-grader will know the answer; she must have suffered it.

Let's not look so very back in history like Naipaul prefers to do. What forced one whole village of Meenakshipuram in Tamil Nadu to convert to islam and call itself Rahmat Nagar? No, there were no islamic conquests. No Akbar. No Babar. No cruel Mohammed bin Qasim. Not even India's lovely enemy Pakistan and its ISI were involved. This happened just recently, two decades ago. What forced this mass conversion? Oppression under hinduism. Untouchability. A search for respectability. Just like what must have happened during the mughal period. Only, we weren't there at that time. Now, do we expect the Nobel laureate to see such muslims and dalits as coming from below?

Or let us take another internationally well-known movement. He has always hated the blacks and spewed enough venom on the Black Movement. Everyone knows Naipaul is anti-black. But why does he have to hate these genuine movements from below? In case you didn't know, these movements came from below. Rock-bottom. But Sir Vidia's heart will go out only for the Shiv Sena.

We can never expect more than this from Sir Vidia and his saffron-hued tunnel vision. He is not all that unbiased as portrayed. The world was shocked when the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya was demolished by a group of hardline hindu fanatics who claimed that it was the birthplace of the mythic hindu god Ram, an epic character in the Ramayana. But Naipaul reacted by supporting the demolition. 'Q: How did you react to the Ayodhya incident? Naipaul: Not as badly as the others did, I am afraid. The people who say that there was no temple there are missing the point. Babar, you must understand, had contempt for the country he had conquered. And his building of that mosque was an act of contempt for the country It was meant as an insult to an ancient idea, the idea of Ram which was two or three thousand years old' (The Times of India, 18 July 1993). Naipaul is a true-blue 'Ram-sevak'. The sentences cancel each other out. We need no arguments to disprove what he is saying. If Babar had contempt for this country, is he really nuts to build a mosque here? Why should he try to put a holy mosque in Ayodhya, if he disdains that place? To people like Naipaul what really matters is the idea of Ram, a bigoted character from a bigoted story. All famous fiction authors out there should be wary about the characters they write about and the settings for their novels. Two thousand years from now, we don't need some fan-following to pick up that idea and demolish constructions at the site where a famous author's epic hero was born. If this sounds funny, there is more nonsense ahead.

In the same interview: 'Q: The people who climbed on top of these domes and broke them were not bearded people wearing saffron robes and with ash on their foreheads. They were young people clad in jeans and tee shirts. Naipaul: One needs to understand the passion that took them on top of the domes. The jeans and the tee shirts are superficial. The passion alone is real. You can't dismiss it. You have to try to harness it.' First, the question. No one wears saffron robes when they demolish mosques. It is simply not the recommended wear. We must recollect the Crocodile ad. Tough Guys, Dress Easy. You can't identify hindu fundamentalists by what they wear. It doesn't show in long beards (even Osama bin Laden has one). Nathuram Godse, a hindu militant, was not in saffron robes or a plastered beard when he shot Gandhi. After all, criminals don't possess colour schemes and they don't publicize their chosen costumes. Thank god, Naipaul says that the tee shirts and jeans are superficial. What is intimate has been hidden.

Now, we come to the passion. What does Sir Vidia suggest? That college boys in their enthusiasm climbed the Babri Masjid and demolished it? This passion is not something from the heart, like most passions are; this one is the product of a motivated brainwashing scheme. Years of fanatic hindu propaganda that caused the demolition in the most cold-blooded calculated well-orchestrated way. 'You can't dismiss it (the passion). You have to try to harness it.' The way you harness energy to run bulldozers.

The hindu militants have been doing just what Naipaul suggests. They are still utilizing manufactured (made-in-hindustan) passions. Putting it to too much use, to cause too much damage. A decade after the Babri Masjid demolition, the hindu zealots have not changed (as you can see in Ayodhya now). They have grown bolder, dangerous, and more absurd. Representatives of India's ruling party -- the Bharatiya Janata Party -- stormed the Taj Mahal, and ruined the monument. Their propaganda machinery maintains that the Taj Mahal is a hindu Shiva temple. Formerly called Tejo Mahalaya. To keep up with such nonsense, a by-product of heavily funded research, we have to lose what little is left of our sanity. For a change we must stop the blood circulation to our brains. It might really help. And they can continue their teachings and systemized publicity and quote intellectuals like Sir Vidiadhar. This is what he has to say about the Taj. 'The Taj is so wasteful, so decadent and in the end so cruel that it is painful to be there for very long' (15 November 1999, Outlook). Stop any tourist who comes to the Taj and quote Naipaul to her. She is bound to boo at you. She may tell you to grow up and be more sensitive. She will swear to you that she wishes to spend her lifetime there, celebrating love and beauty. Those enchanting things which biased eyes can never admire.

Why Islam is Beyond Naipaul

Naipaul and the hindu extremists are in sync. Look at what they have to say about islamic conversions in India. Naipaul blames islamic fundamentalism on Arab money. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad prefers to see islamic conversions as a result of petro-dollars. They think alike. Over a period of time, you will never be able to identify who wrote what.

Naipaul's views on islam are stark enough to show his hindu prejudice and his limited knowledge. His first book on islam Among the Believers (1981), written at the time of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, betrays his violent hatred and utter ignorance of the religion. The first chapter is called 'Death Pact'. Isn't that a little scary? When the book begins with such a degrading, foreboding title for its very first chapter, we know what kind of outpourings to expect. Naipaul admits in the beginning, 'I had known Muslims all my life. But I knew little of their religion. The doctrine, or what I thought was its doctrine, didn't attract me. It didn't seem worth inquiring into; and over the years, in spite of travel, I had added little to the knowledge gathered in my Trinidad childhood. The glories of this religion were in the remote past; it has generated nothing like a Renaissance. Muslim countries, were not colonies, were despotisms; and nearly all, before oil, were poor.' In the name of Allah the almighty, the most merciful, the all-knowing, why does such an ignorant person have to study the world's most advanced and recent religion? When Naipaul is not even attracted by the doctrine of islam why does he really venture to the islamic countries of Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia? Why does such a famous author and touted intellectual (more an intellectual tout) go to Iran when he really didn't know what was happening there? We will let Naipaul's ignorance of world affairs speak for itself. 'I hadn't followed Iranian affairs closely; but it seems to me, going only by the graffiti of Iranians abroad, that religion had come late to Iranian protest. It was only when the revolution had started that I understood that it had a religious leader.' What can we prescribe for such travel writers who don't even do a background study? A Dose of Knowledge. Assistance in History and Procedure. Or a short-term course in Current Affairs and Religion.

During Naipaul's visit to Pakistan, he begins his attempt to resurrect the correct history of the Sind. As a result, in a chapter 'Killing History' he talks about a book called Chachnama, which he says is the correct version of events. It must be interesting to know how Naipaul could dig out and find out which is correct -- but the Chachnama is not at all well-known or popular book in Pakistan. (My search engine Alta Vista asks me if I meant Chechnya.) And more surprising than Naipaul's discovery is the story outlined by him from this book. The story is more unbelievable than even a devilish fairytale. It's the story of Chach -- a brahmin ascetic, and his rapid climb to the pinnacle. From scribe to secretary to chamberlain to Prime Minister in the King's court. The later Chach -- the usurper of the queen's attention, then her love and lastly kingship. Cunning Chach kills the king's brother, heir to the throne. Now, over to the second generation. Dahar, the son of Chach, who enjoys an incestuous marriage with his younger sister. And in between these ancient saucy 'n spicy brahmin romances comes the story of islamic invasions. At least in Naipaul's version. And he is worried that these stories have not come in the school syllabus of the children. What does he wish? To teach children about illicit love and incest. To teach them about debauchery and hypocrisy. Worse, he has plainly not mentioned the woes of the oppressed caste majorities during these periods of brahmin tyranny. Or the glaring truth that the buddhist majority and oppressed castes converted willingly to islam to escape their sufferings. Or that Muhammad bin Qasim invaded Sind to release the muslim women who were held hostage in a captured ship. Even this has been chronicled in the Chachnama. Naipaul indulges in the same selective history for which he decries Pakistani school textbooks. Why these double standards? His book on islam reflects more about Naipaul than about islam: his rampant hatred. His inherent bias. An intolerant hindu's vain crusade.

After 17 years he travels again to these four countries -- his views remain the same. The first book's refrain of 'Conquest first, Islam later: it was the pattern of Arab expansion' is the subject matter for the second book, Beyond Belief (1998). This second book is not anything really beyond his first book on islam. It is more long, more repetitive, more boring and packs a lot more anti-islamic feelings. Same place. Same people. Only a different time. He denigrates the positions of the converts in the non-Arab countries saying that islam has a calamitous effect on the converted peoples and that they are required to forget their histories and their past. To him islam is the most uncompromising kind of imperialism. Neither his arguments nor the stories substantiate his claims; what really makes his work appear normal is Naipaul's rage -- a rage on anything that is islamic. When Naipaul says that the muslims in Pakistan (or Iran or Malaysia or Indonesia) are converts to islam because they are not from Arabia, will he have the gumption to call christians in America and Asia converts because they are not from Jerusalem? Will he write that christian converts have to stamp out their history and only look up to the history of the Land of Jesus Christ? Can he make his wonderfully absurd inventions and discoveries and play with this religion? Christians and muslims all over the world have their local churches and mosques, their indigenous places of sanctity, their rustic little worlds of prayer and peace. That never makes them forget their religions holy places. If islam demands that the affordable must make a pilgrimage to Mecca, that never subjugates their faith or origin, that never makes them outsiders in Arabia.

Nothing can characterize Naipaul's anti-islamic bias better than Palestinian-born author Edward Said's review of Beyond Belief. In his concluding paragraphs Said writes: 'Somewhere along the way Naipaul, in my opinion, himself suffered a serious intellectual accident. His obsession with islam caused him somehow to stop thinking, to become instead a kind of mental suicide compelled to repeat the same formula over and over. This is what I would call an intellectual catastrophe of the first order.'

And such a case of intellectual catastrophe has been awarded the Nobel prize. Look at the date, and the year of the award. In today's world the award to Naipaul is purely a political tribute to his anti-islamic interviews and writings. As the Los Angeles Times reported: 'Horace Engdahl, head of the academy, acknowledged that the choice of Naipaul might be regarded as political in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States and subsequent U.S.-British retaliation. 'I don't think we will have violent protests from the Islamic countries,' Engdahl said in Stockholm,' and 'if they take the care to read his travel books from that part of the world, they will realize that his view of Islam is a lot more nuanced.''

The True Colours of Nightfall

There is no limit to the highborn's high-handedness. His aryan pride makes him one of the greatest racists of this century. His sneering contempt for the blacks had made the 1992 literature Nobel laureate Derek Walcott call him VS Nightfall in one of his poems. He has been known to criticize the africans openly and he had once famously remarked 'Africa has no future'. Will Naipaul realize that this world has more than just black, brown, white and yellow? And the crazy melanin counts never determine who you are. Or do we need to write posters and take rallies and shout at the top of our husky voices, 'We belong to one race: the human race'? Or do we move to the UN and ask of them, rather beg of them, to see that people don't create works upholding apartheid and racism. Naipaul's anti-black sentiments stare out of his novels. Sample his deductions about slavery: 'I asked for a cup of coffee . . . It was a tiny old man who served me. And I thought, not for the first time, that in colonial days the hotel boys had been chosen for their small size, and the ease with which they could be manhandled. That was no doubt why the region had provided so many slaves in the old days: slave peoples are physically wretched, half-men in everything except in their capacity to breed the next generation' (from A Bend in the River, 1979).

'Slave peoples are physically wretched, half-men in everything except in their capacity to breed the next generation.' What makes them physically wretched? Their skin colour which has doomed them to suffer. Their biology. The history of slavery. The Black Holocaust. Years of starvation and poverty. Or is their wretchedness because of the western wish to enslave and exploit? Naipaul has successfully got himself nominated to the top ten racists of this century. At least other modern racists said that slaves are an inferior race, no one had the audacity to call them half-men. That too, half-men in everything. Okay, we shall agree with anything the greatest living writer of this century says. Why then were his grandparents taken to Trinidad as indentured labourers? Was it because they were 'physically wretched, half-men in everything except in their capacity to breed the next generation'? Or would he come up with more compassionate, appealing reasons to suit his arguments? Will he ever stoop low enough to accept his own logic and thought and say that his ancestors were physically wretched and the only human thing about them was breeding the next generation of which Naipaul himself is a product?

In the New York Times (1980) he had said: 'I don't count the African readership and I don't think one should. Africa is a land of bush, again, not a very literary land.' What separates Naipaul and most others writing on Africa is that everybody writes for the africans, but Naipaul digs out their weaknesses and writes his pessimistic stuff for consumption in the western world. What makes him stoically declare that one should not count the african readership? Are they cannibals who don't know English, who can't savour Naipaul's ramifications and pontifications? What does he expect the africans to do with his books on them? Arrange it as showcase stuff? Make paper plates with his paperbacks? Practice africanized origami? Use it for toilet paper? He once called the Caribbean blacks as the Third World's Third World. He jeered at their genuine protests and hated their voices of dissent. The very first line in his travel book The Middle Passage reads: 'There was such a crowd of immigrant type West Indians on the boat-train platform at Waterloo that I was glad I was travelling first class to the West Indies.' In the same book, he describes a west-indian man in monstrously revolting way, a view even a white racist would be ashamed of. 'His light grey jacket was as long and loose as a short topcoat; his yellow shirt was dirty and the frayed collar undone; his tie was slack and askew... His face was grotesque. It seemed to have been smashed in from one cheek. One eye had narrowed; the thick lips had bunched into a circular swollen protuberance; the enormous nose was twisted. When, slowly, he opened his mouth to spit, his face became even more distorted. He spat in slow intermittent dribbles.' Naipaul's imagery has the sole aim of bringing an instant subconscious hatred and aversion in the minds of the readers towards the west-indians, whom he depicts in the most derogatory manner. He writes in the same book that 'History is built around achievement and creation; and nothing was created in the West Indies.' His patriotism for his place of birth is touchy. Here's Naipaul on Trinidad: 'I knew Trinidad to be unimportant, uncreative, cynical.'

His african novel A Bend in the River begins: 'The world is what it is, men who are nothing, who allow themselves to become nothing, have no place in it.' Sir Vidia, can all of us out here lose the anonymity of our existence, our innocent pleasure of being a Nobody? The beauty and glamour of being a celebrity exists only because there are men and women who are nothing. This world is not a commercial enterprise, where everyone needs to be someone with a tag. When Sir Vidia says that those who are nothing have no place in this world, does he want to clear us out? Perhaps, dispose us by means of a mass genocide. Or does he plan to give us eviction orders, so that we can look for boarding and lodging elsewhere. Naipaul must grow up to realize the importance of faceless nameless common people. They count too.

Why Write At All? For Commissions

Naipaul's books are a product of? Book Commissions. In an interview to Farrukh Dhondy in August 2001, he says about his first book on India, An Area of Darkness, 'Well, the truth was that I was shattered by India, by what I saw. The things I saw just seemed to be repetitive, and I didn't think there was a book there. I felt there wasn't a book in my travels. And for three months afterwards I did nothing. I was faced with the possibility of having to give the 500 advance back to André Deutsch, so I wrote the book.' Now isn't it clear that Naipaul never had any genuine interest to come to India and write about the land of his ancestors. He wrote because the only other possibility was to give back the money -- and that was a pretty tough job. His book India: A Wounded Civilization (1977) written during the Emergency was the result of an american commission. In the above interview he says about this book: 'Yes, the book is different. The result of an American commission. The publisher asked me to go and look at the Emergency that had been imposed on the country by Indira Gandhi's government.'

There is a larger question that looms on us. Who commissions Naipaul's casteist and racist literature? Who could have commissioned his anti-islamic journalistic travel study in islamic countries? And these are the vital questions that always remain unanswered.

There is a point where Naipaul's canvasses started expanding. His chauvinism which included caste, community and race had started coursing civilizations. The bigger the better. He comments on the third world countries that 'they are half-made societies doomed to remain half-made'. When hatred takes such gigantic proportions as this we can never imagine what to expect. Here's another naipaulian view on the third world: 'They will forever consume, they will never create.'

And like Rudyard Kipling who said that 'civilization is the white man's burden', we have our own Naipaul handing us a few suggestions. Sir Vidia has argued that the universal civilization is the western civilization because of 'its extraordinary attempt to accommodate the rest of the world, and all the currents of the world's thought'. This easily makes him the messiah of the western civilization. When the west rules and we in the third worlds live our merciless third-grade lives, our culture, our heritage and our history become third-grade too. And when a self-styled sycophant of the successful western world publishes his prejudices it is bound to win acclamations. Even the prestigious Nobel.


[Postimperial] Indian Subcontinent [V. S. Naipaul]