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Naipaul and Political Correctness


Vinod Kumar


Naipaul "was" great writer -- the best living writer in English as long as he wrote "A House for Mr. Biswas". When he wrote making subtle fun of the Hindu practices of his parents in Trinidad and other stories. But he fell from grace when he wrote Among the Believers. His Nobel prize was held because of that.

It took the attack on WTC i.e. 911 for Naipual to be awarded the Nobel after having been "the perpetual nominee" for years.

VS Naipaul is a victim of PC as Graham Huggan wrote
"Last year, an Indian student of mine, working at the time on a thesis on V. S. Naipaul, and exasperated at the lack of help she was getting from friends, suggested to me a new logo for her college sweatshirt. The logo changes every year, she said. This year's model? "P.C.-ness envy." P.C.-ness envy, she complained, is sweeping the campus. Its symptoms include a preference for black clothes; a predilection for earnest conversation at fashionable coffee-shops; and a desire, above all, to speak about oppression without speaking for the oppressed. Certain writers, like Naipaul, are best not spoken about at all; and if they are spoken about, then it is in terms of stunned disbelief (Naipaul!!) or thinly disguised contempt (Naipaul!!). Some students, she said, were not impressed that I was teaching Naipaul; after all, Naipaul is so politically incorrect."

(Huggan teaches postcolonial literatures in the English department at Harvard University. He is the author of Territorial Disputes: Maps and Mapping Strategies in Contemporary Canadian and Australian Fiction (Toronto 1994 ), and of numerous articles on postcolonial literatures and literary theory. He is currently working on a book on contemporary travel writing.)

What the progressive secular bunch lacks most is the freedom of speech and thought and specially if it impinges in any way on Islam. Naipaul had commented on about every culture before Among the Believers but his comments on Islam changed every thing.

As if that was not enough, he committed the greatest blunder of them all -- justifying Hindu cause.


October 15, 2003

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