Bill Gates did say: "My kids will have computers of course, but they will have books first”. I am blessed to have been born in a family that had a very large library. All kinds of books and all kinds of music too. I grew up on a diet of books and music. It was probably one of the largest private libraries around my neighbourhood. From Indian classics to western ones, from politics to drama, from serious novels to the Panchatantra. As a youngster I read Swami Vivekananda, western classics, Panchatantra and, of course, Asterix too. I firmly believe my education would have been incomplete without the Panchatantra and Asterix. Then we had music. From Chitti Babu’s Veena to George Harrison’s guitar riff. From Lalgudi Jayaraman to Yehudi Menuhin. From Bollywood soundtracks to western rock and classic. Music has always remained with me. Why am I telling you all this? I just want to warn you for the record: I am not “Tone-Deaf”. Not that Girish Karnad (GK) has a problem with me.
Somewhere in that large crowd of books was also V.S. Naipaul’s (VSN) “Area of darkness”. It also had Girish Karnad’s “Hayavadana”. I’ve read neither of them but I know what Hayavadana is about and through reviews and news reports I’m also aware a bit about what Naipaul writes. In short, I know a litter bit about both. I don’t read as many books now except for some quick reads during travel. I have a good excuse for this. After all didn’t Albert Einstein say: “Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking”. You see? I’ve taken Einstein seriously but not everyone has; especially not GK. His thinking has been lazy for 10 long years as good old Einstein suggests. So GK comes out with an ugly burst of anger and diatribe against VSN in a Litterfest that was also meant to honour the latter with a lifetime award. And his problem? Its VSN got this award, is anti-Muslim or not secular like him. Er.. make that a “professional secularist” as GK likes to call himself. Also that VSN got a Nobel Prize in 2001.
The accusation GK makes against VSN is that in all his books he has never mentioned Indian music. Then the other one is that VSN is anti-Muslim, that VSN blames Muslims for destroying Hindu culture. Okay! Now whether a writer chooses to mention music or not is really no big deal. So I’ll just throw that nonsense back into GK. The second point is that VSN is probably one of those writers who has challenged and annoyed the glorious Commie writers of Indian history. Our school text books will tell you how glorious those Mughal rulers were and how much they contributed to Hindu culture. VSN just started talking about what those school books didn’t tell people. Nowhere in the world has an invasion by an alien culture and religion invaded a part of the world and caused so much death, havoc and destruction of everything that the locals valued. The problem for GK is that more people are openly talking about it than ever before. It threatens the very survival of people like him and those who follow a political ideology similar to his. I had predicted on Saturday, November 3 that our TV channels, particularly NDTV and CNN-IBN, will try to wash the sins of GK. And they didn’t fail.
To even suggest that because we speak of and lampoon the crimes of Muslim invaders and that is hate for muslims is something only extra-ordinary idiots can conjure up. Fact is nobody is holding present day Muslims in anyway responsible for any of those historical crimes. And did those violent invaders manage to destroy Hindu culture? It’s probably the only culture that Islamic invasion has never managed to wipe out; not even by a sensible measure. If they had managed that India today would be an Islamic republic. We would have been a Pakistan. The true problem lies with “fake secularism”. Secularists like GK and many others have militantly advocated that muslim crimes must be covered up or muslims should be treated with a higher priority than others. Even MMS has stated that they have the “first right” to resources. This indeed is the present day problem with Muslim appeasement. If you protest this appeasement, if you seek uniform civil code, if you seek equal treatment of all Indians you are likely to be branded “Communal, fascist, hater”. This is the political trick that GK plays on everyone.
Instead of discussing his political trickery our TV channels are foolishly discussing a battle between GK Vs VSN when VSN has not even joined the battle. Like a wise man VSN has simply ignored the idiotic outburst of GK. The other important thing to note that is our Litterfests are no different from our Page 3 characters. There’s jealousy, there’s back-biting, there’s bitching and, in more soapy cases, open slandering. That VSN got the Nobel Prize is probably bothering and upsetting GK. It’s a prize that is recognised and valued across the world. What about GK? Well, he is mostly decorated with awards from the establishment and the govt of India. He should be happy. He’s got the Padma awards and that places him in the august company of the likes of Teesta Setalvad; so why crib about some LitterFest award? Even Anil Dharker, a small time writer and director of the Litterfest, claims he’s “secular” because he fights 200 cases against Narendra Modi. Wow! I guess we can now have ‘secular justice’ and ‘communal justice’.
There is absolutely no problem with whatever GK had to say about VSN or his writings. He can spew as much hatred as he wants. Of course, it doesn’t fool anybody but the commie media morons are thrilled. Make no mistake, humiliating a person in a function where he or she is to be presented an award not only reflects poor professional culture but also smacks of a serious lack of character. My mind goes back to Stephen King’s horror movie “Carrie”. Being an odd one out, her jealous and bitchy college friends don’t want Carrie to win the ‘prom queen’ award as she had bagged the best boyfriend around. Predictably, Carrie wins the award but the bitches have already set their revenge in place. As she stands on the stage with her prize, a huge bucket full of pig’s blood is rained on Carrie, drenching her from head to toe in red filthy blood. In the horror that follows Carrie uses her telekinetic skills to set the whole hall on fire and burns everybody to death. Fortunately, in GK’s case no such horror befell him but he was no different from the bitches in Carrie and has as much pig’s blood on his hands. The only consequence GK faces is that he is now looked down upon as a very petty, pathetic figure and will not command the same respect as before. He may possibly not care.
The other reason why many are so worked up over VSN appears to be the international acclaim he has achieved, at least GK does. In slamming VSN, Karnad even quotes Salman Rushdie commenting on VSN winning the Nobel prize: “A fellow traveller of fascism who disgraces the Nobel prize”. And GK is quoting him because he calls VSN anti-Muslim. Where can you really find a moron like him? Muslims world-wide have actually called Rushdie a muslim-hater, anti-Islamic and have put a bounty on his head. No Muslim anywhere in the world has called VSN a muslim-hater or Islam-hater or put a bounty on his head except probably our very own “professional secularists”. Now, the typical secularist will argue that the bounty on Rushdie has no merit. Well dear secularists such hatred and bounty on VSN’s head, particularly in a function honouring him has no merit either. If he writes crap, you speak crap and maybe write crap too. So save the crap exchange!
I had long back thought that these petty literary figures are nothing more than those petty bitches in Carrie. They hate anyone else being successful or applauded. Does that explain why they look down on someone like Chetan Bhagat? I haven’t read a single book of Chetan Bhagat but I have to say that he is an extraordinarily successful writer. Forget that he may never win a Nobel or any award at all. In an interview with Arnab Goswami prior to the release of his book on Revolution, if that’s the name, there is one stunning fact that CB revealed. The first print run for that book was 5 lakh copies. Have you ever heard of that in India? 5 lakh copies? At the very least CB has taken the reading habit farther than any pompous litterer like GK or VSN. Increasingly, these so called Litterfests seem to be becoming more and more a gather of littering minds, not literary minds. The garbage they leave behind takes a lot of cleaning up.