Leave the British Alone, Rages Naipaul

Daily Mail (London), February 22, 2002 | Go to article overview

Leave the British Alone, Rages Naipaul


AUTHOR V.S. Naipaul flew into a rage at a literary festival yesterday, condemning Indian writers who complained about British colonialism.

He also took a swipe at women authors who told of their 'gender oppression'.

The British writer, who was knighted in 1990 and won the Nobel Prize for Literature last year, made his name writing about the cultural chaos of the postcolonial world.

But his love-hate relationship with the land of his ancestors boiled over as he derided the obsession of some Indian writers with colonialism as 'banal' and 'tiresome'.

Lashing out during a discussion of the impact of colonialism on the country's writing, the outspoken literary giant said such abstractions were futile for writers.

When two Indian women authors, Shashi Deshpande and Nayantara Sehgal, suggested colonialism and gender oppression had affected their work, Naipaul interjected: 'Banality irritates me. Life is too short.

'This thing about colonialism, this thing about gender oppression - the very word oppression wearies me.' The 69-year- old author, whose family left India in the 1880s to settle in Jamaica, where he was born, was speaking at the International Festival of Indian Literature.

'Fifty years have gone by. …

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