VS Naipaul tried genuinely hard to be true: Sanjeev Sanyal
Organiser   15-Aug-2018

New Delhi, August 14: A condolence meeting was held at India International Centre today to pay tribute to Nobel laureate and author Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, who passed away at his home in London at the age of 85 on August 12.

Addressing the gathering former Member of Parliament and former editor of Panchjanya Weekly, Shri Tarun Vijay reminisced about his personal experience with VS Naipaul on his India visit. He said that Naipaul’s writings and interactions made him realised of the real weakness of Indian society, i.e. Hindu memory loss.

Indian novelist and author Shri Amish, through a video message, addressed the connoisseurs of Naipaul literature gathered at the meeting. He condemned the attempts to show the great writer in poor light after his death evoking his personal life.

Speaking on the occasion, the Editor of Organiser Shri Prafulla Ketkar said that if somebody has given voice to cultures, identities and civilisations, the most uprooted communities which are forcefully uprooted from their homeland, which are really subaltern at the global level, it was Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul. “When he started writing there was no concept of NRI or Indian diaspora. In that era, he reminded that in some corners of world, tiny Bharats are living,” he said.

Speaking about his scathing criticism over Emergency, he said, “Naipaul was unsparing as far as all sorts of injustice meted out to any individual or community. He was one of the pioneers who looked at history in a different way and spoke about Islamic invasions and the way civilisation was crushed in India. He never minced his words whenever got a chance to speak out his mind.”

Shri Ketkar said that the people who are lecturing about differentiating personal and public life of many intellectuals and political figures, from Marx to Karunanidhi, are holding a grudge against Naipaul even after his death and attacking his personal life. “Just a couple of days back they were reminding us why we should not talk about Karunanidhi’s personal life, but when it comes to Naipaul, they have taken out all arms to attack him from quarters," he added.

Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India, Dr Sanjeev Sanyal remembered Naipaul as a true writer who was extraordinarily open-minded. “He was not only a great writer, but a true writer. He wrote what he really believed. He wrote what he saw and he went back to revisit his ideas. He tried genuinely hard to be true and was extraordinarily open-minded,” said Sanjeev Sanyal.

Speaking about Naipaul's non-fiction which influenced him, Sanjeev Sanyal said that reading Naipaul against the backdrop of the collapse of the Soviet Union and liberalisation of Indian economy, was quite a revelation. “It woke me up to the idea of India not just as a wounded civilisation but as a civilisation suffers in some ways from a collective Stockholm’s syndrome,” he said.

Recalling Naipaul’s India visit, Director of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation Shri Anirban Ganguly said that his meeting with a group of Indian intellectuals and historians resulted in the publication of the four volumes of ‘India They Saw’. “Naipaul suggested a group of historians and writers to undertake a mega project of compiling the descriptions about India that Westerns documented across the centuries, and put forward a narrative which says there is a large number of Westerners came to this land and said positive things about us and our civilisation. And suggestion resulted in the four volumes India They Saw, edited and compiled by Meenakshi Jain and Sandhya Jain, where the history of India is meticulously documented from original sources,” Shri Anirban Ganguly said.