Thursday, June 01, 2006

Here comes the spleen. (Sing it to the tune of ‘Here comes the bride’. Once more with feeling.)

This specimen (from the twenty-fifth issue of comes from my own Archives. (The Hindustan Times Archives do not go back beyond 01 August 2004.)

> Quoting verbatim an unsigned hate E-mail I received is an apt way to open the twenty-fifth issue of …

"Sub: Naipaul

Naipaul is a not a sourpuss, and unlike you is a well respected man of considerable talent and sharp intellect.
I bet you have not read some, let alone most of his work, yet in order to improve you (sic!) Indian version of secular credential, really a well established Nehruvian type of muslim appeasement, you feel that you have to slight this man. Pathetic hindu wimp forever subserviant to islamists!"

I wonder what the Nobel laureate would make of it. Either this fan of his has given up on English spellings or his ability to spell has given up on his mind so full of hate and venom.

Anyone wishing to answer him may apply to me for his E-mail address.

In the meanwhile, my PC's spellchecker has put the whole thing in proper perspective. Helpfully, it offered "muslin" as an alternative to "muslim" sans capital "m"; "hind" for ditto "hindu"; the correct spelling of the Frenchified "subserviant"; and "psalmists", "alarmists" and "Islamite" in lieu of "islamists." It made no comment on the "you" used in place of the intended "your," though. (The "sic!" is mine own.) And, it even offered to change "Frenchified" into "French-fried," the joker!

[P.S.: One of the joker’s contributions I forgot to mention was “Peruvian” instead of ”Nehruvian”.]

The piece that drew the hate mail-writer’s ire was two issues earlier. It read:

> If passport denotes nationality, Naipaul is an "intellectually and culturally bankrupt" Briton or Britisher if you'd rather I use a word the British shun.

He's certainly not one of us "unwashed" Indians, thank our lucky stars, nor an "unlearned" Trinidadian. An Oxford don who later confessed to having wasted his youth at "a very second rate provincial university," Naipaul is a sourpuss with a disposition to match.

Or else why would he perpetually view the world through jaundiced eyes?No, my bone of contention is neither An Area of Darkness nor India: A Wounded Civilisation. I found both these uncompromisingly truthful and brilliant.

It's simply that, Nobel laureate or not, the man comes across as an insufferable boor.

Give me, instead, the Royal Canadian Air Farce anytime.

In retrospect, though, I feel I wrote too harshly and unfeelingly about Sir Vidiadhar. After all, he has the right to feel and write any way he wishes. Sorry for the lapse, Sir Vidia.

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