26 October, 2020

Rushdie And The Sea Of Prejudice

A '50 years' anthology of the finest Indian writing marred by tall claims and inexcusable exclusions

Rushdie And The Sea Of Prejudice
AN anthology is essentially a deception. A publisher's strategy for wringing the market cynical twist more. At can whet appetite, not satisfy it; at worst, it can foster the illusion of knowledge, acquainting you with all the right names, whom you then no longer need actually read. Since celebrity and commerce are inextricably linked in the modern world, publishers need big names as anthologists. It's doubly helpful if the big name also writes some kind of introductory essay, tying up his material and its themes—the essay then becoming a kind of template for whatever the arbitrary grouping yoked together. In this scenario, Vintage Books, UK, have managed to put together the ultimate masala: a huge occasion, 50 years of Indian independence; the most happening camp in world literature, Indians writing in English; and stirring it together as anthologist and essayist, the most famous Indian writer in the world, Salman Rushdie.

And the entire world knows Rushdie stirs a mean curry. Occasionally singeing his own tongue. This time is no different. The volume he has edited...



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