14 May, 2021

The Bhashanglo Tangle

Questions the Nemade-Rushdie spat raises

Illustration by Saahil
The Bhashanglo Tangle

Bhalchandra Nemade, the Marathi writer who won the Jnanpith award—India’s leading literary honour, which is yet to go to an Indian writing in English— dismissed V.S. Naipaul and Salman Rushdie asauthors who “pander to the West” in that “killer language”, English. Rushdie, a diasporic Indian writer who has won the Booker, a major international prize never given to anyone who does not write in English, tweeted back calling Nemade a “grumpy old bastard”  and doubting that the Marathi author had read him or Naipaul.

And thus, tra-la-la, returned to the megalit screen the old Indo-global thriller about Authenticity, Creativity, Langu­age and, above all, bang-boom-bang, Indianness!

This loud thriller has been returning to us every few years, but it seldom goes beyond a trailer, because its storyline always gets lost in verbiage and histrionics. As far back as 2000, when I published Babu Fictions, I discovered that I was speaking to two mutually deaf tribes. As Babu Fictions was the first...

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