V.S. Naipaul: "Banality irritates me. My life is short. I can't listen to banality. This thing about colonialism, this thing about gender oppression, the very word oppression wearies me. If writers talk about oppression, they don't do much writing. Fifty years have gone by. What colonialism are you talking about?"
Ruchir Joshi: "You're being obnoxious!"
Fortunately Vikram Seth was on hand to mediate. Meanwhile, Rushdie says:
However, another writer, the Nobel laureate VS Naipaul, speaking in India just a week before the violence erupted, denounced India's Muslims en masse and praised the nationalist movement.
The murderers of Godhra must indeed be denounced, and Mahasveta Devi in her letter demands "stern legal action" against them. But the VHP and its other related organisation, the equally sinister RSS (Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh, or Association of National Volunteers, from which both the BJP and the VHP take inspiration) are determined to destroy that secular democracy in which India takes such public pride and which it does so little to protect; and by supporting them, Naipaul makes himself a fellow traveller of fascism and disgraces the Nobel award.
Seriously, I need to go have a secular-socialist agrarian society, by myself, operating out of a trailer in the desert off the interstate. Sagebrush and blank billboards. Aren't they nice?