VS Naipaul, recipient of the Nobel Prize in literature in 2001, passed away on Sunday. Naipaul was a universally acclaimed writer and a literary giant of this generation. He often garnered the spotlight for his rather caustic take on things, which, over the years, has landed him in a lot of controversies. Here are five blunt and highly controversial statements by Naipaul on how Indian culture was ‘ravaged by invaders’.

1. India has been a wounded civilisation because of Islamic violence: Pakistanis know this; indeed they revel in it. It is only Indian Nehruvians like Romila Thapar who pretend that Islamic rule was benevolent. We should face facts: Islamic rule in India was at least as catastrophic as the later Christian rule. The Christians created massive poverty in what was a most prosperous country; the Muslims created a terrorised civilisation out of what was the most creative culture that ever existed.

2. How do you ignore history? But the nationalist movement, independence movement ignored it. You read the Glimpses of World History by Jawaharlal Nehru, it talks about the mythical past and then it jumps the difficult period of the invasions and conquests. So you have Chinese pilgrims coming to Bihar, Nalanda and places like that. Then somehow they don't tell you what happens, why these places are in ruin. They never tell you why Elephanta Island is in ruins or why Bhubaneswar was desecrated.

3. It (Islam) has had a calamitous effect on converted peoples. To be converted you have to destroy your past, destroy your history. You have to stamp on it, you have to say 'my ancestral culture does not exist, it doesn't matter'... This abolition of the self demanded by Muslims was worse than the similar colonial abolition of identity. It is much, much worse in fact... You cannot just say you came out of nothing...

4. In art and history books, people write of the Muslims 'arriving' in India as though they came on a tourist bus and went away again. The Muslim view of their conquest is a truer one. They speak of the triumph of faith, the destruction of idols and temples, the loot, the casting away of locals as slaves.

5. While the Ottomans moved into south-east Europe, the Moghul invasion of India destroyed much of Hindu and Buddhist civilisation there. The recent destruction by Moslems in Afghanistan of colossal Buddhist statues is a reminder of what happened to temples and shrines, on an enormous scale, when Islam took over.