Naipaul is celebrated for his achievements but had also been in the limelight for a fair share of controversies. Here’s a list of the five top controversies that the late author got embroiled in
Nobel-winning British author VS Naipaul, known for writing about life in countries that suffered the brunt of colonialism, died at his home in London on Sunday at the age of 85.
Naipaul is celebrated for his achievements but had also been in the limelight for a fair share of controversies. Here’s a list of the five top controversies that the late author got embroiled in:
On Paul Theroux
Naipaul and his protégé, Paul Theroux, had been engaged in a two-decade-long literary feud. The two men met in Uganda, where Theroux was a travel-writer teaching at a university and Naipaul was a celebrated writer, after the success of his book ‘A House for Mr Biswas’. Naipaul took Theroux under his wing and took him to Britain where he introduced him to the London literary scene. Their relationship took a sour turn when Theroux became critical over Naipaul’s writing and soon, they grew apart. Over the years, they met each other on literary platforms where pleasantries were not exchanged. However, the two buried the hatchet in 2011 when they shook hands at a literary fest in Wales.
On Salman Rushdie
When asked about Salman Rushdie, Naipaul told a British interviewer, “I don't know who you are talking about, I really don’t know at all.” Naipaul has said that he did not have time to read Rushdie’s work and once called the 1989 fatwa, issued by the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, over Rushdie’s controversial book 'The Satanic Verses', an “extreme form of literary criticism”.
Naipaul had once said that he didn't find any woman to be his literary match – not even Jane Austen. He said that because of women's "sentimentality, the narrow view of the world" they could only produce ordinary literature. Naipaul added, "And inevitably for a woman, she is not a complete master of a house, so that comes over in her writing too."
Naipaul had an inherent dislike for the religion and had often said that Islam had both attempted to enslave and wipe out other cultures. "The story of Pakistan is a terror story actually. It started with a poet who thought that Muslims were so highly evolved that they should have a special place in India for themselves,” Naipaul said. "This wish to sift countries of unnecessary and irrelevant populations is terrible and this is exactly what happened in Pakistan," he added. He claimed that Islam had had a calamitous effect on converted people.
In Uganda, Naipaul said, “Africans need to be kicked, that’s the only thing they understand.” In a New York Times interview, when asked about the future of Africa, Naipaul simply said, “Africa has no future”.
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Last Updated Sep 9, 2018, 8:59 AM IST