Friday, January 17, 2014

Decolonization - 2

I had previously mentioned this item where Aatish Taseer takes down Arundhati Roy.   I now quote a different part of it.

Ida: The ‘idiot’ to whom you refer…what is your beef with him?

Aatish: I disapprove of him. That’s all. 

Ida: Disapprove of him? That’s a bit imperious…

Aatish: I saw him at one of his book launches, a grotesque figure, a man become obese on the affections of Indians! He lay on a stage, this great whale of a man, dressed in a mirrorwork kaftan, if you please, his dirty feet hanging off. And all about him, like little pixies, Baul singers skittered around… 

Ida: Baul singers?

Aatish: They’re Bengali bards of a kind. And to complete this awful scene was an audience of embassy trash. They sat among bolsters and fountains, sipping white wine. You’ve never seen anything more hideous in your life. But we mustn’t blame him alone; the fault is as much India’s; it is India who makes giants of these mediocrities, fattening them up till they’re as corrupt as Kurtz.

Ida: That’s a bit harsh…

Aatish: In this respect, one cannot be harsh enough. In a more confident country—like Russia, say, in the 19th century; or, even China today—a man like that would have been booted out. He would have been a figure of fun and contempt. He would not have been able to position himself as a gatekeeper to intellectual life. But in India, he can; we love a man like that!