Thursday, March 04, 2004

Supporters of Naipaul insist that Sir Vidia is simply too lofty a figure to be constrained by smutty Indian party politics, that his visit to Ashok Road was only a courtesy call and he would have stopped off to meet the Congress too if only he had been invited. Perhaps. Perhaps the Naipaulean vision cannot and should not be harnessed to the Sangh parivar. Yet for the BJP, if not for Sir Vidia, Naipaul's visit is an important landmark. For a potentially violent anti-intellectual political movement associated with tearing up film posters, destroying libraries and defacing paintings, even a courtesy call from an international literary figure provides the one attribute that Hindutva still does not possess: intellectual respectability.

-- From a column on "the BJP's search for respectability" by Sagarika Ghose in today's Indian Express.

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