Thursday, February 26, 2004

... for the most part, those at the meeting said, Naipaul chose to listen rather than speak, making periodic remarks. The level of discussion, they said, was low.

Perhaps that is why Naipaul was taciturn after the meeting. Perhaps, to avoid uncomfortable questions on why he was meeting the BJP. He needn't have bothered. When he attempted to answer questions from a clamouring posse of mediamen, his wife, Lady Nadira, asked him to "keep quiet, let me answer."

And then hell hath no fury like Lady Nadira: "What is wrong if we wish to come to the BJP cultural cell? What is so spectacular that you should gather this way? My husband writes about India, the BJP is in power and we are observers."

Attempts to assuage fell on deaf ears. Instead, she said: "He is an independent observer, he has been invited here. He is not a politician."

So what was he doing at the office of a political party? "He's in the public domain, he can be appropriated by anyone," Nadira said. "Who stopped the liberals from doing so?"

Priceless! Read the whole Times of India report here.

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