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Rohini Sanghivi


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Vikram Seth, Jaipur Lit Fest and Indian Taliban

By: mainmonalisahoonna Posted Feb 07, 2009 General 756 Views
(Updated Feb 07, 2009 10:53 AM)

Local Hindi reporters, bracing perhaps for the patronising treatment they nearly always get at litfests (Jaipur Literay Festival) like these, splashed the story on the front pages the next morning. It had no resemblance to the truth, at least as English India saw it—nothing of Vikram Seth's wit, his crisp translations, the only Indian English writer as widely read in Hindi as he is in English.

Not an iota of admiration for a writer who is hailed worldwide as the "ultimate Renaissance Man"—poet, novelist, librettist, translator, biographer, children's writer, calligrapher, travel writer—and now painter. Instead the headlines screamed: Noted writer caught drinking in broad daylight in front of schoolchildren. A front-page editorial castigated him for being "insensitive" to Rajasthani culture. His mother, Leila Seth, also an invitee, was (mis)quoted as saying, "Some people like to drink tea, my son likes alcohol."

Local litterateurs got their mugshots into the papers, making reprobative noises. One of the dailies even got a schoolboy to confess his shock and grief at how his "role model" had let him down. All this fuss over a glass of wine that Seth sipped casually as he talked, oblivious to this new "Rajasthani culture".

Source: Outlook

My view point:

Rajasthani Culture? Wow!! Jai Ho to Indian Talibans!!

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