Thursday, April 24, 2008

Of the diasporean tail wagging the dog....

Reference to this article in this blog, some where in the nether world below, I have been thinking (not unusual, no?). Dalrymple called the phenomenon of the diasporean Indian trying to out-wit and out-write the real Indian as 'the tail wagging the dog'.

Agreed, we are the dog, and they are the smart tail, powdered, made-up and sanitised. But they are smarter, the are able to communicate better, to be able to wag the dog (us) they have to be. We poor unfed, undernourished denizens who call ourself Indian Writers in English (IWE) have to hold on to underpaying jobs, work overtime, listen to peeves such as this - flowery language, too poetic, too verbose, too wordy - and still have to make a living for ourselves. It's actually very sad, I think as I look at the morning sun outside the speeding train, we are a generation of writers trapped in our own history of dissent and protests without any role models to follow.

Dalrymple says Arundhati Roy was (rather, still is) the only discovery that the Western world made and that all other writers who claimed they have been paid three million as advance (and still stuck to their desk jobs) have not even got the publishers their advances. Tut tut! Well a lot of would-be Arundhatis did send in their manuscripts, only to be told they weren't as original as the lady herself.

So when Pablo offered to bring in celebrity writers and give us a chance to interact with them, we should have actually jumped at the chance.

Instead, what did we do? We stayed away. A noble and sensitive writer like Indra Sinha came and spoke to a smattering of the usual 'poetry reading' audience, other luminaries like the editor of Spectator (Matthew something) came and the hall was half empty.

And who was masterminding the boycott? Couple of writers from England, yes the very own that Dalrymple calls the tail. No media came because they were giving the glad ear to the 'dog who was being wagged' by the tail in England.

I guess the Indian writers who stayed away were making common cause with the tail who actually are our worst enemies. They call themselves the smart tail but refuse to acknowlwdge the body they belong to. Hari Kunzru says he is not the smart tail at all, he disown being the tail! I think he should name himself Harry Kensigton or some thing!

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1 comment:

Rajiv said...

Hi John
After our last exchange, I feel, this my interest you:
Whats wrong with angrezi?