Category Archives: India 2012

Nations, Gods, and Plastic

“But what if,” I ask, “I wanted to become Indian?”

It is 9am, and we are twelve hours into a seventeen-hour train journey. There is something about Indian trains that encourages social intercourse, and I have succumbed to the temptation to engage in debate with my fellow passengers.

“You know,” I continue. “Like when Indians come to Britain. They get British nationality – why shouldn’t I be able to get Indian nationality?” Continue reading


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Do Indians now dream in English?

The Sunday Times of India has published a piece I wrote taking a sideways view of the Salman Rushdie/Jaipur affair. You can read it on the Times of India website here and below.

Do Indians now dream in English?

Sunday Times of India, 5 February 2012

The furore at the Jaipur Literature Festival this year prevented Salman Rushdie from contributing to the festival’s debate on the Englishlanguage in India. Though the debate went ahead, it focused mostly on issues concerning spoken English.
Rushdie would likely have broadened the debate to include the question of using English for Indian creative writing.His 1983 Booker prize for Midnight’s Children caused the chair of the judges to laud “the current adventuring in English language fictions”; a decade and a half later, he wrote that “prose writing – both fiction and non-fiction – by Indian writers working in English, is proving to be a stronger and more important body of work than most of what is being produced in the 16 ‘official languages’ of India, the so-called ‘vernacular’languages.”

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Oprah, God and Obama

“Look! Oprah!! Today she come?”

The rickshaw driver thrusts the newspaper into my hands pointing to Oprah’s photograph on the front page, before manhandling his rickshaw towards the potholed road for my final ride to the Jaipur Literature Festival.

“You are very lucky to see Oprah! Now she is very old…” he continues as he cranks up the engine. Continue reading

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