Waited years to attack Naipaul: Karnad

Last Updated: Sun, Nov 04, 2012 17:20 hrs

Defending his public tirade against Nobel-winning author V S Naipaul for his views on Muslims and Islam, playwright Girish Karnad has said that he waited for the opportunity for 10 years.

"I heard him speak on television more than 10 years ago - in 2000 - and since then I have waited for an opportunity to say 'Sorry, you're wrong. You're absolutely wrong.", and I couldn't do it earlier since I was a government servant," he said, speaking to a private news channel.

"I regret neither having made the statement or having made it at the [literary] festival. It was the perfect place and the perfect answer," he told CNN-IBN, and ruled out any apology.

Explaining what prompted him to launch the attack, Karnad said "While I was in London ten years ago, I heard an interview on BBC. During that interview Naipaul went about Muslims, how the Muslims destroyed India, its culture and so on. No one was there to defend the Muslims."

Earlier, Bangladeshi writer Tasleema Nasreen on Saturday also came out in support of Karnad and tweeted that Naipaul was an "Islamophobe".

"Girish Karnad is right, Naipaul is tone deaf, wrote nothing about Indian music in his big books on India. Naipaul is a mean Islamophobe writer," the Bangladeshi writer posted on the micro-blogging website.

She also called Naipaul ´a male chauvinistic pig´ for his earlier statement claiming that he found no woman worth his literary match.

Karnad's outburst against Naipaul came after the organisers of a literature festival in Mumbai felicitated Naipaul with a lifetime achievement award on Oct 31.

On Friday, Karnad who was supposed to talk in a sessions which focused on theatre and his life and work, however did not speak on the subject calling it ´boring´ and instead went on target the organisers for felicitating Naipaul earlier.

"What he says is predictable, which is that the Muslims destroyed Indian architecture that everything went to pot. They were the raiders, they were the destroyers, and you have to look at any building to see what happened during the Muslim regime," Karnad said.

Born in Trinidad in 1932, the descendant of indentured labourers shipped from India, Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, is best known for his novels focusing on the legacy of the British Empire´s colonialism.

The author, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2001, has also written several travel books and is known for his provocative remarks.

He has been awarded numerous literary prizes including the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (1958), the Somerset Maugham Award (1960), the Hawthornden Prize (1964), the W. H. Smith Literary Award (1968), the Booker Prize (1971), the Jerusalem Prize (1983) and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime´s achievement in British Literature (1993).

In 2008, The Times ranked Naipaul seventh on their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".

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