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Reply To: The Ripening Outcast, with Mythologist Norland Tellez


Hello Nandu,

You provide a rich history of nearly many decades of India’s conquests, notably the Brits and the Mughals.  The essay reflects your intimate grounding in India’s typologies and periodization. It also corrects the thinking that only the upper class Hindus are to blame when it’s a predominant culture of many groups, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Parsees? Yes Parsees too, as I recently read, “Tatas inexplicably pulled their sponsorship of Britain’s famous Hay Literary Festival after bankrolling it for five years to the tune of nearly £1 million.”

You wrote,

The Britishers, then the Congress and now the BJP exploit the divisions within the society, making one group hate the other, based on false narratives. We need to remove these false divisions and make people see reality. In India, the only division is between the privileged and the underprivileged.”

My question is, Is that not the division in most places, that is, the division between the privileged and the underprivileged? And in India, the privileged class mixed in with politicians have almost taken over the free press. Perhaps, a little bit of academic freedom,  supported by new legislation and reforms,  might help in removing the “false narratives“?

I am reminded of the  2016 incident when Roy’s political writing landed her in trouble in India after student protests broke out in universities across the country following the hanging of a Kashmiri separatist whom Roy had praised.  She left Delhi for London —  of course, as one who is privileged she could do it. But it also suppressed the voice that expressed the wrongdoings of the Modi government. “Roy describes her nonfiction as “urgent interventions”, but ever since Modi came to power she is mostly drawn to writing fiction.”

Fictional writing too could help dispel the false narratives, but India’s ruling Junta is not taking this bitter pill.

Looking forward to your reply.