Reem With A View

"Names and attributes must be accommodated to the essence of things, and not the essence to the names, since things come first and names afterwards." – Galileo

India and China will alter the world: Naipaul

Source: IANS.

Nobel Prize winning author V.S. Naipaul says that India and China “will completely alter the world” although he bemoans there “are no thinkers in India”.

“It’s a rather calamity of India today that there are no thinkers. A big country, a powerful country of a billion people. There are no thinkers in India. What is important today is the economic development of India and China that will completely alter the world,” Naipaul told The New York Times in an interview.

In contrast “nothing that is happening in the Arab world has that capacity”, Naipaul said, adding, “It has capacity for mischief. They are spreading their little wars to Indonesia, the Philippines and all these other places. But that’s just mischief. What’s happening in India and China will bend the world and will change it forever.”

Naipaul, whose writings about the world of Islam and its troubles have been considered prophetic, had a sobering view of the Sep 11 terror attack on America. “What happened on Sep 11 was too astonishing. It is one of a kind, can’t happen again. But in the end it has had no effect on the world. It has just been a spectacle like a bank raid in a western film. They will be caught by the sheriff eventually but they’d raid a few banks,” he said.

On the Arab world he said “intellectually it is a great tyranny. Because it is a tyranny people’s can’t grow intellectually and be on the level of the world they envy. But it has always been like that. Religion has always been a tyranny and it becomes an expression of state power.”

He spoke of his controversial views on Islam with undiminished vehemence. “I became very interested in the Islamic question, and thought I would try to understand it from the roots, ask very simple questions and somehow make a narrative of that discovery,” he said.

He wondered to what extent “people who lock themselves away in belief…shut themselves away from the active busy world?” He said he was also interested in “to what extent without knowing it” they were “parasitic on that world”? He said there were “no thinkers to point out to them where their thoughts and their passion had led them”?

He reiterated his famous observation that as a form of writing the novel is dead. “What I felt was, if you spend your life just writing fiction, you are going to falsify your material,” he said. “And the fictional form was going to force you to do things with the material, to dramatise it in a certain way. I thought nonfiction gave one a chance to explore the world, the other world, the world that one didn’t know fully.”

“I thought if I didn’t have this resource of nonfiction I would have dried up perhaps. I’d have come to the end of my material, and would have done what a writer like Graham Greene did. You know, he took the Graham Greene figure to the Congo, took him to Argentina, took him to Haiti, for no rhyme or reason.”

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