Sanjeev Sanyal speaking at the condolence meeting
This is how Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of Bharat, Dr Sanjeev Sanyal remembered Naipaul. Sanyal observed that, “He was not only a great writer but a true writer. He wrote what he believed. He wrote what he saw, and he went back to revisit his ideas. He tried genuinely hard to be true and was extraordinarily open-minded.”
Sanyal was speaking at a condolence meeting held at India International Centre (IIC) on August 14, 2018, to pay tribute to Nobel laureate and author Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul, who passed away at his home in London at the age of 85 on August 12.
Speaking about Naipaul”s non-fiction which influenced him, Sanjeev Sanyal said that reading Naipaul against the backdrop of the collapse of the Soviet Union and liberalisation of Indian economy was quite a revelation. “It woke me up to the idea of India not just as a wounded civilisation but as a civilisation suffering in some ways from a collective Stockholm’s syndrome,” he said.
Former Member of Parliament and former editor of Panchjanya Weekly, Tarun Vijay while presiding over the meeting narrated his personal experiences with VS Naipaul. He said that Naipaul’s writings and interactions made him realise of the real weakness of Indian society, i.e. Hindu memory loss. Indian novelist and author Amish, through a video message, addressed the connoisseurs of Naipaul literature gathered at the meeting. He also condemned the attempts to show the great writer in poor light after his death citing his personal life.
Prafulla Ketkar (Editor, Organiser) remarked that if somebody has given voice to cultures, identities and civilisations which are subaltern at the global levels, the most uprooted communities which are forcefully uprooted from their homeland, it was Naipaul.
Recalling Naipaul’s India visit and his meeting with a group of intellectuals and historians, Director of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation Anirban Ganguly said that it resulted in the publication of the four volumes of India They Saw. “Naipaul suggested a group of historians and writers to undertake a mega project of compiling the descriptions about Bharat that Westerns documented across the centuries. And suggestion resulted in the four volumes India They Saw, edited and compiled by Meenakshi Jain and Sandhya Jain, where the history of India is meticulously documented from sources.”