Anil Dharker, director of the Literature Live, talks to HT’s Pankti Mehta, a day after playwright Girish Karnad criticised the festival’s organisers for giving VS Naipaul a lifetime achievement award.
On Karnad's criticism of the award:
Karnad said Naipaul is not Indian. Naipaul came here to find his roots, and comes to India every year. By that logic, should we not give awards to Salman Rushdie, Amitava Kumar or Suketu Mehta? About Naipaul's anti-Muslim stance, Farrukh Dhondy, who was present at some of the occasions Karnad quotes Naipaul from, says that Karnad has misquoted Naipaul based on hearsay. It is undeniable that Muslim invaders destroyed a significant part of India’s heritage. Saying that doesn’t make me anti-Muslim. Naipaul, too, is only writing about historical fact, which shouldn’t imply his beliefs about a community.
On Literature Live’s future association with Karnad:
While I have lost some respect for him, Literature Live will continue to encourage his talent.