It qualifies as the ultimate act of subversion. This spectacular feat by writers from a previously colonised nation almost mocking the righteous patronisation the Western literary world would like to heap on writers from the sub-continent. English writers vie for the same prize and that makes the victory sweeter. But back home, as news of yet another Indian writer beating the impossible odds trickles in, the celebration, if any, is muted and tinged with suspicion. Certainly it is nothing when compared to the adulatory headlines every time the Indian Cricket Team beats Australia or England. Even allowing for the much touted cliché that cricket and not literature is the national pastime, it is baffling that these achievers are not accorded a fraction of the accolades that a Bronze Medallist from the Olympics commands. Instead, the hostility they encounter tends to force them into being “Salingeresque” recluses in their own country.
Vijay Nair in The Hindu writes about antagonism towards the Indian Booker prize winners (Aravind Adiga, Kiran Desai and Arundhati Roy) from the literary from the literary establishment in their homeland. It's an awful pity that these authors find their efforts met with so much hostility ... and one wonders if the "tall poppy syndrome" doesn't have something to do with it.