Indian author from New York, Mangalore, and elsewhere. Many of my books, such as The Revised Kama Sutra: A Novel, Impressing the Whites, and The Killing of an Author use humor and satire to make serious points. Only my books speak for me; blogs are impulsive, often un-edited exercises in free expression: a symbolic resistance to being silenced by the Establishment.
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The Strange World of an Indian Bestselling Author
From The Killing of an Author, published in paper and on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Nook, etc. Selected passages from one of the book's most important chapters. The trouble with any excerpt in a blog is that, I have to restrict the language here, and also that no excerpt can really convey the power of the book as the book itself (particularly later chapters such as "The Taboos" and "The System and the Killing of Subversive Authors").
An Author Is Born
The Strange World of A Bestselling
book ["The Revised Kama Sutra: A Novel"] was finished, and it included a strong, in-your-face Prologue, a political
manifesto on behalf of invisible Third World writers, a manifesto demanding
equal freedom and incorporating The Invisible Man Press:
“It is true
that I, the author, have registered a publishing company in the United States
called the Invisible Man Press because I felt that it was time for us Indians
(including those of Indian origin — one-sixth of humankind) in this
postcolonial age to feel free to say absolutely whatever we wanted to say,
without censorship of any kind, real or imagined.”
Prologue went on to suggest that censorship of Third World voices occurred
discreetly in a democracy like the U.S., and that Western publishing was a very
effective tool of this censorship and control. Briefly, the Prologue’s message was: We
are equal citizens of Republic Earth, so please, no double standards, no
paternalistic rules or prohibitions.
chutzpah, I think now, looking back on what I did, for a brown writer living a
marginal literary existence in the West to start his first novel
with an attack on Western publishing, literary colonialism, and apartheid, and
his first chapter with a blast at British colonialism! Rather than waiting, as Arundhati Roy later did,
to first make her millions and establish her power base in the West, and then
to choose causes that would make her the darling of liberals. (How this passage
must have reddened the face of Peter Mayer, Penguin’s worldwide head, who
received a copy of the novel from David Davidar shortly thereafter, and did nothing
about it.) But I was young, green, hopeful, and proud, and didn’t know that
there were no prizes set aside and waiting, in the West-dominated literary
world, for Indian writers with balls, for unsuitable brown boys. (If there was
to be a prize, I would have to institute it myself ... and I actually started
planning for it — “The Invisible Man
Press Award for a Courageous Indian Writer” — but could not follow through
because of too many commitments and too few resources.)
Penguin India editor David Davidar’s enthusiasm, the feeling that fame — or
some sort of explosion (David’s prediction of the novel “taking India by
storm”) — was around the corner made me decide, with finality, to ask that my
on-again, off-again resignation from the Indian Administrative Service, until
now my ticket to security and comfort and status for life in India, be made
permanent and irrevocable.
.. (Please read the rest in The Killing of an Author, available on most e-book platforms and in paperback.)
I had recently forgotten that Muhammad Ali fought for much more than himself, and is a man with the courage of his convictions, and wit besides:
Here are a few inspiring and entertaining quotes from him, many of which resonate with me:
Social Consciousness and Commentary:
"Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up."
Clay is a slave name. I didn't choose it, and I didn't want it. I am
Muhammad Ali, a free name, and I insist people using it when speaking to
me and of me."
"Nobody has to tell me that this is a serious
business. I'm not fighting one man. I'm fighting a lot of men, showing a
lot of 'em, here is one man they couldn't defeat, couldn't conquer. My
mission is to bring freedom to 30m black people."
gonna fight for the prestige, not for me, but to uplift my little
brothers who are sleeping on concrete floors today in America." "I
am America. I am the pa…
Much of politics and history, especially in the U.S., is about Us and Them. Us, the Good Guys, versus much of the Rest of the World: the Bad Guys. If you're with us, with moral as well as material and diplomatic support, you're also good guys (though not as good as us). If you're against us, or simply not with us, you're bad guys. And our mission is to bomb, starve, and sanction you into changing your mind.
Historian Mark David Ledbetter does not accept such a simplistic view of wold affairs. His study of history, contained in three works of towering research, America's Forgotten History: Parts 1-3, tells him that every nation, at some point in its history, has been guilty of genocide or war crimes. It just happens that different nations are at different points of development and engagement with the rest of the world, and therefore, we don't all behave and think the same.
But that's just one element of Ledbetter's new book, Dancing on the Edge of the W…