V S Naipaul : A Muslim Hater!

Recently, Sir V. S. Naipaul, Trinidad born Indian origin nobel laureate in literature, was conferred a life time achievement award by Tata Literature Live festival. In the same function, Mr. Girish Karnard, a famous playwright and a theatre personality, was also to speak on his experience in theatre. However, Mr. Karnard spent most of his allotted time to criticise Sir V. S. Naipaul for his anti-muslim bias. The action has thus far created two factions, one is pro Naipaul and the other favoring Girish Karnad. Here are my thoughts on the perceived bias of Sir Naipaul.

I have read one book written by V S Naipaul – India Million Mutinies Now. I liked it. To me, Naipaul was describing the awakening of millions of Indians from different segments of our society, from different castes, communities, religions etc. I did not find him virulently antimuslim. If he was, he would not marry one. 

It is a fact, that muslims whenever they invaded any country, they had engaged in widespread death and destruction. It is a historical fact that Khaljis burnt whole library of Nalanda. It is a fact that Ahmad Shah Abdali and Mohammad Gazhnavi invaded Hindustan many a times, 17 times to be precise. Those invasions were not picnic or social call. They meant realtime plundering and rampage. I have not included invasions of Timur Lane, and Chenghis Khan. During Mughal era, Aurangzeb was not a benign pro hindu emperor.


Now if V S Naipaul says muslims caused a lot of death and destruction how is this wrong? Not all muslims caused this, but some muslim rulers did, according to history. Losing a library of rare books and manuscripts, collected and written painstakenly, is no trivial matter. Several centuries worth knowledge disappeared. So what, if it happened during rule of one ruler.

It is worth mentioning that Germany was involved in world war I and II. There was wide spread death and destruction. But that historical fact does not undermine what Germany has achieved today. Neither do we have to defend Germans that were against Hitler. Similary, as we cannot ignore wrong doing of Islamic invasion, we cannot ignore good things that happened during muslim rules, neither can we blame muslims for the rest of their lives.Things happen, and many a time we are caught in the maelstorm of events beyond our control.

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