New Delhi: The Mumbai Lit fest on Friday witnessed major drama when veteran actor and theatre artist Girish Karnad slammed Nobel prize laureate VS Naipaul and called him anti-Muslim. Karnad, who was present at the lit-fest on Friday to conduct a class on theatre, spoke at length about Naipaul.
Karnad said, "Now Mr Naipaul has written three books on India, three very big books and if you read them you will find that not one of them contains any reference to music. He has gone through the whole of India without responding to Indian music. Now I think that this only means that he is tone deaf. That's my reading of the situation but then there's no reason why he shouldn't be tone deaf. He has no music and therefore no conception of what the Muslims contributed to our history. This concept of what the Muslims did in Indian history clearly shows that he has no idea of atleast the music bit."
The controversial comments have sparked off a debate on web with author Taslima Nasreen tweeting in support of Karnad. If Naipaul wrote his books in one of the Indian regional languages, he would have been an unknown writer even in India. Festival organiser Anil Dharker expressed dismay over the controversy saying, "We were all taken aback by Girish Karnad's attack on VS Naipaul. After all, we had invited him to speak about his journey in theatre and Mr Naipaul had nothing to do with that!"
Naipaul was awarded the Landmark Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this week at the ongoing Mumbai Literature Festival which ends on November 4. He is yet to comment on the controversy sparked off at the same event.