Rajiv Devanagondi's Reviews > India: A Wounded Civilization

India by V.S. Naipaul
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Oct 20, 07

Read in October, 2007

In a concise but powerful essay, Naipul outlines the decay he sees in 1970s Indian society. His identification of a pervasive, introspective, backwards-looking mentality within this society, and its role in contributing to societal decay, is a little ambitious. I have trouble believing any "Indian mentality", however broadly defined, can apply to a population of more than one billion people and still have any descriptive power.

Interestingly, Naipul wrote this essay during a rather dark time in modern Indian history. An Emergency was declared, the constitution was suspended; undoubtedly, the future seemed bleak. Certainly poverty is still rampant, and caste and religious discrimination still exist, but I wonder if Naipul would modify his thesis considering the steps forward India has made in terms of economic liberalization and (slightly) more transparent politics over the last 20 years.
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