Taseer versus Dalrymple: Top recent Indian literary spats


Five plots, a few bad characters and a twist in the tale: Daily O

William DalrympleLast week, columnist Malavika Sangghvi wrote about a leaked email exchange (from a couple of months ago) between Aatish Taseer and William Dalrymple, two writers who have a little bit of history. Dalrymple, apparently, sought to end the needle by offering an olive branch: he invited Taseer to speak at the 2016 Jaipur Literature Festival, on a panel discussion about Manto and the Partition (Taseer has, in the past, translated Manto’s stories into English).

Unfortunately, Taseer did not take too kindly to Dalrymple’s mail, because it had no mention of The Way Things Were, his new novel. Taseer wrote: “Willy, even you must know that you don’t write to a writer in the week that he has published his most important work yet, and not so much as mention it. Manto?! What is Manto compared with what I have achieved in The Way Things Were? Do you really believe I don’t know the worth of my own work? Here is a review, published yesterday — the first in the US — that goes part of the way in capturing my own high opinion of what I have done in The Way Things Were. Let me make this simple for you: go away and read my book. Then sit down and put in words your own admiration of it. After that I will gladly take seriously your invitation.” Thankfully, things did not escalate further, largely because the older (and presumably, wiser) Dalrymple replied politely and hoped to “bury the hatchet” in Jaipur.

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