Rambo v Willy: Round…oops, we lost count

Ram Guha has responded to William Dalrymple’s response to his response to the Dalrymple review that started the whole kerfuffle, and no, the Babu’s way too tired to link to all that stuff again.

Here’s what Guha had to say: “Having got the abuse out of the way, however, he concedes that his elite/mofussil theory of literary merit lies in tatters, now writing that ‘someone’s background should (not) disqualify them from writing about a particular subject’.”

Now Rajeev Kinra leaps into the fray:

“Indeed, what really seems to be at issue here is Guha’s contention that Dalrymple ‘instructs us on which Indian writers we may trust and which not.’ Who is he to lecture us? This is Guha’s thesis.

Leaving aside the scarcely veiled nativist chauvinism expressed by this “us” (should Guha then stop writing holier-than-thou commentary about America, and lecturing the Americans on whether or not to deny him a visa?), I suppose that Guha means that Dalrymple, as a white man, is not free or qualified to express an opinion on the abilities of any Indian writer, or comment on how that writer’s background plays a role in his or her writing style. Surely Guha can’t really mean that, can he?”

Pass me the aspirin, please.

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