Month: December 2004

  • Susan Sontag…

    …has died at the age of 71. I hope those boys in Stockholm are happy now; they have another name to add to the long, long list of great writers who deserved the Nobel but died before they got the nod. I never quite forgave the Academy for keeping W G Sebald permanently on the […]

  • We Interrupt Our Usual Broadcast…

    …to ask you to visit It has all the info you need on the magnitude of the disaster (the current death toll has risen to 55,000), where to donate, who to contact and how to help, and it was kicked off by Zigzackly.

  • The Ban Band

    Apropos the previous post, The Guardian consulted five experts on the tricky issue of censorship: when, if ever, should a work be banned? They hit motherlode with Dr Kanwaljit Kaur Singh, Chair of the British Sikh Education Council. The good doctor was nothing if not consistent: About Jim Allen’s Perdition–“If Jews found it insulting and […]

  • Dishonoured?

    I caught the Behzti thing in bits and pieces while absconding from Kitabkhana. Bhatti’s play has raised a huge furore in the UK: “An offer to stage a play, which had been cancelled after violent protests by members of the Sikh community, was withdrawn last night following a request by the playwright who has gone […]

  • While We Were Sleeping…

    …lots happened and these guys pretty much covered the whole caboodle. But the Babu had good reasons for disappearing. He was: a) packing books and discovering that most of our furniture consists of bookcases, that old books produce very pungent dustballs while new books produce only mildly-scented ones, and most important, the books you’ve just […]

  • The OFAC clusterfac

    Suppose you were born in a country that fell on bad times, into the hands of dictators. Suppose you and a few other dissidents raised your voice against the reign of tyrants, crackpots, torturers, architects of genocide. And suppose one of the few things you hoped is that your voices might be heard elsewhere. According […]

  • Go visit…

    …the two Author Sites I’ve added to my sidebar, finally, after meaning to but never getting round to it for ages. Samit Basu, who is discovering life beyond The Simoquin Prophecy, blogs at Ducks Rule, among other places. He does a pretty good job of simulating writerly angst: “Still havent started story. Turned down invitation […]

  • Rushdie’s reading

    So the Babu met Rushdie during his visit to Delhi, and it was everything he’d thought it would be–ie two ships that passed in the night, one of them an ocean liner, the other a very small dinghy. We exchanged brilliant, sparkling conversation, or rather Mr R tossed off one bon mot after another while […]

  • Thou Shalt Read My Robe, Worms

    “A judge refused to delay a trial Tuesday when an attorney objected to his wearing a judicial robe with the Ten Commandments embroidered on the front in gold.” In letters large enough to read. I dunno, judges look Gandalf-y enough without donning bits of the Bible–a pity the report’s silent on where his tailor placed […]

  • Muddying the waters

    This article by Amalesh Choudhury appears to be a rejoinder to Amitav Ghosh’s piece on the perils of setting up a tourism complex in the Sunderbans, but a somewhat misconceived one. Choudhury has two main gripes: he accuses Ghosh of getting some of his details wrong, and painting the Sunderbans as a hellish, muddy swamp […]