Manick Govinda – VS Naipul: his own person

VS Naipaul: his own person

VS Naipaul: his own person

The great writer rejected victimhood and lazy thinking.

He detested race and identity politics. In 1974 he wrote: ‘It’s very attractive to people to be a victim. Instead of having to think out the whole situation, about history and your group and what you are doing… if you begin from the point of view of being a victim, you’ve got it half-made. I mean intellectually.’ This is what makes Naipaul so important and unique in ‘diasporic’ literature and English literature. He is the classic, alienated outsider.

Naipaul was attacked by many for being neocolonialist and an Islamophobe. But this misunderstands him. What makes him a truly great writer is his ability to inhabit the complex imaginative and intellectual landscape of both colonised and coloniser.