India: 2a Million Mutinies Now

V. S. Naipaul, Author
V. S. Naipaul, Author Viking Books $24.95 (528p) ISBN 978-0-670-83702-1
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Trinidadian journalist-novelist Naipaul stresses that much has changed since his 1962 trip to India, which yielded his darkly pessimistic book India: A Wounded Civilization. In this kaleidoscopic, layered travelogue, he portrays ``a country of a million little mutinies,'' reeling with ``rage and revolt,'' as percolating ideas of freedom shake loose the old moral ethos rooted in caste and class. Despite what he terms regional, religious and sectarian excesses, Naipaul sees possibilities for regeneration in the new freedoms, yet this skewed essay is fraught with bewilderment and sorrow as he reels off a familiar litany of problems--terrible poverty, shoddy manufactured goods, ugly neo-modern architecture, etc.--and comes to terms with his own past: his ancestors were indentured servants of Indian descent. Most interesting here are the dozens of first-person stories by Indians themselves, ranging from a wealthy young stockbroker to anti-religionists to a publisher of women's magazines. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo; author tour. (Jan.)
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