Recalling Naipaul

UWI St. Augustine News

For Release Upon Receipt – August 14, 2018UWIV.S. Naipaul, our phenomenal West Indian son, has resigned leaving behind a substantial space our society, that we can only hope would one day be filled again. The passages detailing his passing have been marked with sadness on all sides of the discursive divide of the subject he centred with sensational success—the naked and hidden truths of the post-colonial world. West Indian society was blessed to have produced and unleashed him upon a world much in need of self-liberation.For over half a century the master scribe was magisterial in pursuit of his mission. All who read and heard him, marvelled at his intellectual insights, though his panache for pinching the raw nerve extracted fury from a few. The mega-narrative of the literary icon was the primary inner theme of our times—freedom. Imagining a legitimate literary ‘West Indianness’, as a celebration of cultural creolity, was for him, at times, nothing more than frivolity; more meaningful were the possibilities embedded in the ontologies of ancestry. He reserved his satirical sting for the emerging societies of what he termed the ‘bourgeoise banana democracy’ that proliferated the peripheries of empire. Migration, he said, the brick and mortar of the West Indies, has made us all mad as we imagine the attainment of freedom from colonial ideals. The very idea of ‘madness’ proved to be a metaphor of nationhood embedded in Naipaulian dimensions. From ‘Biswas’ to ‘Mimic men’, the West Indian journey to justice is narrated in the contradictory pains and passions of our attempts to detach and depart from the colonial scaffold.  Naipaul was not confident in the sincerity and integrity of the detachment, and as a result delved deeply and described the political brutality, cultural banality, and heroic vanity of the effort. In many respects Naipaul was the all-seeing, inner eye that witnessed …

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