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Nirad C. Chaudhri was he a hero or an outcast?.

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Nirad C. Chaudhuri - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Chaudhuri was hounded out of government service, deprived of his pension, blacklisted as a writer in India and forced to live a life of penury. Furthermore, he had to give up his job as a political commentator in All India Radio as the Government of India promulgated a law that prohibited employees from publishing memoirs. Chaudhuri commented later that he had been misunderstood. "The dedication was really a condemnation of the British rulers for not treating us as equals", he wrote in the Granta article.

Although he was highly critical of the post-independence Congress party establishment, he was more sympathetic to the right-wing Hindu nationalist movement in India. He refused to criticise the destruction of mosques: "“Muslims do not have the slightest right to complain about the desecration of one mosque in Ayodhya. From 1000 AD every temple from Kathiawar to Bihar, from the Himalayas to the Vindhyas has been sacked and ruined. Not one temple was left standing all over northern India. They escaped destruction only where Muslim power did not gain access to them for reasons such as dense forests. Otherwise, it was a continuous spell of vandalism. No nation with any self-respect will forgive this. What happened in Ayodhya would not have happened had the Muslims acknowledged this historical argument even once.”
He was also deeply distressed by what he saw as the deep hypocrisy in Bengali social life and in particular those that resulted from class and caste distinctions. His historical research revealed to him that the rigid Victorianesque morality of middle class Bengali women was a socially enforced construct, that had less to do with religion, choice and judgment, but more to do with upbringing, social acceptance and intergenerational transference of values.
His prose was highly influenced by Sanskrit and the older version of the Bengali language, the Shadhubhasha . He had little respect for the proletarian language, Choltibhasha or Cholitobhasha , which he regarded as being common in taste and scope. He avoided the use of words and expressions originating from Arabic, Urdu and Persian that are very common in modern Bengali (though not as common as in Hindi).

His masterpiece, The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian (ISBN 0-201-15576-1), published in 1951, put him on the short list of great Anglo-Indian writers. He courted controversy in the newly independent India due to the dedication of the book, which ran thus:
“ To the memory of the British Empire in India,
Which conferred subjecthood upon us,
But withheld citizenship.
To which yet every one of us threw out the challenge:
"Civis Britannicus sum"
Because all that was good and living within us
Was made, shaped and quickened
By the same British rule."

The dedication, which was actually a mock-imperial rhetoric, infuriated many Indians, particularly the political and bureaucratic establishment. "The wogs took the bait and having read only dedication sent up howls of protest", commented Chaudhuri's friend, the editor, historian and novelist Khushwant Singh.
Dear Prasadji

We are living in a period of intolerance and that makes it tough to sit in judgement of
whether Nirad Babu was a hero or an outcast. How rubber-kneed the Govt must be to have
not invited Salman Rushdie for the Jaipur Fest? A cartoon of Sankar that was published in 1949
is making all-and-sundry cry for his blood !

But he was a gutsy writer never cowed-down to appease political big wigs, whether Indian
or British, though one could always sense a tilt towards the British.

Depending upon the outcome of a struggle one is classified either as a 'terrorist' / 'freedom fighter'.
Nirad Babu will continue to be that sort of an enigma.

Yes, Kushwant Singh and he were great friends and got a particular thrill at taking pot-shots
at each-other, without being vulgar / insulting / abusive . There was never a rivalry /
one-upmanship / enmity / animosity. It was great fun watching [ reading] two heavy weights
slug it out, that too in the open.

Kushwant Singh too had his brush with the 'system'. His views on Operation Blue Star and the
handling of the Khalistan issue didn't go well with the 'establishment', then.

In reality Prasadji, I am still searching and hope to find some of the 'cuttings' soon - Dubai Ravi too
is doing his bit. My sister Anu was a journalist and working directly under Kushwant Singh then - she is
presently in the US, happily fondling her 2nd G Child. I got her on skype, but she seems as lost as I !

Hope to find something soon and will definitely [with some help] upload.

Yay Yem
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