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Salman Rushdie hits back at Jnanpith winner Bhalchandra Nemade

Writer Salman Rushdie has lashed out at Jnanpith award-winning Marathi writer Bhalchandra Nemade for his comment that Rushdie’s works lacked literary merit.

Shortly after being chosen for the prestigious Jnanpith award on Friday, Mr. Nemade made the remarks at a felicitation programme organised by the Matrubhasha Samvardhan Sabha in Mumbai. He dismissed the works of Mr. Rushdie and V.S. Naipaul as “pandering to the West.” Mr. Rushdie’s works after Midnight’s Children lacked literary merit, he said.

Responding to the criticism, Mr. Rushdie tweeted on Saturday, “Grumpy old ….. Just take your prize and say thank you nicely. I doubt you’ve even read the work you attack.”

Known to be a proponent of “nativism,” which endorses an author writing in native language and a world view that negates globalisation, Mr. Nemade had described English as a “killer language” and said the primary and secondary education should be in the mother tongue. “What is so great about English? There isn’t a single epic in the language. We have 10 epics in the Mahabharata itself. Don’t make English compulsory, make its elimination compulsory,” he was quoted as saying at the felicitation.

Mr. Nemade himself taught English and comparative language at different universities and retired from the Gurudeo Tagore Chair of English at the Mumbai University.

Mr. Nemade, whose 1963 novel Kosala (cocoon) transformed the form of Marathi novel, is currently working on a sequel of his 2010 tome, Hindu.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 9:04:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/stung-salman-rushdie-lashes-out-at-jnanpith-winner-bhalchandra-nemade/article6871171.ece

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