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Samit Basu

Sound and fury

Perhaps his close friend Sir Vidia Naipaul’s praise (“At last ' a new and brilliantly original novel from India”) turned his head. Otherwise, there’s really no explaining Tarun Tejpal’s recent rant against Indian book critics who failed to recognise his book for the classic he thinks it is. “I think between incompetence and malice, almost no decent reviewing takes place in India,” said Tejpal in a recent interview, raining fire and brimstone on everyone involved with the Indian book industry in any way. His reviewers are probably somewhat confused, given the fact that most of them had been extremely polite about The Alchemy of Desire. In the same interview, he showered his book with praise, saying it was “full of the joy and vitality of passion, love, desire, ambition, lived lives of the most ordinary”.

Blogging comes of age

Serious bloggers now have something to be light-hearted about. The Indian government is in the process of working out rules to grant accreditation to web journalists and ‘serious’ bloggers. It’s a move in the right direction, given the increasing influence of online journalism and blogging, its most exciting, opinionated and independent form, and follows in the footsteps of countries like the US, where blogs are now acknowledged as significant movers of public opinion. Accreditation would mean greater access to officials, and would add more fuel to the debate about blogging vs the mainstream media. But given how tough it is for accredited Indian journalists to gain access to offices and documents, I’d not be too elated by this news. Red tape and babudom are easily exportable online, and it’s devoutly to be hoped that accreditation and government evaluation of blogs are used to assist journalists, not restrain them. And who defines ‘serious’ blogging, anyway'

Monkey business

The National Defence Academy in Pune is facing an interesting ‘terrorist’ threat. Marauding gangs of langur monkeys are raiding the academy and laying waste to equipment, students and military routines alike. Academy officials want to meet the tailed terrorists with maximum force, but I think the solution is to hire the monkeys as guerrilla warfare trainers instead.

Patriotic pils

Does anyone else feel inclined to follow in pedantic uber-patriot Sanjay Bhatnagar’s footsteps and try to change individual words in the national anthem' If you think another ‘Publicity’ Interest Litigation is just what the country needs, here’s something that should get your grey cells humming. Have you noticed how Dravid is the only cricketer mentioned in the national anthem' Do you think this is a conspiracy hatched by evil forces plotting to end Ganguly’s tenure as captain' Go on, then, start a campaign and take it to the Supreme Court. Just make sure you have Rs 10,000 at your disposal.

AWARD OF THE WEEK

Award

Goes to Monsoon Wedding star Parvin Davas, for quietly attaining that Holy Grail for Indian actors ' a Hollywood crossover. He’ll be playing the lead in a four-hour series called Memsahib.

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