India: A Million Mutinies Now

In This Review

India: A Million Mutinies Now

By V. S. Naipaul
Viking, 1991
520 pp. $24.95

V. S. Naipaul is a rare combination of born narrator, who brings to life the places and people he encounters, and thinking traveler who offers stimulating insights. This is a beautifully written, intellectually satisfying account of the huge complexity that is modern India. Naipaul sees in postcolonial India many revolutions within a revolution. All over India scores of "long buried disruptive peculiarities"-of region, caste and clan-have come to the surface and produced growing factionalism. The result is "a country of a million little mutinies" supported by "twenty kinds of group excess"-sectarian excess, religious excess, regional excess. These "mutinies" cannot be wished away. They are part of the beginning of a new way for India, part of its restoration.

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