Wednesday, Jun 29, 2022
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Bibliofile

Death of Vishnu, John Simpson, Arjun Sengupta's New Book

Bibliofile

The latest triumph in Indian English writing, The Death of Vishnu, was launched in Delhi at a well-attended event at the India Habitat Centre. Despite the worldwide interest in this debut novel, evoked by the bidding fever it aroused in the international publishing world, both Suri and his publishing house in the UK, Bloomsbury, preferred to launch the book in the Indian capital. Suri read out extracts from his book, including a sex scene that won him Khushwant Singh's admiration. "You are going to be a great writer," the veteran told the blushing debutant. "I can feel it in my bones."

It was a favourable mahurat, to borrow a word from the revised Oxford English Dictionary, for Indian English when John Simpson, chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, flew in for a short visit to their Delhi office. The number of Indian words in the oed, that "treasure house of the English language", has grown from a mere 400-500 words to several thousand in the new edition, according to the 46-year-old lover of English words, old and new, slang and Indian. And is growing so rapidly that the oed is planning a separate dictionary of Indian-English, somewhat like their Australian-English dictionary, only with new rules to accommodate this chaotic, fecund growth fuelled by Indian dailies and writers like Amitav Ghosh, Nalinaksha Bhattacharya, Firdaus Kanga et al.

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