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Thursday, Oct 21, 2021
Outlook.com

The Alleged Booker Prize

It's less Orientalist and doesn't trap you in the little-brown-man box

The Alleged Booker Prize
Illustration by Sorit
The Alleged Booker Prize
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
Normally, when an Indian wins the Booker Prize, the country rallies round to cheer, and even the most dubious "voracious readers" from the pages of Stardust suddenly develop an interest in literature. But Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger was never a book Indians wanted to read, and even with the much-coveted stamp of approval from abroad, it's hard telling whether it will get the 1,00,000-copy boost in sales experienced by Kiran Desai's Inheritance of Loss.

Consider the front-page Times of India story that announced the news. The first paragraph cites as the reason for the win Adiga's "alleged ability to offer insights into the struggle of a developing nation on the rise"—effectively condemning the Booker winner as a fake. The conventional and obviously objective alternative would have been to say, "In awarding the prize, the judges praised Adiga's skill in providing insight into the struggle of...." 'Alleged', which to the newspaper man implies somebody is being accused of a crime and the lawyers are worried...
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