Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad aka “Vidia” Naipaul, Nobel Laureate in literature, has passed away aged 85.He was a Caribbean writer of Indo-Nepalese descent born in rural Trinidad with British citizenship. Besides bagging Nobel prize in 2001, he also won Booker Prize and Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society. “He is to a very high degree a cosmopolitan writer, a fact that he himself considers to stem from his lack of roots: he is unhappy about the cultural and spiritual poverty of Trinidad, he feels alienated from India, and in England he is incapable of relating to and identifying with the traditional values of what was once a colonial power,” the Nobel judges said.Naipaul is recognized in India for his writings on Hindu civilization. He wrote more than 30 books including A Bend in the River and his masterpiece, A House for Mr Biswas. His wife Lady Naipaul called him a “giant in all that he achieved”. She said he died at his home in London “surrounded by those he loved having lived a life which was full of wonderful creativity and endeavour”, reports BBC.040.Geordie Greig, editor of the Mail on Sunday and a close friend, has said his death leaves a “gaping hole in Britain’s literary heritage” but there is “no doubt” that his “books live on”. Salman Rushdie,71, Mumbai born British Indian novelist, confessed he has disagreed repeatedly with Sir Vidia but learning about his passing away “I feel just lost as if I have lost my beloved older brother”. American travel writer Paul Theroux, who had a bitter 15-year feud with Sir Vidia before reconciling, said “he will go down as one of the greatest writers of our time”. He had been in poor health. But he never wrote falsely, he added “He was a scourge of anyone who used a cliché or an un-thought out sentence. He was very scrupulous about his writing, very severe, too.” Sir Vidia was raised as a Hindu and attended Queen’s Royal College in Trinidad. He moved to Britain and enrolled at Oxford University in 1950 after winning a government scholarship giving him entry into any Commonwealth university of his choosing. As a student, he struggled with depression and attempted suicide. His first book, The Mystic Masseur, was published in 1951 and a decade later he published his most celebrated novel, A House for Mr Biswas, which took over three years to write. Sir Vidia, who was a broadcaster for the BBC’s Caribbean service between 1957 and 1961, was one of the first winners of British literary award the Booker Prize, for In A Free State in 1971.
Condoling his demise, President Ram Nath Kovind says: Sad to learn of the passing of V.S. Naipaul whose books are an penetrative exploration of faith, colonialism and the human condition, in his home in the Caribbean and beyond. A loss for the world of letters and for the broader school of Indo-Anglican literature,” tweeted President Kovind. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1990.”When I learnt to write I became my own master, I became very strong, and that strength is with me to this very day,” he told Reuters in 2010.Many of his novels are semi-autobiographical, with “A House for Mr. Biswas” clearly modelled on the author, his father and the house in which his family lived. The house was turned into the Naipaul House and Literary Museum in St. James, Port of Spain, in Trinidad.