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The last Englishman

The celebrations to mark 50 years of Indian independence revealed the cultural poverty of the Indo-British encounter. Indians now look to American global culture

By Pankaj Mishra   November 1997

Almost forgotten in the country to which his unabashed Anglophilia brought him three decades ago, Nirad C Chaudhuri, the Indian writer, will turn 100 in November. In India he has always had more baiters than readers; it is only the approaching centenary that has at last brought him official recognition from cultural bureaucrats willing to overlook his frequent references to India as a land of “barbarians.” As for Britain, Chaudhuri’s uncompromising intellectual elitism-he steadfastly refused to translate quotations from Latin and Greek in his books-has long lost him the few readers he had: none of his books, either the great…

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