When Naipaul was bowled over by Congress leader Ram Niwas Mirdha!

NEW DELHI: VS Naipaul was once so awestruck by Congress minister Ram Niwas Mirdha‘s knowledge of his books that he wondered what this “extraordinary kind of fellow” and “civilised man” was doing in politics.

During a visit to India when Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister in the mid-80s, Naipaul wanted to meet some senior politicians with whom he could discuss India’s political and economic scene and conveyed this to seasoned journalist Khushwant Singh.

Singh became anxious to find someone who would not embarrass him by not knowing who Naipaul was.

“I am pretty certain that not more than two or three of Rajiv’s cabinet ministers have never heard anything by Naipaul. The only one I could risk exposing him to was Ram Niwas Mirdha,” Singh had written in one edition of his iconic column ‘With Malice Towards One And All…’

And Mirdha did not let Singh down and Naipaul was pleasantly surprised to discover that Mirdha had read everything he had written.

“He did not say so himself…

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