A native of India,
It means to me something about travel and migration. And displacement, as in become an exile or a refugee. But, more profoundly still, it suggests to me a quality that is at the heart of the act of reading and writing. It evokes the use of imagination to step into another's shoes. To grasp a different point of view or a different existence. Or approach the subjectivity of the other.
You once mustered the temerity to meet for lunch with a man who published your name to his online list of Hindu traitors. Is it fair to conclude you possess an abundance of courage, or at least confidence?
I was only slightly afraid, but I don't think it was courage at all that made me go to him. It was curiosity. This is what a writer must have, more than courage or confidence. I went to the man who had threatened me, and been abusive to me even on the phone when I called him, because I wanted my enemy to have a face. How else was I going to write about him?
The list of links on your What are your most significant impressions of Madison?
I have been there several times, visiting the university. During my youth, in India, I vaguely knew that the university had a great reputation for radical scholarship. That is certainly true. But now I also have very particular associations with Madison. It is home to Rob Nixon, whose writings, starting with his book on Naipaul, have been a great inspiration to me.
What are your most significant impressions of Madison?