Books: Lest the Past Kill

INDIA: A WOUNDED CIVILIZATION

by V.S. NAIPAUL

191 pages. Knopf. $7.95.

"It was a journey that ought not to have been made. It had broken my life in two." So wrote V.S. Naipaul, the West Indian novelist (Guerrillas, A House for Mr. Biswas) of East Indian heritage, after his first visit to India in 1962. And so it seemed. He visited the ravaged village in Uttar Pradesh from which his grandfather had migrated to Trinidad as an indentured servant more than 60 years before, and fled in horror. He raged and fussed about the Indian bureaucracy. He was appalled by the emaciated bodies...

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