Jeet Thayil's abusive 'rant' gets standing ovation from crowds at Jaipur Literature Festival

Booker-nominated author Jeet Thayil, who was caught up in a controversy for reading out portions of Salman Rushdie's banned book during last year's Jaipur Literature Festival, today said there are people in every gathering who are quick to take offence.

"It seems (that especially here) there is a contingent of people at every gathering looking at a sentence or a gesture to get offended. It is cheapening of the idea of rebellion," said Thayil addressing a session titled "A rebel state", at the the Lit Fest here.

In the spirit of the theme of the session, when invited to read out from his debut book "Nacropolis", the Delhi-based poet and author chose to read out a section filled with a very common Hindi swear word.

Issuing a disclaimer before he began to read, Thayil said, "My apologies to anyone who might feel offended. But this is being said by a character in my book."

"It contains a word that is very commonly heard in Mumbai but is not very often employed in English literature," he said.

As the audience applauded at the end of his reading, Thayil expressed his gratitude to the small gathering at the first session of the last day of the five-day festival.

"Thanks for being a sport," he said.

Thayil was in conversation with Marathi writer Bhalchandra Nemade who extended his support to the author, and said "there is ample scope for rebels like Jeet to exist".

The discussion that centred around rebellion in literature.

Nemade also argued that every rebellion is necessary in some way. "Every rebellion has a constructive value," he said.

Thayil also pointed out the idea of rebellion changes over time.

"The writers or poets who were once considered rebels are now thought of as part of the cannon. So rebellion is a topical shifting idea," he added.

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