Grey Man's Burden


  • Irwin Allan Sealy


In 1976 the author encountered Freedom at Midnight, a crucial text for modern Indian writers; other influences on him were Tristram Shandy and The Tin Drum, but the turning point came with his reading of the Baburnama. His discovery of the nama form enabled the organization of his material and shaped his book. A decade of waiting taught him patience and the crucial lesson of orientation. Indian writing in the West-- its essential Orientalism--taught him to close his eyes to a foreign audience. His Anglo- Indianness was the motor of a writing visceral in its inspiration; genetic misfits do not need to outsource their hybridity. The Trotter-Nama has survived a pot-belly burning by its author and strategic back-burnering by its UK publishers. Its recognition at home despite neglect in the West was part of the making of an independent literary culture. That project continues.