In a particularly telling paragraph, he writes
The other odd absence from the English-language literary scene in India has been the startling lack of any biography, narrative history or indeed any serious literary non-fiction of any description. Earlier this year, Suketu Mehta published what is without doubt the best travel book published by an Indian author in recent years: Maximum City, his remarkable study of Bombay. But Mehta's achievement only highlights the absence of any real competition, for with the notable exceptions of Naipaul and Pankaj Mishra, and one book each by Seth and Ghosh, there are no other Indian travel writers.
The situation with history is even more dire. Although brilliant young Indian historians such as Sanjay Subramaniam produce many excellent specialist essays and learned academic studies, it is still impossible, for example, to go into a bookshop in Delhi and buy an up-to-date and accessible biography of any of India's pre-colonial rulers, even of the most obvious ones such as Akbar or Shah Jehan, the builder of the Taj Mahal. Why is it that much the most popular biography of Mrs Gandhi was by Katherine Frank, an American living in England, and the most authoritative study of Hindu nationalism by a Frenchman, Christophe Jaffrelot? Why are there no Indian authors writing this sort of thing better than us firangi interlopers?
How true. The number of serious works of non-fiction in English written by Indian Authors and easily accessible to mass readers is negligible. To take a particularly brash view, I wonder if the common accusation that Indians tend to stay at the surface level of things has anything to do with this shying away from works that require far more research than imagination.