Good characters

Even Rushdie is reading the RushdieExplainsIndia parody account

It's an attempt to deflate the 'pomposity and ponderousness that pervades Indian public life', says the anonymous professor behind the handle.

On the weekend, as millions were cheering the news of the Bharatiya Janata Party's sweep to power, a smaller group of Twitter users were beginning to discover the joys of @RushdieExplains, a thread of droll observations about the new political and cultural landscape.

Over the week, they piled up quickly and hilariously.

The thread is an attempt to affect "a kind of unselfconscious let-them-eat-cake privileged Rushdie tone" to "satirise the pomposity and ponderousness that pervades Indian public life", said the man who dreamt up the meme. He requested that his identity not be revealed, but said that over the years, his detractors had variously described him as a  "lazy, tenured, radical, pseudosecular, Macaulayite, CIA agent professor".

He isn't going to run short of material anytime soon. "Look at our celebrities, politicians, mediapersons, and intellectuals: they take themselves so seriously on every little thing," he said in an email message. "The reactions to the recent elections are a case in point. The cultural Right is triumphalist, heralding the advent of a golden Hindu age in purple prose. The Left will have you believe that it is the coming of Hitler, the Antichrist, and the World Historical Spirit of global capitalism all rolled into one – sentiments that are expressed in ominous, melancholic tones."

Part of the thrill for his hyper-literate (and privileged) followers undoubtedly comes from their ability to recognise the characters in his occasional in-jokes, and to understand his cultural references.

Like this one about a spat between two Indian feminist publishers.

And this one about academician Gayatri Spivak's landmark essay, Can the Subaltern Speak?

Or his dig at her friend Homi Bhabha's dense prose.

Among the account's fans is Shashi Tharoor, who retweeted this mention of himself to his 2.18 million followers.

However, some of them evidently didn't understand it, because Tharoor soon issued this clarification.

It's clear that even Sir Salman himself is reading the handle, because he recently sent it this recommendation.

Here's what the persona behind that account, a mash-up of US socialite Kim Kardashian and Danish philosopher Søren Aabye Kierkegaard, replied.

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