It’s war. Even if only in words. First, this year’s Jnanpith Award winner Bhalchandra Nemade was quoted by The Times of India as having dissed the works of Salman Rushdie and VS Naipaul, accusing them of pandering to the West.

Never one to take such accusations lying down, Rushdie shot back promptly through Twitter:

Nemade was speaking during a programme in Mumbai a day after he had been declared the winner of the Rs 11-lakh prize for his Marathi novel Hindu: Jagnyachi Samrudhha Adgal, the first volume of a four-part magnum opus. Lashing out at the use of English as the medium of primary and secondary instruction, he argued in favour of using the mother tongue instead, proposing that English be eliminated from school curricula at once.

Contending that not a single epic has been written in English, while the Mahabharata alone could claim to include 10, Nemade seized the opportunity to launch a frontal attack on Rushdie and Naipaul, stating that Rushdie had written nothing worthwhile since Midnight’s Children.

This prompted Rushdie to question whether Namade had even read any of his subsequent works before attacking them. Though no Indian writer in English has ever won the Jnanpith, it is unlikely that Rushdie resents Namade’s getting the prize. But his tone in his tweet was far from congratulatory. Several of the responses to Rushdie’s tweet were hostile, although it had been favourited and retweeted nearly 400 times in the first 24 hours.