India's ruling party, the BJP, reveres Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul and his writings on India's growing self-confidence, in part because the esteemed author appears to sanction the party's Hindu-nationalistic agenda. So it must have stung last week when Naipaul expressed "profound disappointment" with the government's crackdown on news website Tehelka. The muckraking site made a splash nearly two years ago with a sting operation that exposed Defense Ministry officials accepting bribes. After promising to investigate the matter, a government commission has done little since but investigate Tehelka and freeze the assets of its financier, nearly squeezing the business out of existence. Meanwhile, the bureaucrats caught on videotape kept their jobs. "Having begun as an error, it was allowed to fester," Naipaul said of the official harassment, calling it "autocratic." Naipaul is hardly an impartial observer. He sits on Tehelka's board. Still, he argues that such an action against the press is "damaging not only to the government (but) to the country." The BJP had no official response, but Naipaul said he voiced his concern to Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani. "He said he would look into it."