Oct 282010
 

How many people in India have the ability to bring people from various parts of the political spectrum together ?
One and only one, Arundathi Roy.

After putting me off the Narmada Bachao Andolan, feeling sorry for tribal development or lack of it, in Naxal infested areas – she has made me question my doubts about the role of the State in a modern world. If she supports any view that are even 3 light years close to mine – then I must be wrong :)

But, it is not just me that she has impacted. People from all ends of the political spectrum are coming together on common ground…

Sanjay Jha – writes in Hamara Congress. Obviously the name of the blog tells you his political affiliation:

Before condemning the Indian state and government ( always our perpetual soft targets ) for its “ brutal ways” and mocking India’s freedom and democracy in a public platform , Ms Roy needs to do some serious introspection on her much-postured predilections on Kashmir’s Azaadi . A lesson in history might help, including contemporary politics Or may be it is time to take a long sabbatical in Kerala’s backwaters perhaps, and write a book titled The Goddess of Nothing !

Kanchan Gupta – the acerbic right wing commentator – writes

Nor is this the first time that Arundhati Roy has questioned the quality of democracy in India; she has done so repeatedly. Invited for a book-reading session at New York’s Town Hall, she had stunned the gathering by suddenly launching a vitriolic attack on democracy in India. “The biggest PR myth of all times is that India is a democracy. In reality, it is not… There is no real democracy in India. Several States in India are on the verge of civil war… In Iraq, there are 1,50,000 military personnel, whereas in Kashmir Valley there are some 7,00,000,” she had said. Not surprisingly, she got a standing ovation. Who is to tell the Americans who applauded her that had India not been a democracy she would have been frog-marched to Tihar Jail immediately upon arriving at Indira Gandhi International Airport on her return?

Srinivas Ramani - of EPW, considered left wing – has this to say on FB

Arundhati Roy.. People either go gaga about her or Gag-Gag. I am mostly “ugh-ugh” and move on. …Arundhati Roy now seems to have taken her carpetbagging a step further from Medha Patkar/ML-Lib to the Maoists and Islamic Fundamentalism. One wonders, what next.

Manish Tiwari – Congress loudmouthspokesperson, who suffers from acute footinthemouthitis, had this to say :

“I do not understand why exaggerated importance is given to her who is not in the political mainstream. It is erroneous and uncalled for. Is she an MP? Is she a political leader. She is an author,”

if you do a search on twitter for arundathi roy – you will again find people from all sides of the spectrum uniting on how much of a self publicist she is

@Mirzairfan76 says

arundathi roy is a chameleon.I have no problem with your anger,your voice s against injustice and oppressive military prsce ..an angry kashmiri is not a seditionist,but arundathi roy speaks the language of the enemies of india on fragmentation.

@freaks007 says

Seems she has stayed out of limelight for quite some time and is intent on changing that! The nation doesn’t need your pity!

@GreigAbraham

Heard Arundathi Roy is forfeiting her passport and moving to Afghanistan. Moving to a greener pastures to fight for rights.

The Reuter’s blog has the best take on this issue

Indeed, after winning the 1997 Booker Prize for The God of Small Things, Roy has become a serial controversy-inciter. Whether it’s stirring the ire of India’s nationalist right with an over-zealous defence of the insurgent left, or standing shoulder-to-shoulder with displaced residents in criticism of the industrialist central government, stirring debate is her current raison d’être.

India appears to have treated her remarks as such.

I haven’t included the BJP’s official comments on this because they seem to be hell belt on making a self publicist into a martyr – thereby, perpetuating the myth of her importance and relevance. and, another view which is quite relevant in this context :

@psyco_baba

BJP wants the gov to take action against Arundathi Roy for being a separatist. i wonder what they were thinking when they demolshd /t masjid

When discussing Indians and our opinions I am often reminded of an old Jewish Joke -where there are two Jews there are three points of view :) Indians are pretty much like that … and to get most people to agree, on a more or less similar view, takes an act of genius :)

So, the National Integration Award for 2010 – goes to Arundathi Roy :)

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(seriously, stop paying that woman attention – have you noticed that she only visits an area or a cause when it is hotting up. Medha Patkar did the hard work,  Arundathi Roy piggy backed on Narmada Bachao; The Naxal movement has been on for the last 20 years; it is after the media discovered ‘backward’ areas that Arundathi Roy discovered the same; Kashmir has been simmering from when I was in school – yet it is after the current bout of highly publicized outbursts of violence that Ms.Roy has discovered Kashmir.

If tomorrow morning, the media goes mad about Irom Sharmilla – Ms.Roy will find a new cause to piggy back on … she is a media groupie and the media in turn is her groupie…. kind of a vicious cycle, isn’t it?

  21 Responses to “Why Arundathi Roy deserves the National Integration Award”

  1. Me likes this post..loved Manish Tiwari’s intro.. :)

  2. Heh heh!!! Yes, you are right. She deserves the national integration award which should also include free one-way air ticket to any destination she wants to travel.

    Your last two paragraphs nailed it. She is never there where there is little or no attention, and suddenly takes centerstage when the situation has flared up enough to be on everyone’s attention.

    I also suspect that the media has vested interest too. They need ‘issues of national importance’ to keep their stoves burning. Wouldn’t be too surprised if Arundhati’s remarks were planned with some media houses.

    However, the most likely case is what Madhu Kiswar said the other day on Times Now’s News Hour programme. Making anti-India/anti-establishment statements for such causes is a sure shot way to earn big dollars for lecture sessions in Western universities and conventions given the fact that she is a Booker winner, no less.

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by calamur, calamur, Tarun Pant, Jayanta Bhattacharya, Vishu Puri and others. Vishu Puri said: well said.. :) RT: @calamur: Why Arundathi Roy deserves the National Integration Award http://ff.im/-sMyG2 [...]

  4. A National Integration award for asking national disintegration!

    • she is irrelevant … her asking for nation to disintegrate is not going to make the Nation disintegrate …. more powerful and more useful people than her have tried !!!

  5. [...] {corner: {target: 'rightMiddle',tooltip: 'leftMiddle'}},show: { effect: 'slide' }});}); 2 83Why Arundathi Roy deserves the National Integration… calamur.org/gargi – a woman who manages to get different sides of the politcal divide together — [...]

  6. Wonderful take….totally different…i wish to horsewhip that lady..but simple insults from common man that she got will do…afterall she is good for nothing….

    Moreover she reminds me of a character from Any Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”…an old prof..who after turning the entire world into place of his dreams (Read People’s State) he began to stay in America preaching the goodness of people’s state….lame..he died in the tunnel…an outcome of his follies

  7. Gargi madam, How many of us question state policy on kashmir ? I don’t have political understanding and depth of the kashmir but why do we have to hide our shortcomings under shades of patriotism ? When we talk about patriotism, we talk aboutland of Kashmir not about its people.

    Yes, Kashmir is disputed territory. And no solution can be attained without considering the opinion of Kashmiri people. A problem initiated in 1947 and till now is solved only due to rigid appraoch of both India and Pakistan.

    Remove AFSPA and artcile 370 from Kashmir, they are tools of torture in the hand of state. An individual is shaking the nation with her voice against popular opinion on a complex problem and the whole country become enraged by it. She is only talking what a majority of Kashmir feel about India.

    We are asking her to shut up that is even more sad. Whenever we think we are stopping someone from hurting our sentiments by curtailing their freedom of expression (right or wrong), we also empower someone (e.g. the government, extremists, or even religious leaders) to shut our own mouths.

    She is an individual speaking her mind but without concerning about popular sentiments. It takes guts to stand on the issues. It may be on Narmada Bachao or Irom Sharmilla or Kashmir. If you want confirmation in your opinions with crores spending on the problem, then hear the speech of a politician.

    The problem is that the rebels are very few, and the retarded masses are so many that unless every individual is a rebel, an authorative state is bound to rule our thinking.

    • I have opposed the AFSPA for quite sometime am working on a lengthy post (very lengthy)
      my problem is not with dissent or even questioning the idea of India -
      My issue is not even with people who take up cudgels with people who take on the state – i have the greatest admiration for people who do – like Mahashweta Devi or Anna Hazare or Medha Patkar or Vandana Shiva or Irom Sharmilla ….

      I have no issues, what so ever, about people discussing the state of Kashmir or any other state . In a republic one has the right to do so …

      But Ms.Roy is a different kettle of fish. She is a viscous little publicity seeker – who moves from popular cause to popular cause – and then drops that cause when her need for publicity is sated. Have you heard her talk passionately about the rights of displaced people near the Narmada, in recent years …

    • Arguments against the AFSPA is dumb. I will tell you why.

      Q. Why do you need the Army — an organization trained, armed and groomed to fight external enemies and defend the country from foreign military forces — to counter internal violence and insurgency like in Kashmir and parts of Northeast?

      A. Because the situation has security agencies like state police, central paramilitary forces have failed to counter the problem, the situation has turned extraordinary and hence ‘special’.

      Now, in order to tackle a special situation, you will have to give the Army special powers. Else, it will fail in it’s objective just like the state police and paramilitary forces!

      Also, we must remember that sweeping powers and protection like under the AFSPA are not given to state police and paramilitary forces. Only Central paramilitary forces like BSF, CRPF, Assam Rifles and Rashtriya Rifles.

      Also, we must understand that countering insurgency is not exactly like maintaining the law and order or a disturbed neighbourhood. There have been abuses of the AFSPA and there would be in future. However, if we look into the human rights abuses by the forces covered by AFSPA, you would find that almost 97 percent of them were false cases. The Army has taken stringent action against offenders.

      The Indian Army’s record is unmatched in the world when it comes to upholding human rights and holding back fire. Contrast this with Pakistan’s way of dealing with the insurgency in Swat Valley or US in Iraq and Afghanistan and you would know what I am trying to say.

      The internal appeasement politics of India is such, the Army has to fight insurgency with one hand tied at its back. Withdrawal of the AFSPA will be like binding both the hands.

      Lastly, not a single civilian was killed by the Army during the recent violence in Kashmir. Almost all of those stone pelters and arsonists killed were hit by J&K Police bullets and a couple by BSF when attacked. The J&K Police is not covered by the AFSPA.

      I was in Assam during the worst period of its insurgency between 1990-93 when President’s rule was imposed. It was almost dramatic after the Dibrugarh SP Daulat Singh Negi was killed. I remember as a young boy, we passed the bullet-riddled car near a small town called Lahowal.

      I know, the Army, which was then called in (for Operation Bajrang), were at their abusive best at the checkpoints they set up on the NH 37. They would not hesitate to use the filthiest words and pass lewd remarks to females. Once, I have seen a frustrated soldier gave a baton whack for a young villager for being barefoot after deboarding bus passengers on the highway for checking. This was unacceptable. But, this wasn’t abuse of AFSPA, it was lack of discipline. The orders must be from top officials to the foot soldier down there not to insult, antagonize or alienate the locals.

  8. [...] 3 light years close to mine – then I must be wrong But, it is not just me that she has impacted. full story tweetmeme_source = 'liquida'; tweetmeme_style = 'compact'; [...]

  9. nice post ! Arundhati Roy is among the persons those can’t be suppressed without the proper counter logic .
    I read all her posts during Iraq war , sometimes i felt it should not be but her logic were so strong that you will have to open your mind and think the matter that way . it’s good to listen to her on Kashmir issue as we can’t solve it without knowing it.
    I too have posted somewhat similar issue ‘Internationalism’ (http://kaebh.blogspot.com/2010/10/internationalism-lost-angle-vol1.html )

    • hi anupam
      welcome to this blog..
      i really dont think that one should look at supressing her at all…the more she talks, the more she will be discredited…
      her arguments are strong – I am not sure about her logic :)
      she is, as always, an entertaining read !

  10. brilliant analysis!!