Arundhati Roy: The God of Wrong Things?

Posted on July 4, 2010 in Society

Kunal Anand:

A few months ago, Booker prize winner Arundhati Roy came up with a 20,000 words essay in leading newspapers and magazines of India and Pakistan. The essay generously praised the Maoists for taking up the cause of poor tribals and protecting them from the “Satanic” system called the Indian Democracy. She explained with great graphical details how the tribals, who have been exploited by the Indian state for decades, have found their Robin Hood in the Naxals and how in the Naxal-controlled areas the police move in plain clothes while the Naxals roam in uniforms! The article created a lot of public interest and our Home Minister was hardly pleased. Desperate Maoists got their much needed positive publicity and suddenly Indian government and security forces began to remind us of the Nazis. Tales of agony flowing from the pen of a Booker awardee were hard not to believe and a lot many people started cursing the government for not developing the tribal areas.

So far so good. The Maoists proposed to make Roy a mediator between them and the government. Arundhati Roy backed off. Reason: She thinks she isn’t “fit” for the job. Amazingly, she found herself fit to run down the entire democratic setup of a country which gives her the right to speak her mind! Then came the Dantewada massacre in which 76 CRPF personnel were killed. Roy remained silent. Maybe she silently celebrated the butchering of the “Demons”. This was followed by the Gyaneshwari Express derailment in which common civilians were killed. Roy, the messiah of the poor and weak was expected to speak up now. After all, hasn’t she given her voice to civilians who suffered during Gujarat riots? Roy did speak this time.” I support the Maoists’ fight against the state, but I don’t support their method.”

The recent killings of 27 CRPF jawans and other incidents of civilian causalities has failed to garner any response from the diehard activist. Naxal violence has claimed more civilian lives this year alone than what was lost during the last 5 years in terrorist attacks in Kashmir. Our jawans are routinely butchered by these fanatics. But maybe they are not humans for Ms Roy. For that matter, anyone who is not in the business of bringing down the Indian State (e.g.: Sabarmati Express carnage victims, Sikh victims of 1984 riots, Kashmiri pandits) is not worthy of mention in the itinerary of Roy’s literary sojourn. She keeps mum at the atrocities meted out to our brave, innocent soldiers who are just doing their job but rips through them if they kill the “innocent” Naxalite. Down with the Human Rights violating Zionist Indian forces! Even the heart wrenching footages of mangled bodies of babies being pulled out of Gyaneshwari Express did not move our great writer. “Revolution” demands blood and it doesn’t matter to Ms Roy unless the blood is of the “revolutionary”.

Arundhati Roy represents a large group of Pseudo intellectuals who derive aesthetic pleasure in criticizing the system which is liberal enough to allow any kind of discussion. It’s time people come out against such “intellectuals” who use the journalistic freedom given by our constitution to defile the constitution itself. If Arundhati Roy finds herself incompetent to broker peace between the warring forces (I completely agree with your personal assessment Ms Roy), the least she can do is stop hurting the feelings of the families who have lost their kin in this bloody violence by glorifying the Maoists.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.