Opinion – Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy is coming up with her new book ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness‘ and we are all excited. Her mention stirs a vortex of controversy. She continues to promote her book/ prove her point. Here are my two cents. 

She is a woman of opinion, for sure. She likes the anti-government rhetoric. She supports the side that has been handed the shitty end of the stick. It can be two things – she genuinely sees Kashmir as a simple problem where one side is the oppressor and the other is oppressed. She discounts the mass exodus of Kashmiri Hindus and probably sees the merit in the slogans of Kashmiriyat. Or it can be that she sees the two sides and chooses the side that fits her ego. A woman with a grand ego. If she takes on the whole world (including the Bhakts and RSS), it is just one wild trip.

The Pakistani machinery and the extremist Islamic indoctrination are just inconvenient truths she chooses to ignore so that her narrative matches that of a lone warrior. This is not to demonize her. It is a very human thing to do. But like a bad cold, it should have passed. Well, it didn’t. And there is a simple explanation (since she likes simple black and white explanations) for it. Her first novel won the Booker. It was a thundering applause to her opinion. It was a character that she wrote. No, not the fraternal twins and the affair between them. That part was unnecessarily hyped. I am talking about Velutha. Think about it – a lower caste, extremist, maoist who is gentle by heart and is punished for having an affair with an upper caste. She spoke sympathetically about Velutha – the Paravan.

In all her discourses, her heroes are always the Paravans, the untouchables – the voices that have been shut down. Because she gets it. It is those stories that run her kitchen and fuel her ego. She might be an intelligent, left-funded, war-mongering businesswoman but, I that to me, would be a bit of a stretch. She is close though. She is running the empathy business and kicking ass.

You know a blogpost like this would make her smile. Her whole life, just like Arnab Goswami’s, is a Facebook rant against strangers. She backs up her data. She talks about the injustices and court cases and the wrongs done by the Indian army but she forgets the grander canvas. She forgets the stone pelting, and the cold-blooded murders and the shutdown of schools.

It is not that one should not let her speak. The answer is in debate. Just like you need to understand a disease before you treat it, you have to read her book and identify the weak points. Let her book sell like hot cakes. Let her book be read and understood. Do not burn the book and claim victory. Do not demand her to be tied to the army jeeps. That is what she likes. She is a rebel at heart and her heart weeps for the oppressed. It is a large heart with one side definitely larger than the other.

In her heart, India before partition, wasn’t a culture of brotherhood. The part that is not with us anymore – Pakistan had no cultural exchange. Lahore wasn’t in our story books. Delhi is still not reeling from the effects of mass exodus. Shops in North India still don’t carry labels of Lahore and Karachi. Pakistan doesn’t have faint memories of Delhi. In between all this, there was never a Kashmir. A valley that gave India its first Prime Minister – it all never existed. In her lopsided heart, we have a place stuck between two major political forces. A place that wants to be the Switzerland of the east without cooperation from its neighbours. She would support it if twenty poor people took up arms against the Indian state just as she supports the lakhs in the valley. It is not the numbers, it is the fight. She wants to join your fight for her ego.arundhatistory_647_100316054702

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4 comments

  1. A balanced perspective is what she lacks, and also some intellectual honesty? It is hard to believe that a learned and aware parson like her would not be aware of the retrograde and undemocratic acts and philosophies of non state actors. Perhaps such selective outrage is needed for a Booker nomination.

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  2. It’s their bread and butter to talk against the hindutva,RSS and take publicity. That’s very normal, you support Hindutva and RSS and so do I, but are we famous, No, But one fine day, post a video about something which defames Hindu culture or any organisation related to promoting Hindu culture, boy you would be famous in one single night.
    I think they have taken “Swim against the flow” thing seriously.
    Arundhati or any other disturbed minds can only talk nonsense about India,its culture,army and integrity. They don’t have guts to talk about any other country or religion, first coz they won’t get much publicity second, for this thing also, Hinduism would not support them and that’s the best thing about us which they won’t understand. You defame our religion, we will condem it, defame others, we still will condem it, but the coin is not same on the other side, and that’s because I can see people getting into unnecessary slang spat over social media.

    Moreover if these people are so much concerned about development of the backward classes, what are they doing sitting in US or UK, why don’t they go and live amongst them, is it that they will not get luxurious facilities which they need to spit the venom out.

    I don’t support this lady or any other who spits venom for their bread and butter and for me purchasing her book is like supporting her cause of harming national integrity, yes I do agree about not trashing or burning it as it’s only going to bring in publicity, who knows the ones burning the books are also paid by her to get into the news.

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    • For now, I reserve my judgment. There definitely seems to be a problem with her view. I will buy and read the book so that my criticism can be sharper. It is better to know what you’re up against. Sticking to any party ideology at this moment doesn’t seem prudent. It is all very murky.

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