Friday, May 26, 2006

Arundhati Roy and Her India...!

Since I finished reading Arundhati Roy’s booker price winning novel “God of Small Things,” her image as a writer had been stuck in my mind for years now. I have not seen that novel as a traditional novel in the first place, it is more than that. In it, I believe she tried to send so many societal issues, for that, she simply used the characters there on to carry. Anyway, I can not deny that novel had left me with an inspiration up to the point of sharing with so many others.

The then I forgot about her almost for a couple years as to what was going on with her, except the awareness of her being an activist in India. Beside that one more way I used to keep track of her thought arena is by visiting http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/, where she writes mostly about the international politics and the related issues.

The reason today I wanted to write about her in my page was, recently I happened to read her speech in New York on the occasion of one of her book reading functions.

There she went on proclaiming her concern over India like this, “ She said she was confused, as India was passing through a terrible time. Amidst frequent clapping, she blasted the Indian government and the Bush administration. There is no real democracy in India. Several states in India are on the verge of civil war.’’

There upon a good number of readers have also expressed their opinion of her, mostly, they said, for Arundhati Roy India is not democratic enough, so, we should send her away where democracy is thriving in countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran etc., Where she can express her views as freely as though she is doing it in India.

All said and heard from the both end. Now, I want to place what I think of her and how I felt as I was going through her current speech and the other issues that she is standing to defend.

As a disclaimer I do want to say one more thing here, just because I like her writing and concerns, it does not mean that I should necessarily buy into whatever she says. For instance, I blatantly disagree with her standing on the Kashmir and some other issues. So here I am on my own mind expressing my own view as to how I feel about her concerns.

First thing, why she bashes about Bush’s visit to India, she thinks, India is, without mind of its own just blindly following and taking the dictations of some money man’s opportunistic mentality . And in due course India is deliberately dragged into the world politics without its own knowledge. I think that is very true and a valid concern of a thinker.

Secondly, India is not democratic enough country so she says, I think why she should have placed such an anger evoking statement knowing that we are working hard to achieve it. We all know nothing is politically so correct ever, we do have a long way to go and achieve it. However, when she pointed out that, “Several states in India are on the verge of civil war,” that makes me to think perhaps she asks us to take a closer look at what is happening between Karnataka, Kerala versus Tamil Nadu with the water issue. What we have been witnessing there, the issue is taken at the individual level and handled even at the street side by fist fighting at times.

Let us assume in the worse case scenario, what happens if the neighboring state has empowered with money and the stuff, while the central government is powerless and no saying anything in whatever the state body’s decision? What happens if that state government with its own agenda, whatever it is, when it sees, it does not get to materialize and want to go separate as a nation by itself from India?

Well, at the individual level if we have that much hatred against its own people in sharing the natural resources, when the right time brew in, how sure are we that something like that would not happen?

On top of it, we everyday witnessing the occurrences of communal violence within its own population. Therefore, if the tension is boiling between states as if we are living in our own “separate state country” how a normal democracy machine can run smoothly with its partition mentality? What is wrong with pointing out those in a “positive antagonistic” way? So that, we all will have a chance to take a deep look at it.

In stead of looking at the bitter full truth that we face, we miss the point, yet, researching on to the source who pointed it out our own faults, and trying to exile the person from the country she loves. The same trend is common in America too, in the name of being patriotic. The unwritten policy is there, if you are patriotic enough, you are not supposed to find fault in your own country and say it out aloud. If that is the case here too, then we should really re-consider what kind of "collective opinion" we have on that notion of being patriotic and not finding faults.

I do not know how many of us read here the popular New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman’s latest book “The Flat World.” There he portrays the fabulous side of India, but leaving the other part by making in the process of capitalistic mammoth corporate world to get in there. Arundhati Roy and like minded people are lashing about his work too. For that, again she is branded with working against her own country.

Why is that always in the history when some one is siding with the impoverished people is branded with some undesirable names?

21 comments:

Sivabalan said...

// What is wrong with pointing out those in a “positive antagonistic” way //

Orani,

Thanks for another fine blog.

Your pen seems to be filled with red ink. (Arundhati Roy)

I will come back and give my views.

Thanks alot..

sam said...

I dont think that India is in such a bad shape as feared and portrayed by ms. roy. but at the same time we have to accept that we have to grow and go miles to be called as a 'great democracy of the world'.

Orani said...

Thank you Sivabalan!

Just I am trying to share some of my own thoughts associated with A. Roy's.

My pen is filled with red ink?! What make you to think that way? Just curious...

Orani.

Sivabalan said...

Orani,

Arundhati Roy is pro-communist. That is why I have mentioed as Red ink.

And also she opposed when Buah visited India.

Samudra said...

//Why is that always in the history when some one is siding with the impoverished people is branded with some undesirable names? //

Oh Orani

First off, she does not identify herself as an Indian.

She calls herself as a "Citizen of the World".(Should make her feel like an equivalent of Socrates!)

Why should we burden her with our "Indian Citizenship" ?

She can very well move to Iran....

I have no respect for a lady who chooses to rid herself off her Indian citizenship in Pakistan.

//What is wrong with pointing out those in a “positive antagonistic” way?//

The only problem is that i'm yet to see her pointing out stuff in a "positive antagonistic" way.

//First thing, why she bashes about Bush’s visit to India, she thinks, India is, without mind of its own just blindly following and taking the dictations of some money man’s opportunistic mentality.......//

I'm afraid you're wrong here.Nobody is taking dictations from anybody.

Only the leftists think so and they think so because they're instructed to think so by their bosses in Beijing.(Karat goes there every year)

And BTW George Bush is the elected leader of a great country.

Is expecting basic decency in criticising him too much to ask from a 'writer' and a 'thinker' ?


// And in due course India is deliberately dragged into the world politics without its own knowledge.//

How can a country keep itself away from being 'involved in world politics' ?

(The only way I can think of is destroying itself :) )

Samudra said...

//Why is that always in the history when some one is siding with the impoverished people is branded with some undesirable names?
//

Because, Orani, these people end up causing more harm to the impoverished people than everybody else.

They have their biases but make noises as if they were purer than the snow of Mt.Etna!

Samudra said...

//And also she opposed when Buah visited India. //

Yeah, because America occupies Iraq and Afghanistan.

Never mind the fact that both the countries have a elected government in place.

And please forget about the tyrants who ruled these countries previously and dont ask why these 'activists' were never heard criticising them.

Dont ask why people dont protest and oppose the visit of Chinese Preimer...the head of a state which occupies two Indian provinces.

Only a few thousand soldiers were killed in the war we fought with them. :)

Hey, We're holier than thou! :)

Orani said...

sam,

//I dont think that India is in such a bad shape as feared and portrayed by ms. roy.//

I dont think that way either, or even hope for one. Just stimulating our dead brain cells ;-) to bring in some more vision into it.

However, as you said, we have a long way to go to have a perfect "for people, by people" government in place. Thanks for your comments.

Orani.

Orani said...

Hi Samudra,

I like your viewpoints and thanking you for taking your time to write in such a way.

I am going to clarify my doubts with you one at a time with your quote and mine. Nothing to be taken - offensive or as serious refutes.

Remember we are sharing and understanding an issue in a different dimensional plane. It is always good to share human thoughts...

So here goes my first reply for your feedback...

//She calls herself as a "Citizen of the World".(Should make her feel like an equivalent of Socrates!)//

All the evolved human souls are loving to call themselves they belong to this universe. They dont like to be identified with any particular geographical locations.

//I have no respect for a lady who chooses to rid herself off her Indian citizenship in Pakistan.//

Oh really, I did not know that! in other words people with stuff in their head at times will behave like lunats, I guess ;-)

//And BTW George Bush is the elected leader of a great country.//

stolen power from Al Gore, samudra!

//How can a country keep itself away from being 'involved in world politics' ?//

However we were in our past history, not invading or sneaking in voluntarily onto others problem. It does not mean that, we should not readily be there to defend ourselves when we are poked or humiliated...

Sivabalan said...

Orani,

I do agree with you on certain aspects on Arundhati Roy.

But, I am still unclear why she had opposed "Bush visit to India".

She has been recognized as good Indian writer. And she has high moral duty as writer.

But she came to street and fight against "Bush Visit".

I am not telling, " She should not come out and fight".

But "Bush Visit" certainly not the place for her protest.

I still wonder “ how did she do that?”.

I am not against Arundhati Roy. I admire her.

Orani said...

Siva,

//But, I am still unclear why she had opposed "Bush visit to India".//

1) Why, she might have thought that Bush has not deserved the visit to India at this juncture, since, he did not justify the war which he waged against Iraq.

2) When the Tsunami hit India, he was illfully prepared to announce the appropriate aid to India and the like. Is it not something to do with relgion? it is not only Bush's administration, it is always the case with all others too. If you turn the pages of Indian calamities and the Western World aid history. You will sure find somthing fishy there!

3) Plus, wherever Bush goes the problem follows him like a shadow to that country. Think of the Iran Oil Pipeline treaty and finally what happened to that. That is a strategical dice move on the board of the world's political stage.

4) India has been doing just fine with its multi-diversity and religious groups on its own, right now the move with Bush might breed more arm race in the region. So tense will build up, in the volatile region of south Asia.

So, overall, I believe it is a complex issue, we need to look and study more into the world politics and its intricacies.

we are in a juncture with the western mind to take a path which wil ultimately lead us into a new direction and destiny. The path is set already.

We need people like Roy, you see wherever Bush goes, he gathers very good amount of "haters" on the enroute, that shows (even in his own country), the country itself is not buying whatever he dictates. Thereby, the people who suffers in the oversea see there are good people among them too.

A chance to balance the suffering and pain of our fellow human beings.

Imagine what happens if the whole India celebrate the visit of Bush, won't it send the wrong message to the other sufferers.

Samudra said...

Hi Orani.

I was away for the last days and hence the delay...

Anyways...


//All the evolved human souls are loving to call themselves they belong to this universe//

I'm afraid all evolved souls have been civilised with their criticisms.

When was A.Roy civil in her criticism of Bush?


//stolen power from Al Gore, samudra! //

Oh come on Orani, we make deals with mass murdering Maoists of China, with a military dictator in Pakistan...

But our 'moral high' stands wont let us make deals with Bush who used democratic means to come to power?

Bush is the President.There is no way you get to change it.Its only sensible that we deal with him rather than make statements like that.

Rhetoric does not produce results.

//However we were in our past history, not invading or sneaking in voluntarily onto others problem.//

I must really congratulate your history teacher for lying through his/her nose so wonderfully! :)

Show me a time when we did not invade or sneak!

From the times of Mahapadma Nanda to the Imperial Cholas invasion and interfering with others affairs was a part of the norm.

Again, whats with this "holier than thou" attitude Orani?

Why are Indians different from others? We invaded,raped and pillaged just like others....

Nehru made a toilet paper out of his panchsheel after Tibet fiasco.

Samudra said...

//When the Tsunami hit India//

Orani, India had announced that it wont accept any international aid the very next day after Tsunami.So what are you complaining about bro?

It was the American helicopters that brought food and relief to Kashmiri Moslem earthquake victims.It was the American helicopters that saved so many lives in Aceh!

//Plus, wherever Bush goes the problem follows him like a shadow to that country//

Dont generalise Orani.Its not correct to do it.

// Think of the Iran Oil Pipeline treaty//

Seriously, do you want our energy security to be taken hostage by Pakistan?

Why wont Pakistan let us build the pipe under ocean? Why does it insist on building it over land?

Think about Balochistan and Gwadar before arriving about opinion on the harms of American intervention.

I'm afraid you're not looking at the bigger picture.

Samudra said...

//Bush might breed more arm race in the region. //

How very callous of you to ignore the transfer of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile to Pakistan!
Guess who sold them? China.

And you blame Bush, Orani?

//Imagine what happens if the whole India celebrate the visit of Bush, won't it send the wrong message to the other sufferers. //

Orani, the Iraqis suffered under Saddam.

The Afghans suffered under the Taliban.

We must only congratulate Bush for having liberated these people.

I know you'll say that it was the Americans who supported these two evils in the first place.

Think again.
Americans supported Saddam to fight a bigger evil - Iran and its theocracy.

It was not the Americans who raised the Taliban - it was Pakistans ISI.

You might want to read about the Konduz airlift to know about the links between ISI and Taliban.

Orani said...

Wow Samudra,

It seems like you are really after global politics and a firy one too. Bravo bro! :-)

Whenever I get a chance I will place my view on yours, at time being, I admire your replies, for that much detail you have given to explain. I am happy in either way. More later. Please Keep visiting and share your knowledge.

Orani.

sam said...

enjoyed the arguments between you and samdura. only comment that i can make is on one of the comments of samudara:".....please forget about the tyrants who ruled these countries previously and dont ask why these 'activists' were never heard criticising them..."
like individuals no country could be a "perfect" one; but still the world-level criticism over Bush's unwanted war on Iraq on the pretext of MDWs cannot be justifies just because other countries have also done mistakes in the past. Bush and cronies have to be condemned.as an activist ms. roy has done a right thing opposing his visit to India.

delphine said...

Dear Orani Thank you . though you liked her books you don't buy her views right! I am always happy I am in India. Each country has its owm ups and downs. good writing

Orani said...

Sanudra,

//I must really congratulate your history teacher for lying through his/her nose so wonderfully! :) //

What i have learnt at school, did not even help me to get out of my village. It is out of that norm when I started looking around for the truth without wearing any glasses (red, green, yellow etc.,)

Thereby, my real history teachers are everyday happenings around me, even which I have learnt to look without coloring anything.

//Show me a time when we did not invade or sneak!

From the times of Mahapadma Nanda to the Imperial Cholas invasion and interfering with others affairs was a part of the norm.

Again, whats with this "holier than thou" attitude Orani?

Why are Indians different from others? We invaded,raped and pillaged just like others....//

Invasion happened within ones own indigenous population to carry on some traits and uniting small kingdoms to strengthen the boundary.

Although, it is not the same kind (of invasion) the one you are talking about. Even show me a time when India invaded any foreign nations, be it in Ancient History or Modern times...

//Nehru made a toilet paper out of his panchsheel after Tibet fiasco.//

Again that was an individual choice expressing ones displeasure against a thing. Nehru was not India, and India was not Nehru. So one individual behavior can not express an entire nation's state of mind.

What do you think about that, Samudra? Please, take off your excessive clingyness in one stand and regidity, so that we can dwell through different idealogy and experience the truth.

Samudra said...

// Even show me a time when India invaded any foreign nations, be it in Ancient History or Modern times...//

Orani, its too easy to find examples.

The Cholas kept invading Lanka.A Muslim Emperor of Delhi tried to "invade" China.

Rajendra Chola invaded Kedah.

Chandra Gupta Maurya extended his kingdom upto Afghanistan and beyond after defeating Selecius Nicator.

Why? The great Samudra(eh the ORIGINAL one!) Gupta himself was a great conqueror and the main aim of his conquest was to extract much war booty(and perhaps beautifull wimmen!)

Why? India invaded East Pakistan in 1971! We said we were trying to liberate them.And thats exactly what Bush is saying about Iraq! :)

Remember, there were so many
invasions "pouring" into India.
(Kushans, Sakas, Afghans, Greeks...)

India was never politically united and as a result we could never muster enough forces to oppose the trend and get out of sub-continent.

We were busy getting slaughtered and with what little was left of us we fought amongst ourselves!

When big empires established themselves they always seek to expand and invade.

Cholas during Rajendra Chola's period is good example.

Do you think they followed any moral code when they invaded?

None! They killed and consumed everything that they could catch hold off.Asoka Maurya's invasion of Kalinga was equally brutal.

The Maurya's maintained an impressive army what almost equals our army in the number of active service personnel!

Samudra said...

//So one individual behavior can not express an entire nation's state of mind.//

I'm merely pointing out as to how attributing moral high standards to ourselves lead to spectacular disasters.

//like individuals no country could be a "perfect" one; but still the world-level criticism over Bush's unwanted war on Iraq on the pretext of MDWs cannot be justifies just because other countries have also done mistakes in the past//

Sam,

I concede that the likes of A.Roy have their uses like condenmning Bush or anything.

What they fail to realize is that American policies dont change according to the Presidents will and wish.

Why attack Bush?
The preparations for invasion of Iraq was done by Clinton.

He maintained the embargoes and made sure Iraqis had no air defences when the invasion came.

Bush is a fool, we all know that.

Bush does not get to decide which country they're going to invade next.

They have a policy making body, thousands of analysts, the intel agencies,the RAND...all of them join hands to decide where America should be heading to.

The President merely implements them or finds ways to implement them.

bonapert said...

//Why is that always in the history when some one is siding with the impoverished people is branded with some undesirable names?//

Good!

This simple word exposes everything..:-))

You written skill is too good.

I have yet to read your other postings.


Asuran