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Archive for the ‘Arundhati Roy’ Category

I’d rather not be Anna: Arundhati Roy

Posted by Admin on August 23, 2011


The Hindu

If what we’re watching on TV is indeed a revolution, then it has to be one of the more embarrassing and unintelligible ones of recent times. For now, whatever questions you may have about the Jan Lokpal Bill, here are the answers you’re likely to get: tick the box — (a) Vande Mataram (b) Bharat Mata ki Jai (c) India is Anna, Anna is India (d) Jai Hind.

For completely different reasons, and in completely different ways, you could say that the Maoists and the Jan Lokpal Bill have one thing in common — they both seek the overthrow of the Indian State. One working from the bottom up, by means of an armed struggle, waged by a largely adivasi army, made up of the poorest of the poor. The other, from the top down, by means of a bloodless Gandhian coup, led by a freshly minted saint, and an army of largely urban, and certainly better off people. (In this one, the Government collaborates by doing everything it possibly can to overthrow itself.)

In April 2011, a few days into Anna Hazare’s first “fast unto death,” searching for some way of distracting attention from the massive corruption scams which had battered its credibility, the Government invited Team Anna, the brand name chosen by this “civil society” group, to be part of a joint drafting committee for a new anti-corruption law. A few months down the line it abandoned that effort and tabled its own bill in Parliament, a bill so flawed that it was impossible to take seriously. Read the rest of this entry »

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Arundhati Roy: ‘They are trying to keep me destabilised. Anybody who says anything is in danger’

Posted by Admin on June 8, 2011


Source: Guardian

Arundhati Roy.Arundhati Roy. Photograph: Sarah Lee

This is not an ideal beginning. I bump into Arundhati Roy as we are both heading for the loo in the foyer of the large building that houses her publisher Penguin’s offices. There are some authors, V S Naipaul say, with whom this could be awkward. But not Roy, who makes me feel instantly at ease. A few minutes later, her publicist settles us in a small, bare room. As we take our positions on either side of a narrow desk I liken it to an interrogation suite. But she says that in India, interrogation rooms are a good deal less salubrious than this.

Roy, who is 50 this year, is best known for her 1997 Booker prize-winning novel The God of Small Things, but for the past decade has been an increasingly vocal critic of the Indian state, attacking its policy towards Kashmir, the environmental destruction wrought by rapid development, the country’s nuclear weapons programme and corruption. As a prominent opponent of everything connected with globalisation, she is seeking to construct a “new modernity” based on sustainability and a defence of traditional ways of life.

Her new book, Broken Republic, brings together three essays about the Maoist guerrilla movement in the forests of central India that is resisting the government’s attempts to develop and mine land on which tribal people live. The central essay, Walking with the Comrades, is a brilliant piece of reportage, recounting three weeks she spent with the guerrillas in the forest. She must, I suggest, have been in great personal danger. “Everybody’s in great danger there, so you can’t go round feeling you are specially in danger,” she says in her pleasant, high-pitched voice. In any case, she says, the violence of bullets and torture are no greater than the violence of hunger and malnutrition, of vulnerable people feeling they’re under siege. Read the rest of this entry »

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Indian democracy in a state of emergency: Arundhati Roy

Posted by Admin on October 26, 2009


In her latest series of essays, Arundhati Roy sounds deeply dismissive of the Indian democracy and perhaps supportive of the Maoist struggle. Why does she take these positions? That’s the key issue explore today with Arundhati Roy.

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Kiran Thapar: Hello and welcome to Devil’s Advocate. In her latest series of essays, Arundhati Roy sounds deeply dismissive of the Indian democracy and perhaps supportive of the Maoist struggle. Why does she take these positions? That’s the key issue I shall explore today with Arundhati Roy.

Let’s start with your cynical view of Indian democracy. In your essays, you say the ‘Beacon is fading,’ you say it’s being hollowed out and emptied of meaning, you say that Indian democracy no longer can be relied upon to deliver the justice and stability we dreamt it would. Why have you come to this conclusion?

Arundhati Roy: It is pretty obvious that in the last 60 years of our democracy what we have is a situation in which the poor are getting poorer and poorer, the rich are getting richer. I am not suggesting by this that we should go back to some older form of discredited despotic or colonial regime. I am trying to analyse what is the problem with democracy now. Why are the institutions of our democracy – the courts, media and Parliament – letting the people down? In a democracy, they are meant to act as checks and balances but actually they are serving as a cover to be as undemocratic as possible.

Karan Thapar: So you are suggesting two important things. Firstly, you are saying that the institutions of democracy have actually failed to act as checks and secondly, you are saying that the poor, who I presume are the vast majority of India, are not benefiting from Indian democracy sufficiently.

Arundhati Roy: Of course they have protection but the fact is that we are now in a situation of emergency. The human developmental index shows that more than 80 per cent of the people of India are living in conditions of extreme poverty. We have the world’s most malnutritioned children. The Dalits and the Adivasis are living in conditions of famine by any world indicators when more than 50 per cent of them are malnutritioned.

Karan Thapar: So the state of India’s dispossessed and poor is proof that Indian democracy has failed? Read the rest of this entry »

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Govt at war with Maoists to aid MNCs: Arundhati Roy

Posted by Admin on October 21, 2009


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New Delhi: It was an evening of an explosive confession on CNN-IBN. Naxal leader Kishenji has for the first time claimed responsibility for the beheading of Jharkhand police officer Francis Induvar two weeks ago. Even more chilling are his threats that they will kill again on a day when Naxals attacked another police station in West Midnapore on Tuesday. The question that was being asked on CNN-IBN’s India At 9 was: Is it possible for the Government and Naxals to come to the dialogue table? To try and answer the question on the panel of experts were writer and activist Arundhati Roy and Jharkhand-based activist Gladson Dungdung.

CNN-IBN Naxal leader Kishenji has said clearly that there will be more violence. In this violent climate, how can you expect the Government of India to reach out and call for a dialogue which is what you, Arundhati Roy and other civil rights activists are asking for. What about asking the Naxals to abjure violence.

Arundhati Roy: I saw the letter which Mr Chidambaram has written asking whether civil society groups can persuade the Naxals to abjure violence. I think it is a bit disingenuous, because this binary which has been created – of the Naxals on one side and the Government on the other side and the human rights activists in the middle – is a simplification of a very, very complex picture. I don’t think there is anything as human rights activists for they all belong to different groups. There is a whole range of non-violent, democratic resistances which are all being called Naxal which are all being asked to negotiate. So if the Government wants to negotiate with the Naxals, then it should specifically negotiate with them.

CNN-IBN The Government is very specifically asking citizen groups to speak to the CPI-Maoists and to bring them into the political mainstream. What’s wrong with that? Read the rest of this entry »

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Arundhati Roy urges Centre to drop armed action against Maoist

Posted by Admin on October 20, 2009


Arundhati Roy, a rights activist and Booker prize-winning novelist speaks at a press conference in New Delhi. Roy voiced her concerns about the government’s proposed military offensive against Maoist rebels in the tribal-dominated areas.

Arundhati Roy, a rights activist and Booker prize-winning novelist speaks at a press conference in New Delhi. Roy voiced her concerns about the government's proposed military offensive against Maoist rebels in the tribal-dominated areas.
Bombay News.Net

Monday 19th October, 2009 (ANI)

Left-leaning organisations such as the People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) and Sanhati spoke out against Operation Green Hunt, the offensive against the Maoists, at the Press Club of India in New Delhi.

The two-hour meeting was addressed by Gautam Navlakha of PUDR, writer Arundhati Roy and Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, among others.

At a moderate gathering this afternoon, Sanhati released a letter to the Prime Minister stating that a military offensive against the Maoists “would deliver a crippling blow to Indian democracy”.

PUDR activists and a small number of students and faculty from Delhi University largely made up the audience which listened to a discussion moderated by Gautam Navlakha.

Arundhati Roy warned against the government’s intention to go ahead with any military offensive against the Maoists. “There is nothing positive to say about the situation at present. Military action against Maoists is not the solution,” she said.

Reading out a Planning Commission report which indicated that the Maoists were a political movement, she said the movement was evidence of the loss of faith in democratic institutions.

“Displacing millions of people is going to have repercussions,” she said. Referring to Mahasweta Devi’s comment that India was like a cloth part silken and part tattered, she said, “The parts that were tattered are torn, and in the holes are falling the poor of this country.”

There was an overwhelming consensus on issues and the lack of internal debate. Abhijeet Phartiyal, a student of Delhi University said discourse was required to chart out new directions though he was supportive of the objective behind the meet.

Civil rights activist and lawyer Prashant Bhushan agreed with the assessments of many of his fellow speakers. “There is a swirl of fake propaganda about the Maoists. Anyone questioning the government’s claims is immediately labelled anti-national,” he said.

Bombay

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