It is true, that a democratic country must not silence it writer, but the writers and artists also have a huge responsibility to tell the truth with balance and not dramatize selectively for personal benefits alone. The news that sedation cases may be slapped and the possibility of Arundhati Roy arrest spread, the world got ready to see, If a democratic India is about to do a communist China on her.
But she and her supporters were left deeply disappointed by the benign decision of a neo Nazi Indian state. She remained free to continue her repertory of the Marxist theater of an absurd, out dated script teeming with half-truths and twisted beliefs.
Can Roy explain how a neo Nazi, suppressive police state and a fake democracy can install women in four top positions; the President of India, the Speaker of the Indian Parliament, the UPA chair person, and the Leader of Opposition, along with the Prime Minister from the minority Sikh community?
Further how can an allegedly obscurantist Hindu state catapult two Muslims, a Dalit and a Sikh to occupy the chair of the President of India?
Will the gays and lesbians be given freedom by law to be what they are, in primarily an allegedly regressive society? The long awaited reform was easily done against feeble opposition from not only from Hindu hardliner fringe but Muslims and Christians as well.
It is ironic; when half the globe away in Cuba, the ailing revolutionary war horse Fidel Castro has belatedly accepted that the communism has failed to help poor, still the unconcerned Indian foot soldiers of the blood soaked ideology and misty eyed supporters like Roy, continues to mislead the poor and tribal on path of violence and destruction.
Arundhati is also known so far as a “one- book wonder” that has drifted to controversial issues. Her education and training as an architect, forays in films and later as an aerobic trainer, hardly prepared her to understand and articulate complex telescoping issues of national and international politics, economics, social development and related myriad matters. Her oversimplified vision of black and white world of wrong and right is a pointer to a total lack of disregards and understanding of complex developmental processes and conflict resolutions in such dicey endeavors.
She has been described as a Champagne Socialist, who loves flirting with controversial issues to enhance her market value to primarily the western media.
Those who decry about stifling voice of a writer must know that it’s not her book, which is under attack or has been banned. She is freely moving in India and abroad; sharing what ever are her views on India. She has acquired a role of a political activist with rabid leftist leanings, which is her right too. But her statements would naturally go under robust microscopic scrutiny. The old religiously fanatic friends of the cause have been in fore front to protest against an obscure cartoon or a book and force ban by indulging in violence and destruction.
Should a political activist who has written a best seller be given more freedom than those who have not?
Her accusations of suppression of writers in India are part of another blatant attempt to enforce falsehood and half truth, as far as Roy herself is concerned. Her supporters can gleefully quote MF Hussein episode and the recent Rohington Mistry case, which are part of Indian story too. Both events are representing actions of regressive fringe elements in the melting pot of India. But Hussein and Mistry never don the mantle of political activism and neither had they tried to piggyback on their fame to make disjointed statements and complicate delicate social and political issues.
A best seller is a cleverly marketed product, an out come of convergence of various talents, tools and opportunities. Roy writes devastating prose while telling a story, which got her a booker prize. The booker prize does not bestow on her self any more knowledge and enlightenment than she has. But that prize does set her apart from other political activists in India, who are unknown to the world at large. Having a keen eye for the hated market, she had been very quick to identify a vacant lucrative slot and got her self entrenched to manifest the balance sought to counter the emerging positive Indian story.
The important point is that Roy herself is a product of the market, the very corporate, she hates, derides and lampoons on 24x7 basis. The accentuated attention and space given to her by corporate controlled media, negates the rabid criticism of the entity, which has created and still feeds her.
Interestingly the negligible growth rate during socialist era was termed as Hindu rate of growth by economists, who believed the blissfully contended nature of Hindus was the real reason of their lack of economic initiative.
Her dreamy obsessive love with era of stagnant socialism and anger with India opening up to the world market tells own story of strongly unjustified fixations with small economy of class conflicts, low incomes and multitude of shortages.
But that did not stop her from going ahead to get her book published by international publishing house, a part of expanding predatory body of corporate. Her fake pulsating hate for the word “corporate” manifests the inbuilt strategy to reject modern business models, even while enjoying the accrued benefits. Or perhaps more likely wish to swim along with rabid anti market, self loathing angst of western intellectuals like Noam Chomsky, her ideal.
It would be interesting to see if she has guts to withstand a scrutiny of her ideals and beliefs by likes of Shashi Tharoor and Gurucharan Das in a televised discussion. So far she has been treated with kid gloves by the interviewers who never put counter questions, and let her babble. The interview by Karan Thapar was too soft for unexplained reasons, but her vulnerabilities were apparent.
What Arundhati Roy said about Kashmir, with out bating an eye lid would be difficult for any one knowing the back ground even in cursory detail.
But she has never cared for details to show responsibility and opined that “Kashmir was never a part of India.”
She spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves she visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is becoming a police state.
True to her style, Roy failed to accept that the ethic cleansing of Pundits from Kashmir has been done as per designs of fanatic shade of Islam exported, aided by Pakistan Army/ISI along with other terror outfits. Roy points accusing finger at Indians largely developmental as well as strategic role in Afghanistan but never believes Pakistani role in creating trouble and mayhem in India.
She defines and delineates Pakistan as a poor country being ravaged by capitalist west where as India is neo Nazi Hindu police state, suppressing poor and minorities at behest of market forces, along with perpetuating conflicts all around. It does not matter to her that Pakistan is a theocratic Islamic state busy prosecuting and killing minorities and liberal sects with in Muslims and bombing their mosques on weekly basis.
She further tries to establish extraordinary exploitative collaborations between Hindu hardliners and market forces by coincident of liberalization and rise of militant Hindutva in late eighties.
Simply put in comparison to these two hated regressive entities; the Jihadists and the Maoist are the real forces of future, the acceptable, true harbinger of just and equal society.
Now, let us try to go over the defining past events to judge the validity and fairness of her recent uttering along with her world view and vision or lack of it.
In August 1947, like other princely states, Kashmir also had the choice to accede to its preferred dominion - India or Pakistan, taking into account factors such as geographical contiguity and the wishes of their people. The Maharaja delayed his decision, attempting to remain independent.
In their very first major foreign policy decision, the rulers of Pakistan decided to attack and take Kashmir by force. The Pakistani soldiers in the guise of tribal Pathans and mercenaries entered Kashmir on 20th October 1947.
When invaders reached outskirts of Srinagar, the Maharaja had to ask India for help and finally joined India on 26th October 1947.
The agreement which ceded Jammu and Kashmir to India was signed by the Maharaja and Lord Mountbatten of Burma. The Jammu & Kashmir National Conference volunteers worked shoulder-to-shoulder with the Indian Army to drive out the invaders.
Pundit Nehru’s deep faith in effectiveness of UN, forced him to seek help of the international body in no way diluted the facts of Kashmir being part of India. Pakistan never retreated from the forcibly occupied area, the basic precondition of the plebiscite, which could never be held. While article 370 forbids any one to buy property in Kashmir, Pakistan changed the demography of the part under its occupation, rendering possibility of a plebiscite remote.
After 1989 departure of the Russians from Afghanistan, the Pakistan army/ISI decided to push the battle hardened Jihadists in to Kashmir. That led to sharp revival of separatist forces and religious fanaticism.
Till 2001 terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) have killed more than 30,000 civilians and 6000 defense personnel. The political parties have not been spared either. The National Conference has lost 205 members, Congress 49, Janta Dal 10, BJP 9, CPI (M) 5 and the Awami League 5. More than 350,000 pundits have been rendered homeless, forcing them to live as refugees in their own country. The terrorists have attacked 45 security forces’ establishments in the last year. Between 1990 and 2000, the security forces have recovered 20,365 AK rifles, 8,825 pistols, 959 UMGs, 308 sniper rifles, 615 rocket launchers, 1,687 rocket boosters, 75 LMGs, 757 assorted weapons and 25,000 kg of RDX.
The rulers of Pakistan have never shied away from their gleeful acceptance of providing support to so called Kashmir freedom fighter.
Obviously why the Diva of factoids would care about these facts, before saying what brings her more notoriety based on sensationalism?
In a TV interview, she strongly decried India opening two rusted locks in late eighties, the Indian market and Ayodhya dispute. Her opinions are full of large gaping holes and with out any valid cause and effect analysis. To her the terrorists of religious and ideological variety have valid reasons to attack and kill and there must be no any reaction to these much justified acts of retributions against the old exploitative forces. Her extremely leftist stand along with hobnobbing with religious fanatics points to the inherent lack of Impartiality and quest for solutions, which is too evident to be missed.
According to many observers her provocative statements could only give handle to the hardliners, who are never part of any solutions in trouble ridden developing societies, grappling with many serious issues.
Fanatics of every variety have no other options but to strike at the prevailing imperfections, dramatize the effects by sensationalism, to build their cases of radical solutions. In case of India, the overriding strengths are never mentioned but they are severely lampooned by quoting suitable instances to accentuate the dramatized weaknesses only. Fanatics and their misty eyed supporter love to extend the real and imaginary conflicts between the have and have not.
The forests having mineral riches in parts of India have come to fall under control of Maoists, still having strong beliefs in Marxists ideology. The tales of grave suppression and intimidation by the ultras do not bother the misty eyed Champagne drinking, hard partying, Maoist supporters based in metros, dishing out apologies and justifications.
The Maoists have targeted school teachers and doctors by killings and intimidation for much needed isolation. Nearly half of teachers and doctors have preferred to be away from serving in inhospitable terrain, leaving thousands of school going children and those who need medical attentions to go with out the much needed services.
With in the mineral rich jungles forming the red corridor, the Maoists indulge in most brutal oppression and sexual exploitations of females with in their ranks and elsewhere. The violent raids on villages to punish government informer by acts of grave intimidation, rapes, summary trial and executions by kangaroo courts have never been criticized by the Maoists supporters.
Taliban employ same tactics of violence and intimidation by blowing up schools and repression of women in their area of influence too.
While speaking at the Karachi press club, Roy decided to dwell on the mere facial beauty of a Kalashnikov toting young Taliban soldier. She deliberately avoided to comment on the inherent human right violation, brutalization in recruitment and activation of child soldiers by the zealots of the faith. The overriding compulsions and motivations were clear; how rabid leftist supporters can criticize the Islamic fanatics!
Her hate is reserved for only Hindu hardliners, Jews and the west along with capitalism. Like a true Marxists-jihadist supporter, she knows her permanent enemies well enough and does not waver from her focus as each and every imperfection is dramatized to be used as ammunition.
While Roy uses Maoists, Kashmir separatists to periodically make noises, few Sikhs espousing cause of Khalistani separatism are toying with idea of facilitating and use her celebrity status fueled reach to drum up support for their ill conceived cause of a religion based tiny nation. It is sad that for so long a hard working and risk taking community has got itself under spell of insular clerics and others who have no other ideas but to use religion and bad past events to enhance own power and hold on the community.
Militant Sikhs have created hundreds of sites on social networking platforms spewing hate against amorphous Hindu community and are especially targeted against Gandhi - Nehru family. Their pathological hatred for Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi still persists with dangerous portents. The signs look ominous as cash rich foreign based militant Sikhs and their Indian foot soldiers may be giving final touches to some gruesome acts to further their cause and reestablish prominence.
There is great convergence on the views expressed by militant Sikhs and Roy, like her they too believe that India is a neo Nazi Hindu suppressive police state, responsible for every conflict with China, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
But it will be some time before the market savvy Roy decides to mouth Sikh angst, as she appears on stage after well separated intervals. Meanwhile she may go through the militant Sikh propaganda material to prepare for the event.
In past, her distasteful expression of terming Maoists as “Gandhians with Guns” was insanely outrageous.
It is the peculiar and reprehensible mindset of some one, who could be so intellectually arrogant, aloof and unaffected enough to justify Mumbai killing of 166 innocent civilians in a gruesome attacks by terrorists from Pakistan, with well known supporting structure and covert state role.
The world is not perfect and neither is India, which has a long way to go before many scourges, conflicts, gender discrimination, biases, opportunities, regional and income imbalances are even out to a better state of harmony.
But the radical solutions supported by likes of Roy have never worked towards better societies any where in the world.
It is 2010 the year when the wizened Fidel Castro has also accepted the futility of communist ideals and violent means.
Cuba is busy dismantling state control and moving towards a market economy by encouraging private enterprises, foreign investments and integration with the connected world.
Earlier, the growing religious fanatics and dwindling ideological hotheads believing in violent means, see the writing on the wall, better it would be.