POSTED BY Buzz ON Apr 14, 2010 AT 18:45 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 14, 2010 18:45 IST

Sagarika Ghose interviews Arundhati Roy for CNN-IBN:

Sagarika Ghose: You wrote your article ‘Walking with the comrades’ in The Outlook before Dantewada happened. In the aftermath of the Dantewada, do you still stand by the tone of sympathy that you had with the Maoists cause in that essay?

Arundhati Roy: Well, this is a odd way to frame before and after Dantewada happened because actually you know this cycle of violence has been building on and on. This is not the first time that a large number of security personnel have been killed by the Maoists. I have written about it and the other attacks that took place between the years 2005-2007. The way I look at is often you know people make it sound that oh on this side of people, who are celebrating the killing of CRPF jawans and that side of the people who are asking for the Maoists to be wiped out. This is not the case. I think that you got to look at the every death as a terrible tragedy. In a system, in a war that’s been pushed on the people and that unfortunately is becoming a war of the rich against the poor. In which rich put forward the poorest of the poor to fight the poor. CRPF are terrible victims but they are not just victims of the Maoists. They are victims of a system of structural violence that is taking place, that sort to be drowned in this empty condemnation industry that goes on which is entirely meaningless because most of the time people who condemn them have really no sympathy for them. They are just using them as pawns.

Sagarika Ghose: Who then will break the cycle of violence? The state argues that the reason why the state has to cleanse the area or sanitize the area is because whenever it initiates development works on bridges or starts school; those are blown up by the Maoists. Is it that the cycle of violence according to you can only be broken by the states and if the state pulls back is that what you believe?

Arundhati Roy: There is some simple sort of litmus test for that, is it the case that there are hospitals, schools, low malnutrition and lot of development in poor areas where there aren’t any Maoists? That’s not the case. The fact is even if you look at the studies that have been done by doctors in a place like Bilashpur. What Vinayak Sen describes as nutritional aids is happening. When you go into the schools, you see that they are used as barracks. They are built as barracks so as to say that Maoists blow up schools and they are against development is a bit ridiculous.

Sagarika Ghose: But you condemn state violence and the charge against you is that you don’t condemn Naxals violence and also you don’t condemn Maoists violence. In fact you rationalise it and even romaticising violence? That is a charge made against you and in fact if I can read from your essay where you have written that, “I feel I want to say something about the futility of violence but what should I suggest they do? Go to court, a rally, and a hunger strike that sounds ridiculous; which party they should vote for, which democratic institution they should approach? You seem to be saying that non-violence is futile?

Arundhati Roy: This is a strange charge on someone who is writing about non-violence and non-violence movement fro 10 years now. But what I saw when I went into the forests was this - that non-violence resistance though it has actually not worked; not in the ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’ and not even in many other non-violence movements and not even in the militant movements. It has worked in some parts of the movement. But inside the forests it’s a different story because non-violence and in particularly, Gandhian non-violence in some ways needs an audience. It’s a theater that needs an audience. But inside the forests there is no audience when a thousand police come and surround the forest village in the middle of the night, what are they to do? How are the hungry to go on a hunger strike? How are the people with no money to boycott taxes or foreign goods or do consumer boycotts? They have nothing. I do see the violence inside that forest as a ‘counter violence’. As a ‘violence of resistance’ and I do feel terrible about the fact that there is this increasing cycle of violence that the more weapons the government arms the police with those weapons end up with the Maoist PLGA. It’s a terrible thing to do to any society. I don’t think that there is any romance in it. However I’m not against romance. I do feel it’s incredible that these poor people are standing up against this mighty state that is sending thousands and thousands of Para-military. I mean, what they are doing in those forests against those people with AK-47 and grenades.

Read more here


POSTED BY Buzz ON Apr 14, 2010 AT 18:45 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 14, 2010 18:45 IST
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Daily Mail
Oct 27, 2010
07:38 PM
Which world is Arundati Roy living in ? Which democracy in the world will give her so much freedom to make such statements other than her own India ? While writing novels she may live in a dream world but she should know that the world we live in is the real world quite different from the dream world of her novels. She gives the impression of being partially innocent and wholly ignorant about the real world issues and therefore will do well to avoid pretending expertise in these issues. She may claim that her heart cries out for human rights. Whose heart doesn't? She possibly imagines human rights the way a writer visualises the plot and characters for his or her story while those who live in the real world live it everyday. May be, it is best to ignore her comments. After all she appears partially innocent and wholly ignorant.
delhi, India
Jun 05, 2010
02:18 AM
I agree to Arundhati Roy when she calls the Indian Political System an oligarchy. Our brave soldiers are made scapegoats by the 'ruling elite' who value power enouch to large scale coercion and repression to maintain their ascendency. Power is exercised by a small section of the populace marked out by birth, wealth, talent etc. It is marked by apathy, ignorance and meek attitude towards the downtrodden people.
Unless there is transition to genuine democracy where the voice of the oppressed and marginalized find their legitimate share in the political system, the war situation will prevail which will lead to furthur incidents of terror by the Maoists and the State will respond with its own terror tactics and methods.
Aryan Acharya
Guwahati, India
May 11, 2010
09:45 AM
Ms. Roy is a Psycho who is been Romanticizing Maoism & its butcher Followers. She is no better that Publicity seeking Journo's who want to have their share of limelight without any Responsibility towards their national Integrity.If we carefully Read the Interview she sort of Justifies the butchery of Maoists.
Vijayant Sharma
Nagpur, India
May 05, 2010
07:18 PM
arundhati roy is a mad woman, with no idea how countries make progress.

i think she should travell to china, and tell the chinese that they dont know how to make progress but she does.

let her and medha pathkar stand up for election in gujerat, on a platform that the dam should be demolished, because it has resulted in displaceing

let maoists permit thousand of normal peaceful and
decent people to enter the forests, and monitor functioning of schools, hospitals.

she is a dismal fool. the moment she suggests all these real welfare measures she will be disowned by
the maoists.

maoists have been expelled from andhra and karnataka.
they left- after loseing to the army. they can not
return because they know they will not get popular

arundhati is getting older-and will soon lose her
looks. she has used this to fool dim witted leftists.

she has used tribals and poor people to publicise
herself,and done a grave damage to the cause of the poor. they need sensible people, not charlatans like her and savages like the maoists.

she has declared that there are no decent people in
india who wish to help the poor . the facts
are that many industrialists like naryanamurthy,
premjee, tata, sunil bharati mittal and many more are
patriotic and are willing to help india to progress.

in a matter of choice i vote for ratan tata, and not
roy and her maoist goons.

there is a saying. bullshit baffles brains. roy is
adept at this.
gayatri devi
delhi, India
May 05, 2010
12:02 PM
viveck--"In these circumstances as of now the threat to the Indian state is negligible."

Your excellent post needs to be read by all the dimwits on the forum. The perceived threat to the Indian State is not the armed Maoists but their ideology. You definitely do have a point in pointing out the Caste consciousness that hinders the spread of Maoist ideology. Hopefully the arrogant Home Minister takes time to read these blogs instead of enriching himself and his family back in Chennai. JJ Matha?? anyone ??
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