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Who's she when she's at home?


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Daily Mail
Digression
1
May 20, 2002
Against the Eloquence of Extremes
Thanks for publishing Arundhati Roy’s excellent piece on Gujarat (Democracy: Where’s she when she’s at home?, May 6). The Vajpayee government stands clearly exposed for its doublespeak and its criminal designs against humanity. The crimes of Modi and Vajpayee should, in fact, be tried in an international court along the lines of the Nuremberg trials. As an nri settled for several years in the US now, it’s sad that the word ‘Gujarat’ has become synonymous with genocide here and the rss, vhp and the Bajrang Dal are being equated with the Nazis.
Rohan D’Souza, Berkeley, California

Arundhati Roy’s nauseating justification of the massacre of 3,000 people in the wtc attacks on the grounds of US foreign policy allegedly having wrought misery everywhere is still fresh in readers’ minds. To turn around now and accuse Vajpayee of justifying the Gujarat riots is disgusting doublespeak on her part. The Booker committee that foisted this woman on the world by giving her the prize must be held accountable for her subsequent ‘literary’ atrocities.
Sandeep, on e-mail

The beseeching eyes of Qutubuddin Naseeruddin in the lead picture will haunt me for a long time. Roy’s right. The day isn’t far when we will envy Pakistan for being more democratic, secular! I’d also like to know where Naseeruddin is, and if he’s alright.
Sujata Prakash, Hong Kong

Arundhati’s right when she says, "Increasingly Indian nationalism has come to mean Hindu nationalism". It struck me when some relatives had come visiting early this year. Their vehement views on Indian religion and politics amazed me. And these are liberal, educated, moderate folks! A lot of political events have contributed to this mindset but what is equally responsible is the maun vrat on the part of tolerant, moderate, hardworking, equally Indian Muslims. Only a few like Shabana Azmi, Farooq Sheikh and Javed Akhtar have spoken out. I remember the days when The Illustrated Weekly of India ran columns on different community groups, highlighting their political and socio-economic achievements as also their involvement in literature and the arts. It wasn’t meant to pamper groups, or create a bias. It was meant to bridge gaps and remove stereotypes. Perhaps we need it again.
Arvind Bhatnagar, Dubai

While one agrees with everything that Arundhati says, could she have been more careful about quoting the PM’s Goa speech correctly? "Wherever Muslims are, they do not want to live peacefully," she quotes him. Whereas what he actually said was, "Wherever there are such Muslims, they do not wish to live together...." It might seem like a minor detail to you, but do you remember how the Hindutva forces were able to use the "rational" versus "national" oversight on your part in the ichr controversy to brand all "secularists" as conspirators and liars.
Sajeev Mehra, on e-mail

To me, Arundhati’s essay depicts the true feelings of a concerned Indian. Let’s pray her fear of a majority of the Muslim community resigning itself to living in ghettos as second-class citizens never comes true, so long as the media and people like her expose the injustices being meted out.
Irfan Iqbal Gheta, on e-mail

It’s now clear that Arundhati can’t do without mentioning Ayodhya in her writings. Her previous essays in Outlook referred to it, so does this 10-pager. Outlook needs to decide once and for all if it’s a newsmagazine or an Arundhati promotion journal. I don’t subscribe to it for Roy’s essays.
M.C. Joshi, on e-mail

For once, Arundhati’s rantings and ravings are in plain, forceful English rather than her arty gobbledygook. And while what she says makes perfect, though chilling, sense, the hatred and bigotry that underpins everything runs much deeper than she imagines.
Ranjith Thomas, on e-mail

Why do magazines like yours give so much play to the over-exaggerated and blatantly biased opinions of a "mobile republic" like Arundhati?
Subash, on e-mail

Arundhati Roy. Where was she when Muslim mobs burned and looted our homes in Kashmir, destroyed and dessicated our temples, raped and cut our women into pieces, killed our professionals and rendered five lakh people homeless? Communalists are bad, but are secularists any better, Mr Vinod Mehta, Mrs Brinda Karat, Mr Sitaram Yechury, Mr Prannoy Roy?
Smriti Shakdher, on e-mail

Aren’t the Kashmiri Pandits human enough to deserve Arundhati Roy’s sympathy or concern?
B.N. Maluste, Mumbai

Since Arundhati’s pen seems ever willing to take up any and every cause, what’s stopped her from taking up the cause of the Kashmiri Pandits who have been languishing—in thousands—in numerous refugee camps for more than a decade?
S.C. Chakrabarty, on e-mail

Extremely well written, passionately argued piece by Arundhati. She eloquently expresses the outrage most of us feel, justifying her reputation as an intelligent author.
Gulnaz G., Kanpur

Unbalanced, biased and seeking personal vengeance—these are the only adjectives that come to mind about this lady and her article.
Abhishek, New Jersey

Excellent essay by Arundhati. Make no mistake, none of our political parties have any real concern about the majority or the minority community. It started with Indira Gandhi who started hobnobbing with the Bukharis to stay in power. Or the retrograde step Rajiv Gandhi took in amending the verdict on the Shah Bano case. The drama continues till date with the likes of Mulayam Singh Yadav, who has developed it into a fine art.
D.V. Madhava Rao, Chennai

Commenting on a book written on India by a British authoress, Gandhiji had described it as a gutter inspector’s report. I got the same feeling about Roy’s piece.
Sham Miglani, on e-mail

Arundhati’s comparison of the events in Gujarat with Nazi Germany sent a chill down my spine. Let religious tolerance lead to a realignment of the relationship between different communities.
P.N. Nair, New Delhi

It’s encouraging to see people of Arundhati’s calibre leading the Indian women’s cause when most organisations and activists are just paying lip service to the cause.
Kadeeja Mansoor, UAE

Arundhati Roy is truly a courageous woman but a hopelessly misguided one.
Anirudha Podder,on e-mail
2
May 27, 2002
Unfairly Accused
This is to draw your attention to a reference to the Prime Minister in the essay Gujarat, Democracy & Fascism by Arundhati Roy in the issue dated May 6, 2002.

"Last night a friend from Baroda called. Weeping, it took her fifteen minutes to tell me what the matter was. It wasn’t very complicated. Only that Sayeeda, a friend of hers had been caught by a mob. Only that her stomach had been ripped open and stuffed with burning rags. Only that after she died, someone carved ‘OM’ on her forehead.

Precisely which Hindu scripture preaches this?

Our Prime Minister justified this as part of the retaliation by outraged Hindus against Muslim ‘terrorists’ who burned alive 58 Hindu passengers on the Sabarmati Express in Godhra..."

The attribution to the Prime Minister in the essay is baseless, scurrilous and mischievous. It appears to be a part of the vicious campaign to malign the Prime Minister. He has not in any way justified either the specific incident described in the essay or any part of the communal violence in Gujarat. Never has he used the term "Muslim terrorists" while speaking on the Godhra incident. He has not condoned the horrific acts of retaliation that took place after the carnage in Godhra; indeed, he has condemned them as barbaric, saying, "Madness cannot be countered with madness. Fire cannot be doused by fire. Water is needed to extinguish fire. Today, a sense of brotherhood is required."
Ashok Tandon, pmo, New Delhi
3
May 27, 2002
To the Jaffri Family, An Apology
In a situation like the one that prevails in Gujarat, when the police are reluctant to register firs, when the administration is openly hostile to those trying to gather facts, and when the killings go on unabated—then panic, fear and rumour play a pivotal role. People who have disappeared are presumed dead, people who have been dismembered and burnt cannot be identified, and people who are distraught and traumatised are incoherent.

So even when those of us who write try and use the most reliable sources, mistakes can happen. But in an atmosphere so charged with violence, grief and mistrust, it’s important to correct mistakes that are pointed out.

There is a factual error in my essay Democracy: Where’s she when she’s at home? (May 6). In describing the brutal killing of Ehsan Jaffri, I have said that his daughters had been killed along with their father. It has subsequently been pointed out to me that this is not correct. Eyewitness accounts say that Ehsan Jaffri was killed along with his three brothers and two nephews. His daughters were not among the 10 women who were raped and killed in Chamanpura that day.

I apologise to the Jaffri family for compounding their anguish. I’m truly sorry.

My information (mis-information, as it turned out) was cross-checked from two sources. Time magazine (March 11) in an article by Meenakshi Ganguly and Anthony Spaeth; and "Gujarat Carnage 2002: A Report to the Nation" by an independent fact-finding mission which included K.S. Subrahmanyam, former igp Tripura, and S.P. Shukla, former finance secretary. I spoke to Mr Subrahmanyam about the error. He said his information at that time came from a senior police official.

This and other genuine errors in recounting the details of the violence in Gujarat in no way alters the substance of what journalists, fact-finding missions, or writers like myself are saying.
Arundhati Roy, New Delhi
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4/D-11
Sep 26, 2002
12:04 AM
Liar
Arvind Majhi
Kolkata, India
5/D-10
Nov 23, 2002
12:05 AM
I thank Arundhati Roy for her articles on Gujrat carnage, It is beyond human imagination the type of atrocities committed by religious fascists. Today its the muslim tomorow somebody else, If we want India to be progressive modern country of the 21st century, the young generation should get over the old criminal politicians.

The whole problem is with our flawed democractic system, If like most developed world, 51% votes were compulsory to win, then it will be true representation of people from the constituency, unlike todays exploitation of the masses, Its time to change, I thank the brave media for holding the mantle and acting as concious of the nation.
M.Kannan
Musi Kanan
Durban, SA
6/D-7
Dec 19, 2002
12:06 AM
Arundhati Roy, as always out of sync with reality.The worst part is that God has given her the vocabulary without the brains or the heart needed for it.She is one more in the long line of arm chair critics and writers who earn their bread and butter(yes it is not roti and daal)by pandering to the needs of the western world to see and relish any problems in developing countries.
Ms.Arundhati Roy, sorry to disappoint u, but in 10 yrs(if u will be same enough atleast then)India would have emerged as one of the pillars of the world economy and rightfully stake its place in the world, proving wrong many a stupid booker winning authors.
P.S:Just out of curiosity, research and find out how many muslims Hindu mobs had killed before the Godhra carnage.
Ryan
Memphis, USA
2/D-4
Jun 23, 2002
12:02 AM
Bakvas!! If Outlook doznt stop to publish this lady's all bias n perverted views i l surely not renew my subscription once it over. She has a bias mindset. What she knows about Narmada? What she Knows about Gujarat? Its the media you ppl r making such perverted minded demons-a hero.
Ishit Vachhrajani
chennai, India
3/D-7
Jun 23, 2002
12:03 AM
Is Outlook a magazine or mouth piece of any nonsense rehtoric of Roy. Take any of her Essay and it will surely have something exposing how bad condition in India and how fanatic and worst our system is. Y cant she never find atleast one postive side of india? and as someone has very rightly written in this Feedback only Ayodhya, Inida's Nuk Test, RSS, VHP, Hindu fanatism and Narmada BAchao are must ingredients of any third grade stuffless essay of her decorated with Superb use of English.
Ishit Vachhrajani
chennai, India
1/D-6
Jun 04, 2002
12:01 AM
The more I read the comments to Roy's article, the more I begin to see how her detractors construct their argument. It always runs thus: 1. Why can't she write about how Hindus suffered when they were forced out of Kasmir? 2. How about what led up to the riots, viz. the Sabarmati Express burning?

Asking such questions not only makes for very weak argument, but it is self-deluding. In sheer numbers, nothing- no single incident- matches the atrocities that India's Hindu nationalists are meting out to minorities. No amount of comparison or feel-good justifications of 'what may have been the cause' would take it away- fascism should be addressed here and now.

Calling Roy names like 'mobile republic' and clmouring for her Booker to be removed only exposes the denial and abject shamelessness on the detractors' part.

Myself, I am not her greatest fan- I do often think she could be less accusative and hard in her writings, but I can never say in truth that she is wrong about the Gujarat massacre. The sooner we all realize this, the better.
Vijay
Cochin, India
7/D-13
May 31, 2003
12:07 AM
Miss Roy,
You have written u have received telephone call from a reliable source. Source couldn't talk for 15 mins. Now you found that news was incorrect. Time has came up with apology same week. It has taken long time to correct yourself.
This is just one fact. I am sure if you try to recall you will rember in general, How many information (mis-information, as u say) might have got voice thru ur creative writing talents.
Please stop hating India and making fun of it.
Thanks,
anjan
anjan bhushan
NJ, USA
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