June 23, 2021
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L'Affaire Arundhati Roy: Round Up

L'Affaire Arundhati Roy: Round Up
outlookindia.com
1970-01-01T05:30:00+0530

Just two articles of note that I had read earlier and thought deserved to be blogged about, for the record:

Leo Mirani in the Guardian:

Roy has important things to say, but her tone and bluster ensure the only people listening are those who already agree with her. She is preaching to the converted. To the left-leaning publications of the west, she is an articulate, intelligent voice explaining the problems with 21st-century India. For the university lefties in India, she confirms their worst fears of a nation falling apart. But to any intelligent readers who may be sitting on the fence or for anyone from middle-class India taking their first tentative steps towards greater political involvement, her polemic serves to terrify and alienate.

As Salil Tripathi writes over at the Index on Censorship blog, "Initially her dissent was seen as admirable, then as a novelty, and now her view is largely marginalised." This week's shenanigans prove that debate about Arundhati Roy is, as ever, thriving. But her writing is rapidly becoming irrelevant in Indian public discourse.

Venkatesan Vembu in the DNA narrated the points he had made in a BBC programme:

I'm not calling for Arundhati Roy to be arrested or tried for sedition. I also vehemently oppose the online outpourings of extreme right-wing lynch mobs. Nor do I defend the role of the Indian State in Kashmir.

However, Roy's delineation of the situation in Kashmir is overly simplistic, intellectually dishonest and wholly lacking in nuance or balance; in her reductionist worldview, the Indian State is Downright Evil; poor Kashmiri civilians are tortured without reason. But Kashmir's contemporary history is more complex than that. There are other geopolitical forces - including Pakistan-backed jihadi elements whose larger aim is the disintegration of secular India - that she does not acknowledge. That incomplete narrative amounts to a denial of history on her part. And in a volatile situation of the sort that exists in Kashmir, her selective outlining of history has enormous, dangerous real-life consequences...

...

"I'm not so cussed as to say that Ms Roy has it all wrong. She does an important job of holding up a mirror to Indian civil society and forcing us to focus on our failings. That's an important function. In 1998, when she declared herself an 'independent mobile republic', I met her at a public talk and I asked for citizenship in her 'republic'. So she's greatly admired, even by some of us who critique her work."

 

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