Recently, Ms. Arundhati Roy was in news. Not only for publishing her new book, “Ministry of Utmost Happiness”, but also for the suggestion of film actor and BJP MP Paresh Rawal, that Indian army should tie Ms. Arundhati Roy in front of their jeep when they move through areas full of stone pelting protestors. Distasteful as the comment was, it was surprising why people would be so angry with Ms. Arundhati Roy!
Arundhati Roy is a brilliant writer on her own right. Her language touches her readers. Politically, Ms. Roy is sympathetic to ultra left ideology. As an an original and selfless thinker, comparable to Prof. Noam Chomsky of MIT, she presents herself as the conscience keeper of Indian nation. Many of her talk are available YouTube. One may find them deeply disturbing. In her many interviews and interactions with foreign audience and press, Ms. Roy may be seen almost pleading to create a public opinion against India. She urges Western nations not to do business with Indian state.
Ms. Roy does not believe in state boundaries. She believes in individual and/or community freedom. By extension, if a community does not want to be part of a map, they should have freedom to leave the union. Taking this argument forward, Ms. Roy advocates freedom for Kashmir, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tribal dominated areas of central India – Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Telangana etc.
India was divided along religious lines in 1947. One predominantly Hindu part stayed as India. Two muslim majority segments went to Pakistan. This was not our creation. Our forefathers had agreed to this solution. If we go by Ms. Roy’s advocacy, India will be further divided into at least five or more parts. Is this acceptable to us? Do we have any say in this vivisection? If we go by this logic, then even muslim dominated areas of Kerala, West Bengal, Assam, Hyderabad may ask for separate nation because they cannot get along with majority Hindu population. Is such a formula sustainable? At some point we must close past baggage and move on.
Thoughts of Ms. Roy are very noble. But can statecraft be run by being absolutely noble and selfless? A leader of a country must bring interest of the country first, then he should think about rest of the world. This principle had been followed since ancient times. Running a country entails that leader of the nation must take everyone along, where each constituents make some compromise, as the nation moves on.
It is also ironical that Ms. Roy is pleading with those people who had colonised and plundered rest of the worlds wealth for more that three hundred years. People who find no hesitation in supporting dictators, as long as their business interests remain untouched, Ms. Roy is pleading with the very people to stop doing business with India? This is both tragical in intent and comical in outcome.
In her zeal to bad mouth Indian institutions, Ms. Roy praises armed forces of Pakistan. She claims, Pakistan army never kills her own people. Ms. Roy probably forgot what happened in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, what is happening in Baluchistan, in FATA, in Sindh provinces of Pakistan.
I think, Ms. Roy does not provide any alternative to current system. She is a perennial rebel. Once a cause is settled, she will search for another cause. It is for sure, her ultra left ideology sounds good in seminal, conferences and drawing rooms. But on ground it does not work.