Arundhati Roy, The Conscience Keeper of India

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.

21 thoughts on “Arundhati Roy, The Conscience Keeper of India

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  1. Ha! Conscience keeper? I remember one Naxalite professor from DU GN Saibaba.
    Main stream media especially The Hindu projected him as a victim of state atrocities. Later Judiciary awarded him life sentence for his link with Naxalis.
    You may be a celebrated author, but you can’t be a termed as Conscience keeper, just because you write good English or you are awarded with Man Booker Prize.


    1. I agree with many points. I think her rants achieve nothing much. But the fact that we all become angry reading her articles and listening to her lectures, makes me think somewhere she hits us. Like Gandhi ji wanted India to be much more accommodating toward Pakistan, like big brother, Arundhati Roy speaks for the voiceless. But as I said, diplomacy does not work on charity. It works on national interest and solid give and take.


      1. If it hits us, then it’s good. I think it took a lot of time to realize it.
        A nation should never compromise on core issues. This can even be learnt from communist state, China. Recently Trump tried to challenge one China policy, response was so scathing that he had to concede. And we want space for secessionist voice. Pardon me, I am being blatant.


      2. I do not agree with her objective. I do not like her method of approaching foreign journalists and audience. I despise her for pleading with foreign powers not to do business with India. The same powers that colonised rest the world. The same powers that prop up dictators. At the same time, i think she speaks for the minority voice, be it gender related, caste related, community related, religion related. She agrees in her write up if Kashmiris get freedom, first person they will crucify will be people like her.

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      3. This Arundhati talks and does all kinds of antics because she is in free and democratic India. Would she be able to do the same if she is in communist china?.You say Gandhi wanted India to be much more accommodating towards pakistan. Gandhi has failed Indians in the first place by accepting for partition of the country on the basis of religion with out transferring entire population on either side., ,thus causing religious strife in India.(bomb blasts by islamic terrorists). gandhi got mahatma title where as Indians have to face daily bomb blasts.


      4. It is easy to criticize Gandhi Ji after an event had happened. We may not agree with Gandhi Ji, he worked as per his conscience and conviction. Similarly, we cannot undermine conviction and power of Arundhati Roy’s pen. But I do not agree with her point of view. I agree that a nation is run by interest and not by pure ideology alone.


  2. A good leader with massive followers, foresees the consequences of his actions which have come out of his convictions and conscience. .


  3. It is better to ignore the one like ms.Roy than admire her conviction and power of pen. She is like a man who talks big but does not know how to earn enough to run his house. Irresponsible.. To day India is in poverty because of trickle down effect on the population by the loot of British and other earlier invaders.In 1835 lord Macaulay gave a report yo British parliament stating that he did not find a beggar in India after tour of the country.And also said in the report that the back bone of India was their cultural and spiritual heritage.He was able to crush our back bone ,thus we find beggars every where in India.

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  4. Actually I said Hindsight 20/20. It was autocorrect Ed to Hindutva sight. Indian problem is manifold. Large population, scant resource, poor policy, corrupt polity. All had cascading effect. Why blame Arundhati Roy? A strong government convinced of its path does not need her counsel. At the same time, no one should be stopped from speaking.


  5. I never blamed Roy. I only said ignore that barking dog.No govt. in India ever asked for her counsel. These commy dogs keep on barking. You say because of large population scant resource,poor policy and corrupt polity ,India has lagged behind.India has caught up only after India became bankrupt in late eighty’s and introduced reforms in 1991 on wards. If they were to abandon socialism soon after independence, and taken up economic reforms as they did in 1991,by now India would have been sitting with first world countries.Of the four contentions for India’s laggardness, I do not subscribe the first two. God Almighty has given us big population for a reason. that large numbers of development works to carry out in India ,you need large man power. But our political leadership has failed us in that score. You say resource. You are completely off the mark. We have plenty of natural resources available in India ,only lack of good and self less leaders. Compare us with South Korea and japan, who have moved into first world countries with out any resource except human resource.


  6. Leaders come from society. India has chosen her leaders. Whether India would have become developed and rich no one can say. We the extent of poverty, illiteracy, poor health the dispensation probably had decided what is best for the nation. In the initial stages of Indian development socialism was needed to take the scarce national resource to everyone possible. Yes the lofty ideal got disbalanced, because system was not good. By the same analogy, the alternative method has not been able to provide fruits of development to majority of citizen in India. If capitalism is the answer only time will tell. Let us wait and watch.


  7. India’s GDP was USD 200 Billion before economic reforms in 1991. Now it has crossed USD 2 Trillions. Is it not creation of wealth for the nation?. To that extent country and people have become rich.Very soon we will be USD 20 trillion economy. From 1000 AD till 1600 AD India was the richest country in the then known world.( like today’s Qatar and Switzerland). I do not say capitalism is the answer. But it was established that with out money, you cannot develop. Industrial revolution took place in Britain in 18th century because of looted money from India.James Watts had invented steam engine but did have money to mass produce them. Soviet Union did not have sufficient money to carry on with communism ,so communism collapsed in soviet union. Communist Chinese industry/economy grew only after nixon allowed americans to invest in china in 1973 on wards. Worst thing to happen to India is to have a foreigner to head a national party.


  8. She urges Western nations not to do business with Indian state.

    That shows her overall approach and yes, I second the idea of tying her to the jeep in stone pelting areas. It was not in bad taste. What she is doing to clam up her scale, is distasteful. India needs people who can bring positive change and not people like her who can go to any length to fuel self publicity and work work against the nation.


    1. Thank you for reading. While I disagree with Arundhati Roy, I think Arundhati Roy works less for publicity and more out of conviction. I also think dragging her into current Kashmir debate is not right.


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