Saturday, January 14, 2006

Arsenic Laced Honey

Via Hindustan Times, Arundhati Roy declines Sahitya Akademi Award

Why? Because the award is linked to a government she opposes.

By "government", she doesn't imply the secular-left UPA government or its predecessor, the religious-right NDA government. She likely means our system of government -- and our way of life.

Ms. Roy is a leftist extremist who, in a throwback to the discredited ideologies of the Soviet era, seeks a revolution to overturn the advance in our economic freedoms -- what she contemptuously calls "the neo-liberal project".

The irony of this stale rebel being courted by the Indian establishment is hardly lost on her. Ever the publicity hound, she rejects the Sahitya Akademi award -- an act that will further endear her to the intellectual dwarfs -- and punishment gluttons -- who preside over our cultural scene.

The scandal here is that Ms. Roy was selected for the award in the first place. Her words may drip like honey, but her honey is laced with arsenic. Calling her vile manifesto literature is absurd. Sahitya Akademi should be ashamed.


Jaffna said...

Arundhati Roy is intellectually dishonest. She received the Booker prize from Britain a few years back. That provided her with the international platform to spout her radical "left-wing" views. She addresses sleek conferences in Europe, North America, Australia and South Africa. She resides in plush hotels while traveling across continents to participate in various conferences sponsored by western NGO largess.

She highlights the social contradictions in the Indian polity in international fora. This, by itself, is not wrong except for the fact that it is a selective critique of post-independence India. Born into an elite family, she can afford the luxury of criticizing India in overseas seminars (and the BBC) while doing little by way of actual work in addressing the root causes of Indian backwardness. Hers is the easy way out - to write on simple issues, to polemicize and offer no constructive penetrative critique that entails implementable solutions.

I would add that the Marxism is a cover in her instance unlike Brinda Karat and co. Arundhati is probably deeply western in everything she does and believes. There is nothing wrong in that once again except for the fact that her Marxist facade is a lie. Her lifestyle and inordinate need to consort with the west proves it. She is a western NGO-financed limousine leftist, not a true hands-on social activist like Swami Agnivesh - also from the left. It is intellectual sophistry at its worst. She becomes irrelevant when you freeze her from access to international colloquia and the radical circuit in the west.

She is rootless. Does she even write in Malayalam?

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of Arundhati Roy or her policies/polemics. However, the article linked to appears to imply that Arundhati Roy rejected the award because of the "environmental policies of the government"? By this I presume she must be referring to the Narmada project. And now this, after the Supreme Court verdict?

Jaffna: Isn't "Marxism" itself Western?

Apollo said...

let's take a vote. How may of u r in favor of sending arundhati roy to the gulag or have her shot in true comrade stalin style?

doubtinggaurav said...


From what I read of GOST,
she did not seem a big fan of Marxism.

Moreover she seems more of a "Well Educated Ignoramus"
than "Intellectual Dishonest"to me.

Ofcourse the effects are identitical in both the cases.

May be our intellectual class needs to "unlearn" few things.


pennathur said...

Arundati Roy (and otehrs like Nirmala Deshpande) are toadies for hire. As we discuss the smaller provinces of Pakistan (a term that includes Balochistan that covers 40% of its nation's land mass!) are protesting the decision to contstruct the Kalabagh Dam. Hewre's a cause that is dear to Roy and Deshpande's heart. Can we see some spine on their parts? When are they going to be walking in to Pakstan to join their sufering comrades over there? When are we going to see one of those ill written rants from this duo?

libertarian said...

She's been called the Goddess of Small Ideas. Quite a study in inconsistencies as Jaffna pointed out. Hangs out with the laissez faire crowd, but spews her brew on the system that facilitates it. She truly is a story-teller extraordinaire - especially stuff she hardly believes in.

pennathur - you're right on the mark. The Balochis need her help to get the Punjabi "boot off their throats" (her words referring to the Indian government vs. Kashmir in particular and India in general). On second thoughts - never mind - she'll mess up a perfectly decent self-determination struggle.

Rishi Gajria said...

While it is not possible to read someone's mind and know their intentions. Ms.Roy does seem to be an extraordinary oppurtunist. Her politics and rhetoric appears to be more for western consumption than Indian. Im a student in the US. You have to see how well regarded she is amongst academics here.

Rishi Gajria said...

Her essay about India's nuclear tests and how she had become her own republic made me sick to my stomach.

Rishi Gajria said...


Neither of those options. The best cure for someone like Ms.Roy is being ignored/not paid attention to.

Rishi Gajria said...

Vandana Shiva - Remember hearing an interview with her. The interviewer asked her about the sacrifices of Medha Patkar and about the Narmada issues. Vandana, ever the self-promoter credited herself as being a big part of the movement.
Another time I heard her referring to India and Pakistan's nuclear bombs as the Hindu and the Islamic bomb. Now, there is nothing wrong with describing them that way. Except that she attributed them to the goverments in their respective countries.


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