In which Arundhati Roy gives herself those ones

…and fells herself with thoughtless hate speech.

You may have read how Ms Arundhati Roy tried to justify the Mumbai Terror Attacks (Guardian UK, British newspaper) and, in the process, ended up exposing herself, irrecoverably, to the public ?

When Salman Rushdie was interviewed on the Mumbai attacks, he said:

… I think one of the most worrying developments… has been the willingness of a number of commentators … to place the question of roots (of the attack) in the concept of justice.

People have said that the reason for these attack was that there is injustice, that Indian Muslims are economically disadvantaged in India, that they have much lower educational qualifications, they have much higher unemployment rates and then of course there is the great injustice of Kashmir. As the argument be that while those injustices exist that is the thing from which these actions spring.

And as our colleague Arundhati Roy wrote the other night, as she ended her article, she said: You have a very simple choice: Justice or civil war — and you choose. As Suketu said, that is the entire spectrum of possibility from A to B.

[Suketu Mehta on his part agreed with what Rushdie had to say and pointed out that the attack on Parliament in 2001 for example predated the Gujarat pogroms]

Rushdie said:

…. But I do not believe that the terrorists such as these — I do not believe that their project has anything to do with justice.

… Ask yourself the question that if the Kashmir problem were resolved tomorrow, if Israel-Palestine reached a lasting peace, do we believe that al-Qaeda would disband? Do we believe that Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad would put their guns down and beat them into plough-shears and say we would now be farmers because our job is done ?

Further, on Arundhati Roy:

The moderator: “You mentioned Arundhati Roy…. (referring to her article)… the phrase was “the Taj is not our icon” … [Arundhati Roy in her article had actually written: “We’re told one of these hotels is an icon of the city of Mumbai. That’s absolutely true. It’s an icon of the easy, obscene injustice that ordinary Indians endure every day.”–Ed ]

To which, Rushdie said:

I thought that particular remark in her piece was disgusting. The idea that the deaths of the rich don’t matter because they are rich is disgusting.

Yes indeed, Rushdie. Roy was overall nauseating. (She mentioned the media whipping up mass hysteria which I thought was a worthy observation, but after that, her own hysteria took over).

Additional Reading

1. The Algebra of Infinite Fundamentalism by Great Bong.

2. Taking on Ms Roy (from http://www.nationalinterest.in)

3. SAJA Forum debates Roy’s article

4. Booker vs Booker – Rushdie Blasts Arundhati Roy about Mumbai …

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6 responses to “In which Arundhati Roy gives herself those ones

  1. typingisnotactivism

    The article to which the above link leads, in my opinion, completely misrepresents both the specifics and the gist of Roy’s writing.

    I am not sure whether it is ignorance, sexism, or separation from reality that drives a position utterly embracing the reactionary writing of Rushdie while more or less slandering Roy.

    [Well, it could be none of the above. What makes you unconsciously apply the label “reactionary” to one’s view and “sexist” to another’s, could also be driven by infatuation to persona or apparently cool liberal ideas. – mumbaibai 🙂 ]

    She does not promote or applaud any deaths, rich or poor. She does not promote terrorism, but simply points out that the word is inherently subjective and that context is the key determinant. She calls for a consideration of historical context that takes a longer-than-48-hour view of things, and that is as it should be.

    [ Well, we didn’t say that she “promotes” terrorism; you added that on. She certainly seems to justify terrorism, and that’s what we pointed out. She justifies terrorism by linking it to certain causes and ignoring certain other causes and actors. Any such selectivism, wrapped in such charged language, should raise the antennae of any skeptic, and it does raise ours. – mumbaibai ]

    Pointing to injustice as a source of repression and anger that explodes in violence is not even remotely close to condoning or even justifying such violence. But ignoring the sources of injustice, as mumbaibai and Rushdie seem willing and even eager to do is to certainly guarantee further violence.

    And although I am likely mistaken on this point, my impression of Rushdie is that as a man whose level of interest to the public has peaked long ago, he now seizes opportunities for controversy with its consequent 15 minutes more of fame wherever he can find them. And in this case, I can only think that he is riding Roy’s coattails back into the limelight, for one more fix of attention.

    [Thanks for your comments. I would like to add that we are not as much interested in specific personae; like Rushdie or Roy, as their ideas. Let us keep it that way. – mumbaibai]

    http://typingisnotactivism.wordpress.com/2008/12/13/arundhati-roy-defines-mumbai

  2. In her article Arundahtai Roy never tried to justify the Mumbai terror attacks. Hers was an attempt to present a sequence leading to the attack: Babri Masjid demolition, Gujrat genocide, Parliament attack, and current Mumbai strike. Salman Rushdie has a blinkered view, and he seems to have joined the Bush’s anti-terror bandwagon. Sadly, Rushdie’s , and for that matter Suketu’s arguments are no match for Arundhati’s hard facts.

  3. Well, those who are standing in support of Ms.Roy here kindly refer to what Mr.Rushdie has said – “Ask yourself the question that if the Kashmir problem were resolved tomorrow, if Israel-Palestine reached a lasting peace, do we believe that al-Qaeda would disband? Do we believe that Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad would put their guns down and beat them into plough-shears and say we would now be farmers because our job is done ?”
    Hence, the history is complex and we need to look at the context stuff just doesn’t add any value in terms of a person’s intellect is concerned. Islamic terrorism is an issue and it is not a result of the evil men like India, US and Israel. If you want to read a work of fiction and have a good laugh for some time then P G Wodehouse is certainly a better option than Ms.Roy. Try that out.

  4. Mrinal Bose,

    Hers was an attempt to present a sequence leading to the attack: Babri Masjid demolition,
    Gujrat genocide, Parliament attack, and current Mumbai strike.

    You got the sequence wrong, my friend.

    “Gujarat genocide” (2002) followed “Parliament attack” (2001.)

    What comes first? 1 or 2?

    So much for sequence.

    By the way, terrorism in India didnt begin in 1993. Islamic terrorism in India began in the 1980s in Kashmir Valley.

    “Sequence leading to the attacks” sounds like one of those conspiracy theories about man never landing on the moon. I’m sure even experienced ISI operatives would be stumped at the suggestion that Mumbai 26/11 had origins in 1993. That’s too ambitious! Its unfortunate you have to take your place beside the Antulays and Arundhatis of this country.

  5. typingisnotactivism,

    She calls for a consideration of historical context that takes a longer-than-48-hour view of things, and that is as it should be.

    Taking about “longer-than-48-hour view of things”, how about the genocide of Hindus in Bangladesh at the hands of the Pakistani Army in 1971 and the subsequent absence of any Hindu terrorist trying to avenge this injustice by bombing Pakistani cities and killing innocent people?

  6. Atlantean, I think not just every side but every individual can trot out some example of aggression that predates some other side’s example. We can, if we choose, engage in a blame-game of endless one-upmanship, going back to medieval and ancient times, and even prehistory. All we will accomplish is to demonstrate that hate and violence have very deep roots. But most of us know this already, and knowing it further won’t take us anywhere new. So why not move beyond it? Why not consider the suggestion that violence must be understood in the context of discrimination and oppression? It does not mean we must accept the violence–it means we must reject the violence and the context. Indeed, that may be the only way to bring about lasting change for the better (and aof course it need not preclude India protecting its citizens and assets through good governance, intelligence, diplomacy and, if necessary, defense).

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