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Dear Arundhati Roy, Congrats, You've Taken Your Hypocrisy To New Lows

18/11/2015 9:00 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Arundhati Roy (Francesco Alesi, Internazionale)

I'm neither surprised nor concerned with your decision of joining the 'club' of filmmaker, writers and others who have returned their awards to express their protest against what they term as the growing intolerance in India. Such acts probably give you a sense of shallow satisfaction of being intellectually relevant in today's competitive market of left ideologues.

However, I was curious about the reasons you offered for your theatrics this time, and so I read your piece "Why I Am Returning My Award" published in The Huffington Post. In fact, I read it three times to understand if you really do have an authentic critique of the present government. Honestly, I struggled to find a constructive reason. The most telling statement I found was this: "I am very pleased to have found (from somewhere way back in my past) a National Award that I can return, because it allows me to be a part of a political movement."

"On one hand, you keep pointing fingers at all the organised institutions that govern society, but on the other, you never have an alternate path to offer."

Let's question your reasoning: Can a political movement (which you want to join), logically, exist in the world (in terms of political ideology) that you believe in?

Since the time you started airing your views on a public platform through fiction and non-fiction writings, you invented two enemies to attack: the Indian state and the entire political class (except the Left parties, given your extreme left leanings). You clubbed both those two concepts - the Indian state and the political platform -- with the word "Hindu". You took an obvious advantage of this term to carve a niche amongst the drawing room, left-liberal intellectuals.

On various occasion you spoke of having no belief in the idea of a nation-state. You proudly call yourself "an independent, mobile republic". We all know that since the start of modern civilisation, the concept of a nation-state is the only tool available to manage a society. If in your view, even this tool has become obsolete then do you have any other model to propose? Absolutely not!

Not even that, you're an ardent critique of parliamentary democracy as well. For you, it's just a house of thugs and apparatchiks where they perpetrate injustice against poor, Dalits, Adivasis and minorities (Muslims and Christians).

You mockingly say that the Indian state is even worse than Pakistan or any non-democracy in terms of dealing with its people. According to your enlightened view, people from Kashmir and the North-Eastern states are forced to live under Hindu colonisation. After your media-hyped visit to the Maoist-hit district of Dantewada, you famously said that the Indian state was waging a war against its own people, and that the army was using "sophisticated weapons" to wipe out the poor, Maoist warriors.

Everybody thus knows that you derive pleasure in calling India a police Hindu republic. Since Modi became prime minister, you've added one more adjective to that list, which is fascist (in fact, "beyond fascist", according to you); that means now India is a Police, Hindu and Fascist Republic. Your hatred is limited not only to institutions but it attaches to all those luminaries as well whose ideas define India; on the other hand, you never shy away from glorifying those who work against the Indian state. You even call Gandhi a racist. When it comes to the actions of terrorists like Hafiz Saeed, you draw parallels between him and certain Hindu leaders.

"I hope to see many more theatrics from you. Because the more you thrive, flourish and do what you're good at doing, the more Indian democracy will pass the test of its resilience..."

What is evident from all this is that you're an incredible model of "pseudo-intellectualism" who lives in India, yet does not miss any opportunity to defame the country at every national or international forum where you're invited to speak.

Another aspect of you is equally intriguing. On one hand, you keep pointing fingers at all the organised institutions (nation-state, democracy, free-market economics and religion) that govern society, but on the other, you never have an alternate path to offer. Now, how on earth can anyone take you seriously for your paragon of virtue-like analysis of the socio-political system?

Finally, which political movement do you want to join? After all, you don't believe in any present state institution or in an idea of governance that gives rights to people to get into any such movement. Is it not like a person who breathes but says he does not need a nose to survive?

Any political movement can only be conceived within an institutional framework of nation-state and democracy. In your own manufactured world, only illogical protest can happen to steal temporary media attention.

I hope to see many more theatrics from you. Because the more you (and others like you) thrive, flourish and do what you're good at doing, the more Indian democracy will pass the test of its resilience, and it'll rise up to a new level.

Sincerely,

Ajitabh Das

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