She is a goddess who tried to give long legs to her small lies. Not surprisingly, Arundhati Roy often leaves a chink in her armour. Her family is one of the four who had been served notices by a local court in Madhya Pradesh for prima facie encroaching upon a tribesman'sland. A local Tehsildar court in Pipariya of Hoshangabad district, Madhya Pradesh issued notices to four families including Arundhati Roy'sto remove their cottages, by July 7, built upon a land belonging to a tribesman named Vijay Singh Desh.
Vijay Singh Desh is a poor tribesman whose land had been usurped by four townspeople who built their cottages and constructed a road on that land. Ultimately, he found himself marginalised (or turned into minority) in his own land, with nothing but his hut standing. The poor man had pleaded all four families to vacate his land but to no avail. Finally, he complained to Sub Divisional Magistrate Niaz Ahmed Khan in May last. The SDM, on investigating the matter found the complaint to be valid. He referred the case, along with his findings, to the court of Tehsildar ML Solanki. The Tehsildar had warned of appropriate action against all four if they failed to dismantle the encroachment by July 7.
Arundhati Roy might rest assure that Indian democracy is not as lurid as she want to it portray for popular consumption. The instruments of the state work still. She had been validating the Maoist menace by saying it is a reaction to ?illiberal democracy? in India. In an interview with Tehelka weekly (06/05/2006) says -?The Maoist phenomenon has arisen because people have had doors of the liberal, democratic institutions slammed in their faces. To dismiss them all as extortionists and free-loaders is not just deeply apolitical, it'sextremely unjust??.
In this case, it is easy to see, who slammed the door on a poor person and who responded. Arundhati Roy shows more than fair share of concern for people relocated, displaced or relocated by developmental projects. She unveiled her new avatar as anti-dam activist with an essay ?The Greater Common Good? in The Outlook magazine in April, 1999. She collaborated with Medha Patkar'sNarmada Bachao Andolan that has been opposing the construction of Sardar Sarovar, and became a socialist celebrity. Interestingly, Medha Patkar'sown position is now turning indefensible.
Following the India TV scoop, reports are emerging in the media that how NBA activists received funds from abroad to sabotage the Sardar Sarovar Project. It is highly likely that a conspiracy against India'sdevelopment is afoot, aided by inimical foreign powers. The activists of NBA created a terror regime for villagers who accepted compensation from the government. The UPA government might drop Medha like hot cake any day. Recently, NBA activists were arrested while trying to meet Sonia Gandhi.
Arundhati Roy is against ousting anyone, even Bangladeshi infiltrators from India. ?IMDT is one more law that made poor illegal? Roy had said while addressing a meeting in New Delhi on August 10, 2005, organized by paradoxically named ?Citizen'sForum? which seemed to protect the non-citizens at the cost of citizens.
Some four years ago I had a clash in print with Arundhati Roy. The occasion was the Gujarat riots that had come as a windfall to ?secular? brigade'spublicity campaign. Those ?secularists? are no where visible, not even with a telescope, when Hindus are killed in Doda. Roy, in her article Who'sshe when she is at home? (The Outlook May 6, 2002) had given a vivid account of a mob attack on house of ex-Congress MP Iqbal Ehshan Jafri, who was unfortunately killed in the riots. Roy gave a graphic detail-?mob broke into the house. They stripped his daughters and burnt them alive?.
This event became a media-occasion for Roy to demonise Hindutva. But those who had read The Asian Age (May 2, 2002) would not have been impressed because in it late Ehshan Jaffri'sson T.A. Jaffri said -?Among my brothers and sisters, I am the only one living in India. And I am the eldest in the family. My sister and brother live in the US. I am 40 years old and I have been born and brought up in Ahmedabad?. So Roy was describing the stripping and killing of Ehshan Jafri'sdaughter'sin Gujarat riots, who in reality were safe in another part of the globe.
Roy had begun her charter of hate with another damning description: ?Last night a friend from Baroda called. Weeping. It took her fifteen minutes to tell me what the matter was. It wasn'tvery complicated. Only that Sayeeda, a friend of hers, had been caught by a mob. Only that her stomach had been ripped open and stuffed with burning rags. Only that after she died, someone carved ?OM? on her forehead?.
Shocked by this despicable ?incident?, I got in touch with the Gujarat government. The police investigations revealed that no such case, involving someone called Sayeeda, had been reported either in urban or rural Baroda. Subsequently, the police sought Roy'shelp to identify the victim and seek access to witnesses who could lead them to those guilty of this crime. But the police got no cooperation. Instead, Roy, through her lawyer, replied that the police had no power to issue summons. Thus she hedged behind technical excuses. I took up this incident in my rejoinder published as Dissimulation In Word and Images (The Outlook, July 8, 2002).
Does Arundhati Roy practice what she preaches? On March 6, 2002 the Supreme Court convicted her criminal contempt of court ?symbolic imprisonment? for one day and pay a fine of Rs. 2,000; in default, to undergo a simple imprisonment for three months. She could have suffered three months imprisonment as a ?poor person? but chose to open her purse string to suffer only one day in Tihar. This time another ?small thing? has come up to mar as pseudo-goddess status.
Actually she is a typical ?Secularist? having little contact with nation'sethos, history and civilizational mooring. She is a beneficiary of globalisation and still she pretends to fight against it. To her Hindutva is communal, but Islamic fundamentalism is secular; India'sdemocracy is atrocious but Naxalism is reformist. When India goes nuclear, it a threat to regional and world peace but when China goes nuclear it is ?people'sbomb?. Mild police action against NBA is atrocious but Tiananmen Square is inevitable. The list is endless.
(The writer is a former Rajya Sabha member and can be contacted at [email protected])