Booker Winner's India Bashing Pleases some, Puzzles Many
Controversy’s favourite child, former Booker prize winner Arundhati Roy has done it again: Slam India and provide the great Indian mainstream media what it loves most -- yet another controversial statement to fuss over. Roy has just criticized New Delhi for being too possessive of Kashmir and denying Kashmiri people’s right to self-rule. According to her, Kashmir was never an integral part of India.
The statement has had the nation fuming for past 2 days and Roy has been the reigning queen of the Indian media, as well as all the coffee table discussions.
Roy, the winner of 1998 Booker prize for her debut novel ‘God of Small Things’ first lashed out against Indian policy makers in 1998 after the country had its second nuclear test. Since then, in past 1 and half decade, she has meticulously increased her attacks against successive governments and each time her voice has been more severe than before. The issues she has spoken on are mostly political: Government’s internal security policy, populist promises by political parties and India’s policy on Kashmir - her latest.
While this has helped Roy earn some friends in the radical groups, who are happy to see the globally known writer speaking out against the political lobby, it has also earned her a large number of enemies – probably more than she can handle. And lapping up the mud-slinging between her friends and her enemies is the mainstream media, especially the TV stations who do not mind dedicating several minutes of their precious airtime to show Roy belching out her now well popular(and according to some, well practiced) anti-India lines.
Stuck between the fans and foes is a different segment of people who wonder if Arundhati Roy really means to democratize the system or if this is just a smart and unique Public Relations exercise. Her last ( and also her first) book had an abrupt end which many considered as a deliberate act on Roy’s part. Speculation was rife about Roy writing a sequel. But over a decade has passed by and there has never been another book. At the same time, Roy hasn’t been living a secluded life. In fact, she has been in the limelight more than ever before, making perhaps more headlines than she did when she won the Booker.
However, despite all her comments and criticism, Roy has not joined any social movement group. She has not spoken directly against a failed development project or a real grass root concern. She has mostly chosen to speak when there is a good media turnout. Hence, the question on her real purpose.
While her purpose is continues to be doubted, there is something very clear about Roy: She is not going to be the one book- wonder lady who was quickly forgotten. Instead, she will be remembered as the woman who was either loved or hated, but never ignored and, certainly not easily forgotten.
Tags: Arundhati Roy , Booker Winner , India Bashing , Pleases , Puzzles , Controversy , Behind The Bar , National Integrity , Democracy , Patriotism
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