Arundhati Roy exposes ‘shining’ India
Mohammad Jamil
3/21/2012

 

Arundhati Roy, a noted Indian author, novelist, activist and world citizen, in her latest treatise captioned ‘Capitalism: A ghost story’ has exposed India as well as America and the West by giving detailed account of their subterfuges and artifices in exploitation of the human kind. She writes: “In India the 300 million of us who belong to the new, post-IMF “reforms” middle class—the market—live side by side with spirits of the nether world, the poltergeists of dead rivers, dry wells, bald mountains and denuded forests; the ghosts of 250,000 debt-ridden farmers who have killed themselves, and of the 800 million who have been impoverished and dispossessed to make way for us. And who survives on less than twenty rupees a day”.

Aruhdhati’s treatise has been published on 19th March 2012 – the day the international media has carried a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) stating that India has become the world’s biggest importer of arms surpassing China by accounting for 10% of global arms sales volumes. Over the past five years, India’s imports of major weapons increased by 38% between 2007 and 2011, a Swedish security think tank said with Asia topping other regions in arms’ imports. According to SIPRI estimates India is likely to spend more than $100 billion on weapons and systems in the next 15 years. The report catalogued India’s major recent deals as 126 fighter jets and notable deliveries of other combat aircraft, including 120 Su-30MKs and 16 MIG-29Ks from Russia and 20 Jaguars from UK. Other deals include transport planes, submarines and a range of naval vessels, tanks, small arms and artillery. Indian economy was growing fast; its prodigious foreign exchange reserves and booming stock market painted a rosy picture of shining India, but recently its gross domestic product declined from more than 8 % to 6.5 %. Its nuclear agreement with America and defence cooperation with Israel have contributed to India’s military might, yet India can implode from within due to appalling poverty of millions who cannot afford two square meals a day.Arundhati Roy, in her treatise, blasted the capitalistic system, and criticized the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation, Carnegie Endowment Foundation and NGOs that work at the behest of the sole super power and are used in ruthless exploitation of the world. She writes: “As the IMF enforced Structural Adjustment, and arm-twisted governments into cutting back on public spending on health, education, childcare, development, the NGOs moved in. The Privatization of Everything has also meant the NGO-ization of everything. As jobs and livelihoods disappeared, NGOs have become an important source of employment, though many think otherwise. Of the millions of NGOs, some do remarkable, radical work and it would be a travesty to tar all NGOs with the same brush. However, the corporate or Foundation-endowed NGOs are global finance’s way of buying into resistance movements, literally like share-holders buy shares in companies, and then try to control them from within”.Arundhati Roy stands for the freedom of Kashmiris from Indian occupation. She has been reiterating that Jammu and Kashmir is not an integral part of India. Some time back, addressing a seminar organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) in Srinagar, she said, “I believe Kashmir is not an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. By describing the pro-freedom leaders in the Valley as separatists, India in a sense has already acknowledged that secession has taken place.” She has been vociferously advocating the cause of Kashmiris, and she did not mince words in stating that India had launched a protracted war to suppress the ongoing movement in occupied Kashmir by its military might. In an opinion piece in The Guardian after 9/11 attacks, when America had acted angrily and reflexively, she had written: “The bombing of Afghanistan is not revenge for New York and Washington. It is yet another act of terror against the people of the world.” Arundhati Roy was awarded the 1997 Booker Prize in Kerala, India for her novel ‘The God of Small Things’. The award carried a prize of about US $30,000. Prior to this, she won the National Film Award for Best Screenplay in 1989, for the screenplay of ‘In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones’. In January 2006, she was awarded the Sahitya Academy Award, a national award from India’s Academy of Letters, for her collection of essays on contemporary issues, but she declined to accept it in protest against the Indian Government toeing the US line by ‘violently and ruthlessly pursuing policies of brutalization of industrial workers, increasing militarization and economic neo-liberalization. She in fact emulated French intellectual and philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, who took an uncompromising stand against the attempt of France to keep any of its old colonies. He was called a traitor and his apartment was bombed. He, being a man of commitment stood with Algeria. Sartre wrote his autobiography ‘The Words” for which he was awarded Nobel Prize for Literature, but he refused to accept it taking the plea that he was a citizen of a country which was trying to crush freedom movement of Algeria. In case of Vietnam also, Sartre did not hesitate and be counted. When President Charles De Gaulle was advised to arrest Sartre for his traitorous role in Algeria, he replied: “How I can arrest Sartre; he is France”. It needs courage and conviction to uphold principles and values. By upholding the principle of commitment, Sartre is the conscience and consciousness of down-trodden humanity. His philosophy tears off the mask of cowardice, hypocrisy and opportunism. Aruhdhati also shows similar courage of conviction and remains committed to fight against colonialism and oppression. It is true what Arundhati Roy says that Kashmir has never been part of India, and Kashmir was once symbol of peace and tranquility where people belonging to different religions coexisted and lived together for centuries. But at the time of partition, the then Viceroy of India Lord Mountbatten and Jawaharlal Nehru manovered to get the state of Jammu and Kashmir occupied forcibly. Despite the United Nations Security Council resolutions giving the right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir, they have been denied this right. However, despite all odds, Kashmiris are determined to take their freedom struggle to the logical conclusion, and are willing to give any sacrifice to get rid of Indian yoke.