Niraj has a link to Arundhati Roy’s address to the World Social Forum. Not being able to produce anything remotely readable since her prize winning novel (which I must confess I did’nt read) she has devoted herself to fishing for reflected glory from all causes great and small.
She said a lot of stupid things in her speech – about ‘New Imperialism, New Racism, New Genocide’ most of which is an public expression of her unbearable discomfort of being. And she does not propose any alternatives. I just want to take up what she said about foreign & security policy.
In spite of convergence of values and interests, she would like India to be ‘non-aligned’ with the United States and Israel. Non-alignment may have been in India’s national interest during the Cold War, certainly not in 2004. There is nothing to be ashamed of entering into an alliance with like-minded countries, and so what if one of them is a superpower? I would put Roy’s cry for non-alignment as having been born out of a lack of confidence in India. As George Perkovitch wrote, India is no pushover and is fully able to resist external coercion. The fact that India was able to protect its interests at Cancun is testament to this fact. And here’s this from the New York Times
In 1992 the United States pressed Russia not to give India the technology for a cryogenic rocket. Two weeks ago, on Jan. 10, Indian engineers announced that they had successfully tested an Indian-built cryogenic engine.[Full Article]
She also trains her sights on the anti-terror legislation, and points out that it has been abused by the state machinery to harass all kinds of non-terrorist protestors. And that supposes the state does not abuse other laws to harass innocent people…and that terrorism is a lesser evil than the laws framed (democratically, I might add) to combat it. Chemotherapy hurts, but Cancer kills.
Any call for India to detach from the path towards globalisation will cause India to miss the bus again. I think she should stick to writing fiction.