Look who needs the Indian state!

So “mobile, independent republics” need the protection of a “corporate, Hindu, satellite state” Ha ha!

Others have written about Arundhati Roy’s latest, successful hijacking operation. Her cameo appearance in the service of the cause of Kashmiri Sunni Muslim separatism has transformed the debate from being about Jammu & Kashmir to being about freedom of speech (especially hers). So it is unclear whether the likes of Syed Ali Shah Geelani will invite her to speak at the next seminar they organise.

More seriously, while her remarks have backfired on the cause she ostensibly supports they have wildly succeeded in drawing attention to her—heck, even The Acorn is moved to write about her. But this post is not about her being more than just a rebellious self-promoting intellectual stuntperson. Nor is it about the wrongness of her angry opponents breaking her flower pots.

This post is about the vacuousness of her claims of personally seceding from India and declaring herself a “mobile, independent republic“. The problem with mobile, independent republics is that they don’t last more than as long as it takes to break a flower pot. For all her grandstanding against the Indian state, Ms Roy (well, her husband) “lodged a complaint at the Chanakyapuri police station, following which police personnel were deployed outside the residence.”

The mobile, independent republic couldn’t even protect itself. It (well, its husband) had no choice but to turn to the corrupt, human-rights-abusing, uniform-wearing personnel of “the corporate, Hindu, satellite state.”

But then, the mobile, independent republic has a case history of irony deficiency.

This incident tells you why Arundhati Roy is wrong at the most fundamental level. The Indian state might be imperfect, but presents the best way to protect the rights and freedoms of all its citizens. Its faults must be identified and publicised—not to build a case for its dissolution, but to organise efforts for its improvement.

7 thoughts on “Look who needs the Indian state!”

  1. Since when has the cost of a philosophy been an impediment to it being espoused? Or are you arguing those who expound a cause should suffer its cost though they have means at their disposal to alleiviate it? Or is it your case that those who put forward a theory have the onus to take it to reductio ad absurdum?

    Any which way, your argument makes no sense whatsoever.

    1. Seriously Dude,

      You are absolutely right. You are under absolutely no obligation to practise what you preach, taste your own medicine and suchlike. Doing so, however, opens one to the charges of charlatanism, hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty.

      And that is the point I make in this blog post.

      1. There is no preaching involved in rejecting the Indian State as an entity. That’s a philosophical position. And to seek the protection of the existing State when needed does not contradict the aforesaid position.

        Hypocrisy can exist only when the position turns into an ideology of sorts. Arundhati Roy may actually be accused (or whatever else the word here is) of the latter — but you do not accuse her of that in this post.

        So, I merely claim, your point is invalid within its context.

  2. Roy is justified in calling for police protection since, as a citizen of the ‘republic’ of India, on paper at least; she’s liable to get her ass jailed for any offenses she may commit. She took a risk and spoke the truth, one that makes ‘patriotic’ Indians really uncomfortable. It’s not a big deal if she wants police protection then, since the Indian state can just as well prosecute her; she is still a subject. It is not doing so because that would be bad press for the Indian government since Obama’s coming to India and we’re licking his backside like we know what he ate last night. So it’s a moot point that the article goes to make about her seeking police protection seem like hypocrisy on her part, although there’s a thin line there. But have you ever been at the other end of a raving mob?
    Far as hogging the spotlight is concerned, she’s already infamous given her past escapades, so she doesn’t seem to me the like she’s doing that. At least not for her own egoistic reasons, but for a legitimate peoples cause. Far as her speaking out loud against the atrocities of the Indian state. Well, her reasons are similar to those of any writers’; telling the truth.
    And, let’s be clear about one thing here; The Indian state is NOT looking at protecting it’s citizens. It’s only looking at its blood soaked growth rate while its shamelessly corrupt ‘leaders’/politicians are looking at filling their coffers as we sleep…
    So we’re on our own here and we need a Roy to be foaming at the mouth, coz her feral growls are keeping us awake and from drowning as the waters rise…

  3. I feel that while Roy presented only one point of view on Kashmir & India, we must not forget that she has drawn attention to the other side of the facts as well.
    Our problem is that we have ignored those facts conveniently for very long.
    If we are to progress as a nation, we must take those facts into account and fix them.

  4. We have argued on the lines of acorn and feel that sedition under any pretext needs to be taken to task. We like the publicity hungry Ms Roy not her self promoting tantrums borne out of perception management of the Goddess of Small things.

    The Indian state has plenty of problem to be solved – inflamatory misplaced passion is not one of them. Yes the pen is mightier than the sword and that is why pen in the hands of seditious authors is more dangerous than a terrorist with a grenade.

  5. To begin with, it is the alleged attack on Roy’s house was lead by a wing of the second largest party in Parliament, so it’s debatable whether she was turning to the Indian State for protection or running away from it!

    Secondly, and more importantly, the logical fallacy in your post is that you are confusing (with disastrous results) the message and the messenger. How the Indian State behaves towards a Booker Winning, internally celebrated author (who is, coincidently, a critic of the system) is hardly any yardstick to measure it by. What next? Will we be measuring the Pakistani State by how it treats the residents of Clifton, Karachi? The State’s relationship with Roy is not in conflict in any way with what Roy is trying to say.

    Thirdly, I hope you realise that this “irony”, as you choose to put it, is pretty commonplace. Just to give you an example, in 1930, the Congress, at its Lahore session, declared the British Indian Empire had “deprived the Indian people of their freedom but has based itself on the exploitation of the masses, and has ruined India economically, politically, culturally and spiritually”. Seven years later, Congress candidates stood for elections under this same very government and took their seats in various legislatures *swearing loyalty* to the King and the Empire! Only a extremely superficial view of events would term this move of the Congress to be “ironical”.

    Lastly, considering how disjointed and incoherent Roy’s message is, it is amazing how much heartburn she causes. It is a sad reflection of the state of political discourse in our country, I guess.

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