ARUNDHATI ROY: India is a corporate Hindu State

Previously, she has said India is not a democracy. That regular elections do not make a democracy. That the middle and upper classes have seceded from India and are living in a country all their own.

As India’s red corridor turns redder, pockmarked by ambushes, encounters, fake encounters, rape, torture etc, the author and activist Arundhati Roy talks to Karan Thapar for CNN-IBN:

“I see a government breaking every sort of law in the Constitution that it has about tribal people and assault on the homelands of millions of people and some, there is a resistance force that is resisting that…. I see the government absolutely, as the major aggressor.

“As far as the Maoists are concerned, their ideology is an ideology of overthrowing the Indian State with violence. However, I don’t believe that if the Indian State was a just state, if ordinary people had some minor hope for justice, the Maoists would just be a marginal group of militants with no popular appeal….

“Forget the Maoists. Every resistance movement, armed or unarmed, and the Maoists today are fighting to implement the Constitution, and the government is vandalising it…. I perceived them [Maoists] as a group of people who have at a most militant end in the bandwidth of resistance movements that exist in the cities, in the planes and in the forests.

“Their ultimate goal, as they say quite clearly, is to overthrow the Indian State and institute the dictatorship of the proletariat…. I don’t support that goal in the sense that I don’t believe the solution to the problem the world is in right now will come from an imagination either communist or capitalist….

“I believe that the Indian State has abdicated its responsibility to the people. I believe that. I believe that when a state is no longer bound, neither legally nor morally by the Indian Constitution, either we should rephrase the preamble of the Indian Constitution which says we are a sovereign, democratic, secular republic. We should rephrase it and say we are a corporate, Hindu, satellite State.

“Or we have to have a government which respects the Constitution or we change the Constitution.”

Read the full text of the interview: India is a corporate, Hindu state

Arundhati Roy: ‘What Muslims were to BJP, Maoists are to Congress’

‘India is not a democracy’

‘Elections do not make a democracy’

‘Middle and upper classes are in their own country’

The media, the message and the messengers

***

CHURUMURI POLL: Will the State beat Naxals?

An open letter to home minister P. Chidambaram

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40 Responses to “ARUNDHATI ROY: India is a corporate Hindu State”

  1. Indu Ramesh Says:

    Why doesn;t she just psck her bags and go where she can live with her kind of people? She will not be heard or tolerated anywhere in the world. It is India that is giving her space.

  2. Gokulam 3rd Stage Says:

    The idiot speaketh, again.

  3. div Says:

    why does CNN IBN keep interviewing this lady? Who is she? What are her accomplishments? What has she done for poor people?

  4. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Whether you agree with her or not, she makes you think:

    http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?267040

  5. Mysore Peshva Says:

    Arundhati Roy has expertise in nothing, but a comment on everything. There’s a word for folks like her: “Pseudo-intellectuals.”

    Her interview is full of bluster in the garb of analysis.

    I agree with Ms. Roy that the government has, generally, “refused to listen to non-violence” for the last 25 years. There is enough evidence, economic and otherwise, to support that claim.

    But many of her other claims are utter nonsense. For example, she says “the government has expanded the definition of Maoists to mean everyone who is disagreeing with it.” Or the vague accusation of “the incredible injustice that is being perpetrated by the Indian State.”

    I’d like to ask this self-righteous lady, how are we supposed to deal with violent fanatics, sworn to another party’s physical annihilation, like the Maoists or Islamists? By letting them overthrow our civilization and our culture? By destroying all avenues of debate and discussion? By eviscerating basic democratic processes and institutions? The Maoist ideology, like the Islamist, is inimical to freedom of any sort. It needs to be crushed through multiple methods — economic, logical, and if necessary, arrests of its leaders.

    I suspect armchair critics such as ms. roy have little desire to preserve the best of india’s culture and democracy — because they refuse to relate with it. in all of their bluster they have little constructive to offer.

  6. Jaya Says:

    Would she have had a venue for all her thoughts if she did not win the Booker prize?

  7. Alok Says:

    yawn. Next act.

  8. Pulikeshi the Last Says:

    AG is right. Whether we agree with her or not, she is worth listening to. Calling her names or asking who she is not the same thing as disproving her.

  9. Narayana Says:

    1.Arundhati is a very very good writer but an equally disappointing speaker. She draws flak as and when she speaks because she assumes that TV viewers have the same level of reasoning as readers of her essays. Somehow she is not able to crossover the chasm that lies between her viewer and herself because average TV viewer has mental ability of a high schooler. And this works to the detriment of her cause.
    2. Mainstream India thinks that they stand to gain when tribes are evicted from their property. Well this may be true in some extent, most of the loot will go to kings in Delhi and not to my India( borrowing a phrase from the prince of two nation theory)– Problem with this kind of reasoning is that our ancestors too thought that their life will improve when British screwed the neighboring kingdom. True democracies would never have tolerated helicopter gunships being sent to subjugate one of their own. So Arundhati has a difficult task of reasoning with urban masses who see that forests of chattisgarh are ripe for plucking by urban India.
    3. Media believes in sensationalism and not rationalism. Words loose their meaning when something is sensationalized and instead it will be the receiver’s interpretation of the words which would have a definite meaning otherwise.– Read the headline again and again.. I feel nothing what Arundhati said can be construed as false.
    Tribals have their own gods and they really do not worship Rama/Krishna to that effect they are not Hindus..Tribal land is being acquired for corporate benefit and whatever Delhi is doing is as good as creating satellite satrops.. However mainstream media will never bother to understand the import of words but resort to sensationalism.
    4. Those who brand her idiot need to read through her essays .. AG has provided one link above.. But I advise you to start from “Come September”. Arundhati provides a consistent explanation for her actions.. and it is a true humanist voicing dissent on an unmitigated and all powerful power. To that effect Arundhati represents hope for humanity but humanity itself is misunderstood in our quest for 10% GDP growth even though this growth is bypassing a large part of India.
    5. To those who are asking why she is not offering to mediate ( I watched that interview and she was evasive whenever Karan tried to talk her into being an emissary..) Think for a second that earlier emissary was murdered in cold blood.. so she has right to refuse because GoI has always been dishonest.

    When you are confused with arguments and anti arguments use Gandhi’s test.. Think of the poorest of the poor and see if the decision puts a smile on his face. I think GoI only cares smiles on those who already own massive swiss bank accounts and their callousness gets bolstered by urban India somehow thinks that Maoists are their enemies whereas true enemies are topi wearing political class which has hijacked constitution repeatedly and is becoming brazen day by day.

  10. J Vachani Says:

    She makes good points about the Indian state abdicating its responsibilities in addressing the needs of the people. But then she allows her visceral hatred of Hindus to make stupid comments like “India is a Hindu state” and calling, in the Outlook article, the VHP “fascist proselytisers” (in light of the Kandhamal riots) without once being challenged or providing evidence. Our politically correct media too shys away from straight talking – when Christian proselytisers in Kandhamal operate with impunity, there’s no chirp from Ms Roy! When Maoists shot dead the VHP leader (leading to the riots) and acknowledged in so many words by Ms Roy in the Outlook article, there’s no chirp. It is this pseudo-secularism of the media that is unconscionable.

  11. neokarma Says:

    Arundhati Roy is one of the biggest hypocrites in India. She enjoys all the materialistic benefits, while speaking against it. And there are enough buyers for such drivel.

  12. Sudhir Says:

    Much as her monologues are long winded, she has a point and one which most of us don’t like.

  13. karihaida Says:

    “India is a corporate hindu state ” If only we can put that into our constitution, replacing the BS that we have now …

  14. Complex Says:

    @Narayana

    I agree with all you have said. But, when she says that India is a corporate Hindu state, I can’t take it. Since when has India become a Hindu state? The people who are plundering the forests are doing out of desire for money, and the desire for money cuts across religions. Where does “Hinduism” come in all of this?

  15. Goldstar Says:

    West Bengal is equally affected by Maoism. Has it been ruled by a Corporate Hindu state for the past 30+ years?

  16. VALALE SUBBANNA Says:

    64 years of Democracy succeeded in creating 49 billionairs,but ignored the plight of tribals.Only in democracies like India we often here rags to riches stories and new thugs such as Ambani,agarwal ,reddies.If thease thugs order tomarrow they will get tax benifits,sez s and what not ? But even if Supreme court orders to distribute rotting food grains to the poor Pm cautions not to interfere in policy matters.

    Thanx CNN IBN and OUTLOOK for providing a platform to AR to unmask the corporate India.

  17. Ravindra Says:

    The “Hindu” reference is a ploy – oft repeated – to put an already pseudo-secular UPA Govt in an even more defensive position and make further overtures to the minorities.

    Karan Thapar was a pale shadow of himself. He just wasn’t asking the right questions – which is quite expected, when it comes to guests like Arundhati Roy. His cutting edge interviewing comes to fore only when he interviews people from the BJP!

  18. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Narayana,

    Agreed about her not being TV-savvy. I once saw her interview on NPR in the US, where the interviewers were sympathetic to what she was trying to explain, yet at key points she seemed to lose her cool and seemed to be making accusations against the Indian state. TV is different from books or newspapers, since we give as much importance to the body language of the person as the content of what they have to say. Most often, we dont care for truth on TV – emotions are more important. And then Arundathi seems to rub you off the wrong way, especially if you are an Indian watching what she is saying.

    At that time, I felt she was so wrong.

    But slowly and surely she is getting her message. e.g. I used to doubt what she said and naturally thought whatever she said was BS. But now I dont. She has many good points, which nobody seems to have answers for – besides calling her names and using the usual ad hominem attacks. And the thing is she walks the walk – she actually goes to areas where the tribals are fighting their fight and tells their story. This is unlike most of the armchair journalists and writers (churumuri forums included), who just sit and analyze based on facts mostly fed to them by the Indian state, army and political parties. Just because the 100 million tribals dont have a way to tell their story, does not mean they dont have one.

    Even on these forums where mostly upper caste, privileged Indians (like us) who think that tribals are a nuisance who just want to convert to Christianity and should be either prevented from doing so or eliminated – there seems to be a change. At least some of us wonder now, how the tribals who are also citizens of our country, are being made to face machine guns and helicopter gunships for just fighting for basic rights which is supposed to be guaranteed to them by our constitution. And when they try to ask for what is justly theirs in other means of protest, they are beaten and raped.

    What do you expect a people to do when faced with oppression? Curl up and die?

    On things like corruption people will say a great deal of things, but when it comes to denying tribals their rights and treating them like sub-humans, we dont seem to have any problems. Maybe that is just human nature – we consider tribals as ‘others’ who dont deserve the same things that we take for granted in life.

  19. Pattu Says:

    She did have points to make us all think!

  20. Raghavendra Says:

    She is a true blue Christian, nothing more, nothing less. Accusing India of Hindu state is just a way of making our Psuedo Secular rulers more defensive and make them grant more concessions to their agenda.

    I don’t how of you are following this story of ethnic cleansing of Hindus from Bengal village, under the leadership of Trinmool MP. So, this is the so called Hindu State..

    http://dailypioneer.com/282399/BACKPACK/BACKPACK.html

    “We came here from Bangladesh about a decade ago to escape religious persecution. Will you make us homeless again? Is there no justice, no security, in democratic India?”

  21. Anshuman Patel Says:

    Ms. Roy is a rebel without a pause but admittedly with some good causes. The problem is the hyperbole and sweeping generalizations that are employed in her interviews and writings.

    The truth is that she makes many of us the middle-class folks damn uncomfortable. She yanks us out of our comforting homes and then hoses us down. That’s the problem. Then many start hollering ‘who let the Roy in?’.

    So the reactions match her provocative statements and often descend into horrible name-calling. Sadly the middle-path is no longer fashionable and anyone who talks about is a sissy. Everyone has a revolution at hand and no takers for evolution.

  22. Raghavendra Says:

    I agree her causes are valid. Anybody will agreee that tribals should get justice. But why cant she take on Chidambaram who is advisor to Vedantha? That will be very hard. So just blame Hindus in general, she gets her share of publicity, possibly a padma award etc.

    She is not just another activist. According to her, every problem in this country has some connection with BJP or Hindus. Thats ridiculous. Thats where she loses the respect. What the heck she means by India is a Hindu state whereas her Christian brethern have taken Hindus for a ride all along.

  23. karihaida Says:

    Does anyone how I can become a tribal ? Can I simply go into a forest and start living there and then label myself as a tribal ?

  24. vasanth Says:

    One of the best article in recent time. Arundati Ray is right. We are seeing what BJP in state and Congress in Central are doing. We should join our hands with Arundati Roy to voice more against the capitalist mindset of our politicians.

  25. Narayana Says:

    @Goldstar,

    Thanks for bringing Bengal and Naxalism to the discussion.

    Naxalism had roots in landless farmers.( At that time if I remember correctly only 2% of farmers had own lands) Chachaji wanted Jamindari- a system of loot instituted by Mughals and strengthened by British.. to continue forever so that all those Industrialists who were feeding chachaji can loiter in luxury for generations. Naxalbari was a wake up call. Operation Barga (1977) which redistributed land among landless dampened Naxalism. So cause of Naxalism predominantly was landless farmer and Naxalism waned when this was addressed.

    However Maoism seems to be stemming from loot of tribal land by government of India.. In that effect this is different from Naxalism. Naxalism was a fight between have not majority and have minority.
    Whereas Maoism seems to be fight between have not minority(tribals make up 8% of India ) and have minority(Kings in Delhi)..” Likely to have some bread crumbs” majority is supporting Kings in Delhi with the hope that Delhi kings may throw some morsels at them after killing all the tribals.
    Naxalism could get solved by ballot box because it was majority that was aggrieved.

    However Maoism can be solved only if decentralization as Gandhi had evisaged takes place and Panchayats got their due share of power in stalling unjust land acquisitions.

    Do not read too much into “Hindu state” ..What AR is telling is we are redefining democracy to be “majority ruled state” and trampling down on 8% minority who truly truly own those forests.

    Do not believe in what Government feeds you.. Think over what I said and give me feedback.

  26. Anonymous Guy Says:

    KH,

    ‘Can I simply go into a forest and start living there’

    Try it if you really mean it – you might learn the answer by yourself instead of asking on the internet.

  27. karihaida Says:

    @AG,
    are you sure I wont be evicted by the local tribal mafia ?

  28. Vinay Says:

    IMHO, one of the prime causes for several of our issues: naxalism/Maoism, current farmers Protests in UP, etc. is the land acquisition policy. Industries and businesses must buy the land directly from farmers/tribals/whoever, at the market rate. The Government must stop acquiring land at ‘Government rates’ and providing it to industries on a platter.

    If this is fixed, my feeling is that a lot of these problems will gradually melt away.

  29. twistleton Says:

    Narayana has it pat.

    The reason why Roy is hated and reviled by most is because she puts some inconvenient truths in front of the Great Indian Middle Class.

    The media could chose to tread the difficult path of sensitizing the educated towards issues that do not impact their lives directly. And also to investigate responsibly atleast the possibility of an alternate explanation for a burning issue. If used intelligently the press can use its freedom to resolve issues, rather than labelling people or groups of people as threats.

    But the media seems to find it more lucrative to either prey on the fears of the well-established or offer false assurances that its viewer audience
    is safe from the bad naxals.

    As the media doles out government-approved, pre-digested brain food it is upto us to expand our horizons a bit and try to understand a way of life far-removed from our own.

    I think that is what Roy is trying to point out when she calls us a Hindu State; the untiring efforts of all governments to homogenise the thought process of the general popultion so that they may continue unabated in their quest for total control.

    As a democracy we must treasure above all, our differences, including those of thought. Just because the tribals do not want to leave the forests does not mean they are uncivilized.

    Nothing can be better for the future of mankind if all of us did, as someone suggested lived in forests or atleast lived closer to nature; but that is EXACTLY the problem. We live in an age and space where we cannot live independent of the general tide of lifestyle, thought and practices. We have been swept into our current spate of consumerism, we have been dragged willy-nilly into concrete jungles, and now that we are accustomed to this, we are reluctant to change and are content to let someone else think for us.

    The freedom to chart our own course diappeared when our leaders had to perforce, amalgamate us into the global market, so we live how the global markets dictate. Add to this greed and corruption, bigotry and propoganda, and you have the reason for the current mess we find ourselves in.

  30. Anonymous Guy Says:

    KH,

    I am not sure of that. What I am sure of is you wont go anywhere or find out anything about tribals or scheduled tribes and just want to talk.

    Just read Arundathi Roy :)

  31. Anshuman Patel Says:

    @Vinay,

    >>IMHO, one of the prime causes for several of our issues: naxalism/Maoism, current farmers Protests in UP, etc. is the land acquisition policy.

    This applies to holders of land rights but not to tribals who are in the midst of this Maoist/Naxalite debate.

    Many of the tribals do not hold any land or forest rights. This ‘rights’ regime is new to them and part of our vocabulary. For them it was just their way of life.

    Hence they can easily be eased out and be read the development act. Then they can be told about the glory of 2BHK units in a suburb of a city or a Metro and marched out.

    No rights, no litigation, no discussions, no negotiations and hence no compensation. That’s the scene today. The Recognition of Forest Rights Act in 2006 tried to address this issue but then as with many Acts this too hasn’t been much effective.

    So the bottomline is simple. When land is acquired or a farmer in plains is evicted, he can go to courts, hold gheraos, burn buses and tyres on the highways and generally make life uncomfortable for us. But for tribals none of the means of ‘peaceful’ protests are available.

  32. karihaida Says:

    AG,
    I thought Ms Roy was talking about tribals and not ‘scheduled tribes’,isn’t it? You seem to have lapped up all the Roy talk. This is the year of Avatar isnt it :)

    BTW how do you actually differentiate between a tribal and a forets squatter? Would you also classify Veerappan as a tribal fighting for his rights?
    Some slightly informed ‘tribals’ see this as an opportunity to make a quick buck and Ms Roy is doing the job for them for free. The first ones get the major cut, just like any reservation. Whoever becomes the ‘cream’ tribal will be well off while the rest will continue in whatever condition they were in. Atleast industrialization might provide a better opprotunity for a large number of them …

  33. Anonymous Guy Says:

    KH,

    Sure, but why the bullets, BSF, army and gunships?

    100 million tribals live in India. Many of them are demanding basic rights and protesting in various means to protect their way of life.

    If you want to bring in Veerappan into this to amuse/divert yourself you can do so, I dont think either Arundathi Roy or anyone else is talking of one individual here.

    BTW Did you read Arundathi Roy’s article? And why did you not lap it up?

    At least industrialization… Well they will be a judge for that, not you or me right? Especially when the said industrialization brings no ownership to them but wants to use the land they live on?

    BTW look up the term scheduled tribes and you will understand its relation to tribals.

  34. Anonymous Guy Says:

    KH,

    Also see Anshuman Patels comment above in response Vinay’s thought.

  35. kishore Says:

    the girls got guts and brain.But i am surprised at the number of protests by the hindus.
    She should take on the religious poison that is going to destroy all of us.
    But that may be too dangerous a game

  36. raj Says:

    she is crazy lady who wish to make india a marxict country. and she loves non hindus

  37. Ravindra Says:

    @kishore:
    “the girls got guts and brain.But i am surprised at the number of protests by the hindus.”

    guts? What guts does it take to talk against the Indian state? zilch. If you have guts, speak against a state like Saudi Arabia and then tell me….

    brain…..? duh….

    Surprised at the number of protests by the hindus? …

    Well, I guess someday this was bound to happen. How long did you expect them to remain a silent spectator? When India is nowhere close to being a Hindu state, forget that, its more of an Islamic country, if anything, (with a non Hindu head of state, official as well as unofficial who says that minorities have first right to resources of the country), the Hindus dont get any rights which they might have had, if the country had indeed been a Hindu state. Yet, they have to hear accusations from people like Roy that we are a Hindu state. And you want Hindus to grin and bear it?

    “Religious poison”? Well, she can make a start with some of the Islamic countries – there is religious poison there as well, isnt it? atleast the scale of “Islamic terrorism” is far far more than the scale of the “saffron terrorism” which, incidentally, our “Hindu state” Home Minister was getting worried about recently.

  38. twistleton Says:

    KH,
    what does a forest squatter even mean? are there no squatters outside the forests??

    Ravindra,
    religion is an extension of politics, learn to read between the lines

    whether the Naxals are right or wrong does not matter. The point is there are a lot of disgruntled and highly pissed off people who will stop at nothing. And their numbers if anything are increasing.

    This is not the time to throw around labels and flex muscles. The naxal issue is a time bomb that was waiting to happen. Being self-righteous in not going to help anything.

    All of us have contributed to the neglect of the people who do not fit our sterotypes. For that we will have to pay.

  39. Abhishek Mawle Says:

    NO, The government should not crack down on sedition related speech. In fact I would say no country, community or society should do that, remember the societies or countries which practice gagging of people not progress economically, technologically or socially since inclusiveness of democracy is missing. Pakistan, United States are shining examples of it and you could see what they are facing now economic depression, terrorism and all other unimaginable problems to name a few. I need to question your elitist support. I need to reverse your question do we live in a utopia or India? Please respond to my question what kind of service do you get at a typical Indian government office? Is our so called democratic government for the people or is it for the Netas, Babus and Lalas? Try to understand if tribals, villagers with no life surviving skills are asked to surrender their farming lands for road widening projects, Infrastructure projects on the promise of being given a compensation which would all be usurped by our bureaucracy under one pretext or other or just due to the attitude of the babu’s that money is not for me so I will not let it go to others till they give me sufficient commission. You just say that police officers are being killed but you never asked what they do to villagers to receive such kind of treatment. Do you think Indian police force is transparent, sincere let me make it easier for you the answer is absolutely no. Try to understand if tribals, villagers with no life surviving skills are asked to surrender their farming lands for road widening projects, Infrastructure projects on the promise of being given a compensation which would all be usurped by our bureaucracy under one pretext or other or just due to the attitude of the babu’s that money is not for me so I will not let it go to others till they give me sufficient commission. What the government agencies need to do is list all their correspondence, decisions on the web so every person of India can see and understand what is happening really at the ground level and if necessary raise voice to correct it. Government of India needs to have pubic debates in media. So there is transparency and everyone’s needs are addressed and then decision taken would bear any fruit till or Alternatively, this one way road will definitely escalate to violence and even full scale civil war because the people at the top very well know if their objectives are sincere or to have free ride with corporates.The government needs to first train this villagers and tribals of life skills, impart them education and give them compensation promptly and ensure their smooth transition from agriculture to other modern professions and also oversee there is no bureaucracy and corruption in this process by publishing everything in web and media. Do you know, A 2007 report by the state-run National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) found that 77% of Indians, or 836 million people, lived on less than 20 rupees per day (USD 0.50 nominal, USD 2.0 in PPP), with most working in informal labor sector with no job or social security, living in abject poverty. These people are poor not absolutely because these people are foolish it is because these people were never given an honest opportunity to rise out of their situation by the Government. I never want to drive my car over the land of such people who lives were ruined by me I would rather prefer to walk with them than be one more exploiter using the name of development.

  40. Vidyut Says:

    I don’t believe that a person who deliberately courts contempt of court, who promotes anarchy and who dissociates herself from the country she lives in can comprehend democracy, because democracy is about participation and co-creation. The best answer to her tripe is the Bihar polls. Maoists did try to derail them, and failed. The best answer to her tripe is the Kashmir polls. Separatists did try to derail them and failed. Is it any surprise that we find evidence of ISI support to both Maoists and separatists? And what did it achieve other than grief for the common man, while the perpetrators of their misery crafted their agendas in safety. It is easy to destroy. Difficult to nurture. The question isn’t whether Kashmir is a part of India or not, or Kashmir gets freedom or not. The question is if this attitude will ever lead to joy at the end of this ghastly tunnel? Ask China.

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