CHURUMURI POLL: Arundhati guilty of sedition?

The author turned activist Arundhati Roy has been a compelling and contrarian voice with her views going against conventional wisdom on Indian elections and democracy, Maoism, the nuclear bomb, poverty and so on. Even by her yardstick, has the Booker Prize winning writer bitten off more than she can chew on Kashmir?

In the first instance, at a seminar on “Azadi-The Only Way” in Delhi on Friday, Roy said Kashmir should get azadi from “bhookey-nangey Hindustan“. “India needs azadi from Kashmir as much as Kashmir needs from India,” she said, sharing airtime with hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

“India needs azadi from Kashmir and Kashmir from India. It is a good debate that has started. We must deepen this conversation and am happy that young people are getting involved for this cause which is their future. Indian Government is a hollow super power and I disassociate with it,” Roy said amid great applause from separatists. “Earlier we used to talk about our head held high and now we lay prostrate to the US. Kashmiris have to decide whether they want to be with or get separated from bhookhey-nangey Hindustan where more than 830 million people live on Rs 20 per day only”.

And on Sunday, in Srinagar, Roy went one step further, stating that Jammu & Kashmir was never a part of India and that India was a colonising power in the State since Independence.

“Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is a historical fact. Even the Indian government has accepted this,” she said.

The comments, testing the limits of liberalism, have drawn criticism. The BJP has slammed the Centre for allowing the azadi meet in Delhi, with the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, saying: “The right to free speech enshrined in the Constitution cannot be used against the country.”

The Union home ministry is said to be considering the charge of “sedition” with legal experts, and the Delhi police is likely to register the charge against the speakers.

Question: Has Arundhati Roy crossed the line with her Kashmir comments? Or is does free speech include the right to offend? By making the comments when the Centre has despatched its “interlocutors” after the recent round of violence, is Roy playing the Hurriyat line? Or should a mature democracy be able to face such criticism?

Arundhati Roy: ‘India is a corporate, Hindu State’

‘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’

Also read: Azadi advocates should be tried for treason’

Eight reasons why we should just let Kashmir go

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39 Responses to “CHURUMURI POLL: Arundhati guilty of sedition?”

  1. Alok Says:

    Are we still taking Arundhati Roy’s “statements” seriously?

    Do Kashmiris also take Arundhati Roy’s “statements” seriously?

    This is the babbling of a publicity hungry “celebrity”. She was famous for being famous long before Paris Hilton learned to use a video camera. This would be like prosecuting Shilpa Shetty for her opinions on cricket.

  2. Vijay Says:

    Ditto.. Alok’s comment above !!!

  3. austere Says:

    She is a bandwagon chaser.

    This is my considered opinion and I stand by this statement.

  4. LP Says:

    What’s the diff between her and the Thuggerays? Let both of them bark. That’s the bane of a democratic country. Let barking dogs bark.

  5. Bengalooru Haida Says:

    Yes, yes, yes!

    Here is a sensible take on how to deal with the petite lady.

    Now more importantly – Who is guilty of sedation of Govt. of Karnataka?

    Why is it in a deep coma ever since new kings on the soudha took over? Who is responsible for the apparently heavy dose of drugs?

    Dr. Yeddyurappa? Dr. V S Acharya? Dr. Sarvabhouma Bagali? Or is it our beloved Health minister dear Dr. Sriramulu? .

  6. Mysore Peshva Says:

    The Indian constitution protects her speech. The bar for seditious libel is very high, as it should be.

    But this woman is not wise. She also seems to be cunning, given her strategic and one-sided evocations of individuals’ rights. Her bluster in Outlook does not impress me, even though her first novel, The God of Small Things did many years ago. I am taken aback to read editor Vinod Mehta write in the latest Outlook that he is politically in the same corner as Ms. Roy. To me, Ms. Roy has little to zero credibility.

  7. prasad Says:

    She is like a professional dancer, will take money and dance to the tune of the Congress party and its interest…!

  8. Revu Naik Says:

    Arundhati Roy has not been an integral part of India for a long time… Sense has not been an integral part of Arundhati Roy for a long time. India needs Azaadi from Arundhati Roy as much as Arundhati needs independence from India.

  9. Doddi Buddi Says:

    Ah I get it! A Roy is the Paris Hilton of the book variety! So she insists on making these dirty tapes with obvious netherholes like Jill-Annie, Merry-Vase, and other Kashmir “is in our blood” types.

    A village idiot’s view of A Roy:

    1. Kashmir was never an integral part of India; it is an island.
    2. India was never a part of INDIA; it was imperialised.
    3. India is a not a democracy; it is a colony of MNCs
    4. I am happy to accept the Booker Prize because I like screwing people with money with my talents that include writing, speaking and saying whatever comes to mind.

    More…I looked up the origins of Booker prize of which A Roy is a proud winner….

    Booker-McConnell (formerly “Booker”) was the former sponsor of the Booker Prize for fiction established in 1968. In its day it was one of the biggest cash and carry companies in the United Kingdom, and also owned the supermarket chain Budgens. The company continues as Booker Group plc.

    Among other interests, it operated the sugar industry in Guyana (British Guiana before independence in 1966), running five Booker line ships, until it was nationalized circa 1970. After six months Booker was called back to market the sugar.

    Booker had a long history of exploitation of sugar workers through the indentured labour system during the 19th and 20th centuries. At its peak it controlled 75% of the sugar industry in British Guiana and was so powerful that a common joke was to refer to the country as ‘Booker’s Guiana’. In 1952 Jock Campbell took over the Chairmanship of the company and his Fabian social politics transformed it dramatically into a benevolent force providing major benefits for sugar workers. Jock Campbell was also instrumental in the setting up of the Bookers Author Division, which sponsored the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, now sponsored by the Man Group plc. [1]

  10. Manjunath Says:

    Yes sure, India needs freedom from her. Such craps have hurt the pride of India by speaking such things. She knows “such” views will be more important in this situation when Obama will be arriving in India soon. May be she is just trying to fill the role of Benazir, albeit trying to do so in more clever way.

    With her literary skills completely dried up, she needs such publicity stunts to keep herself in the fray for some Peace prize, if not for literary work.

  11. Indian Says:

    sorry for siding Roy here not that I’m a Great Fanatic of her, but Freedom Of speech cannot be taken of from anyone let that be A. Roy or a Foreigner in India, It offends people when they think its a little demoralising for indian pride…But, think abut this we dont really have to make it such a BIG thing her comments doesnt effect people in Kashmir. Let her say what she got to as long as its hand in hand with the Constitution.

    Let’s not make it Big..

  12. kaangeya Says:

    Bhookey-nangey Hindustan indeed! In the state of Jammu and Kashmir, it is Jammu that drives the economy, while it is the Valley of a Kashmir a mere sliver of a few 100 that lives off Central budgetary support and the blood sweat and tears of the people of Jammu. It is the bhookey nanga Hindustani who with his taxes and who with her labour sustains the thugs of the Kashmir Valley. Arundirty Roy is an ignorant little moron.

  13. Mysore Praje Says:

    A Roy i bet she is guilty. she hooks up with people like Geelani who wants to build an independent Kashmir based on his ‘LIQUOR BOTTLE’ theory he is a open advocate of Sharia law which has little or no respect for minorities and women. A roy identifies hersels with him ?? How much did he pay you to hook up with him………… HOOKER

  14. Vibhas K. Dhingra Says:

    The God of Small Things has got this big idea correct, am inclined to say.
    For if India is a truly enlightened democratic republic that we claim or aspire to be, then why worry, if Kashmir is another state in the federation or a friendly neighboring nation state. What should be of paramount importance is people who make it are happy, or have a chance at being so.
    Given that the process of integration is so painful, guess best idea to let go.
    We are a ‘leaver’ civilization, and about time we shed western ‘taker’ modes and mores of ‘forceful’ integration.

  15. Ramesh H Says:

    In our generation, two persons always go against to the majority opinion of our country. They are, Arundhati Roy and U.R. Ananthamurthy. They both think that talking against to the major opinion always boost them up. It used to be true once upon a time when socialism was roughly defined as against to majority. Easiest one is taking Muslims’ side and oppose America irrespective of the subject/issue in focus. Things changed in 90s and hardcore communists like Jyothi Basu adopted themselves to the reality but not these two. Day by day these two become irrelevent to laughing stocks.

  16. Arjun Says:

    She is a publicity monger and will be in news for all wrong reasons. She sympathises Naxals when they are killed and never say anything about the cops who lay their lives fighting them and doing their duties. Can someone please ask her to keep quiet instead of expressing her unwarranted views which will only further complicate the already burning issue??

  17. Complex Says:

    I agree with some of what Arundhati Roy says. But, when she accuses India of being a upper caste Hindu state and when she romanticizes the naxals including their leader, she loses me. When she says that because even India is now trying to follow China, and thus Charu Mazumdar’s philosophy was all along right, she loses me. When she gives no alternative to the present system and keeps criticizing ir, she loses me.

    If she was saying that Kashmir should be given azaadi even if she had not been popular, I would have had a lot of respect for her. But, I think what she is attempting to be a sort of Aung Suu Kyi. She knows that if she is arrested, there will be a lot of international attention because of her booker prize.

    One thing is for sure though. Since she has taken such a stance on Kashmir, Barkha Dutt will feel jobless for a while. Sorry Barkha!!

  18. twistleton Says:

    To all the wise people who left such honey drops of wisdom above I quote from Friends of Voltaire –

    I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

    She has appointed herself as the critic-in-chief of the government, for whatever reason, including one nagging suspicion that she’s been planted purposely by the govt itself to create fires that the govt can later put out and act the hero (paraphrasing from MJ Akbar here).

    However dear friends, dissent however extreme is vital in a democracy. Let a Kashmiri disagree with her, then I’ll think about disagreeing with her.

  19. shankar Says:

    similarly, the southern part of india should secede from bhhookey nangey india

  20. Narayana Says:

    Ms. Arundhati,
    I am a rationalist. I need reason before I make up my mind. I had almost made up my mind. But now since I have got confirmation I wanted to record it ..So this blog comment!!!
    It is strange that I read your essays. All of them!! From title to appendix and beyond. Your written words are magical. They are like the Kerala Monsoon you described in your first and only novel. They have no reverence to anything but wet everything they lash up on!! Your catharsis numbs the sharpest brains and words weaved together carry the zombie brains into the world where there is only skullduggery!!
    In my more recent life, I realize that I am getting this guilt trip more too frequently. Every time you open your mouth I get another cathartic guilt trip to the hinterlands of Nagaland, to the cherubic tribes of Bastar and so on. I am now addicted to your essays laced with dopey analogies and selective quotations. Like a clever lawyer who presents only her side of story.
    Addiction is bad! However tell it to an addict!!! Only way to get out of addiction is to have a powerful life changing experience on account of addiction. Something like slaying your own angel in one of the addiction binges!!! I was totally hooked to your dope that drizzled from likes of Outlook in all its torrential fury. But thank you for throwing me a life boat. Your statement that “Kashmir is not part of India” rehabs me completely. I am totally wide awake and full of my rationality!!
    Madam, you are so very wrong. Both as a citizen of India (they should put you in jail, you are a traitor) and an author.
    I am not sure of exact clauses to book you under law. There must be something similar to pledge of allegiance we keep repeating day in and day out in USA. Since constitution of India was a cut and paste job I am sure there will be similar pledge you would be in violation.
    But as an author, you are clearly at fault of not knowing the history. Do you know why Kashmir was the only state with special state not enjoyed by any of the 500 odd rags that got stitched into Indian quilt. Look no further, it was a Kashmiri in the guise of prime minister of India who ensconced a special status for his own state!! 1946, Gandhi’s poster boy “chacha” had lost nominations in 13 of 19 provinces to become prime minister (Vallabbhai Patel was undisputed leader to be heading India at that time)
    Chacha had made plans to return to Kashmir and was busy fomenting trouble in the valley by openly fighting war of words with King of Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh. Hari Singh was in favor of joining Indian union.
    But suddenly all that changed and after currying favors with another hoax who called himself “Father of Nation” Nehru suddenly became choice unopposed for the post of prime minister of India surprising everyone. That is when Maharaja Hari Singh developed cold feet. And Nehru idiot allowed a special clause!! It is this yuck of family that has been curse of India. It is this family that created Kashmir problem. If Nehru was from Gujarat we would have Azadi struggle in Gujarat. If Nehru was from Calicut. We will have azad Calicut. Take away special status.. Kashmir would have got integrated into India in no time!!! So rational explanation here Chacha made sure that Kashmir was a separatist entity to which he can parachute when Chacha’s deficit in cranium department become apparent. But it is sad that Gandhi got killed and Patel died and “Chachwad” got firmly ensconced to give “Nanga Bhukha Hindustan” to Arundhati’s dope!!!
    That brings this essay back to you Arundhati. You seem to be living in a hallucination or you are about to enter into menopause where harmones play spoil sport and create a make believe world where you think your own whim is a gospel from Mt Ararat.
    I stop buying your weed. I am fully recovered. I no longer crave at the corners of “outlook” to imbibe on your next essay laced with dope that almost I believed to be gospel. Not anymore. Here we part our ways. You go to jail and I go back to real life!!

  21. Hemanth Says:

    Arundhati Roy is basically talking about her brain when she wrote “The God of small things” :)

    Pseudo-intellectuals! Anything for publicity.. One thinks its cool to criticize the majority and this is not the first circus gig we are seeing of her.

    why am I even reacting to HER words in the first place? :)

  22. Anonymous Guy Says:

    While Arundathi Roy’s rants against India dont sound right, when one reads what she writes, there are a few points which no one else who matters seems to be giving much thought to at all (and not in the least our media, with a few exceptions) :

    – Though India is a democracy, there is a huge section of people, who do not have access (by design or just our ineptitude) to their basic rights with respect to education, ownership of land, access to justice and health. And now we the Indian state (for lack of better name) are not even letting these people to live on their own devices e.g. with farmers/tribals and the mining/industrial activity.
    – India has a huge problem with hunger, poverty, disease, over-population and social justice; and all indicators show that these problems are getting worse. But the government’s policies seem to be blind to this and seem to be hell bent on making the situation worse.

    And nothing much seems to be happening with regard to the above at the pace it has to happen. This is clear when we compare ourselves to China on the indicators such as hunger, poverty etc.

    Insurgencies all over India are a sign that this is not some far away problem, but a reality which we have to face up to sooner rather than later. Maoism, insurgencies in the North East, general restlessness of rural (and urban) poor. Kashmir can be added to this list, whatever one may say about Pakistani meddling or Muslim insurgency.

    So while she may be going overboard and tilting against windmills, there are few who are able to answer some of the valid questions she is raising or even asking the questions that she is.

    Making personal attacks on her or trying to make her shut up is fine, but I wonder how that would make the issues that she is raising to disappear.

    As Kabir said:
    Nindak Neare Rakhiye, Aangan Kuti Chaway.
    Bin Pani Sabun Bina, Nirmal Kare Subhay

    Translation from the net:

    Always keep the critic close to you.
    He will cleanse you better than soap and water can does

  23. G Says:

    Saali..jis thali mein khati hai usi mein ched karti hai

  24. ghataprabha Says:

    neither the 9 commentators so far nor I may take her seriously, but Arun Jaitley and even supposedly the Union Home Ministry is contemplating taking action. So there are those who want to see that this eccentric daughter of the nation is taught a lesson. The fact that this is even being politicized to the extent that both national parties are making noises to the effect that they won’t allow the outrage against national honor stand is a bit disturbing. as vehemently anti-state as her words have been, i concur with Mysore Peshwa that the bar for seditious libel should be high, much higher than this…

  25. wineye Says:

    Whats wrong with what she said ???

    We get so touchy feely about Kashmir.. its the history we have been poisoned in school.. tht “Kashmir hamara hai”

    The Kashmiri wud rather be with themselves than with either of her neighbors.. whtever it is.. its their call..

    At Ms Roy had the balls to speak up n use he own brains.. so easy to call her names.. it wud take atleast a couple of rational history books b4 even the idea can trickle down !!

  26. Somebody Says:

    Such Mir Jaffers should be put in solitary cell for five years to know the meaning of ‘Freedom’ so that it becomes a lesson to other such traitors. In the name of Freedom of expression, people misuse it.

  27. ERR Says:

    It should be treated as one of the one billion opinons that India has on cricket and now on CWG! Because she is a Bookha award winner doesn’t mean what all she says has to be taken seriously even if it merits compelling reading. To put her in jail is precisely what she wants with Western Press championing her cause and a Nobel Peace (?!) prize on sight one day.Make her irrelevant by ignoring her..!

  28. Narayana Says:


    You are absolutely right. I liked your earlier comment on languages too.

    India government should ignore this woman. Reason is that in the west she has supporters who might paint a totally different picture. The first step should be to separate her supporters from her.

    I was once a vehement supporter. But now I have deserted her as she almost talked about slaying an angel called India in one of her dope rides. So I have parted ways now!!!

    Intellectual supporters of her are rational and not rabid. You have to indulge Ms. Roy into a televised conversation and then expose her. That way India can deliver a double blow to this lady as well as Kashmiri separatists.

    The questions we need to ask this lady are.
    1) On what basis she thinks that Kashmir is not integral part of India,
    a) Is it because Kashmir is the only state with article 370.
    But is it not article 370 part of Indian constitution and hence that makes Kashmir part of India?
    b) if she says she does not mind article 370 but she objects to Indian colonialism

    We can pry open a much bigger discussion and completely isolate and checkmate this woman in hot flash.
    I want to ask her definition of colonialism. As per her definition states like California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Montana will be colonies of USA because they were acquired after war with Mexico. Ask her if she agrees with that.. and corner her to agreeing to that and her support from USA will vanish.
    Ask her if advocates being forth burkha wearing wife of a patan of Fedarally Administered Tribal Area .. corner her and get her into bad books of Taliban.
    Ask her if she feels Tibet is colonised by China.. Expose her and get her into bad books of Maos.
    Engage her into discussion and ask her questions like I listed to get her supporters to leave her.
    Do not arrest her. Instead follow with cameras whereever she goes and ask questions that will expose her and make her irrelevant.

  29. Angry Young Man Says:

    There are a few things common to all self proclaimed potty-mouthed pseudo-intellectuals in this country (whether or not they are patriotic):

    1. Most of them were educated in Christian institutions.
    2. Almost all of them come from a liberal arts, humanities background. I am not sure that logical, rational thinking is part of such training.
    3. None of them can comprehend or appreciate Hindu philosophy, ideals and values. Their idea of Hinduism and Hindu culture is not much different from the racist, dangerous and devious views of the erstwhile British rulers.

    There is a need in this country to encourage the development of educational institutions which can produce young men and women imprinted with the ideals of true Hindu culture and philosophy. Such young men and women will, in due course, be able to effectively ward off the untold damage to the Indian psyche that the likes of Arundhathi Roy, Barkha Dutt, Sagarika Ghose etc. are committing on a daily basis. The youth of the nation must be reminded of our glorious heritage, and that can become possible only by the right education.

    It seems that the institutions that churn out such brainwashed pseudo-intellectuals do so with the definite aim of committing intellectual atrocities in the country. Who are their masters, and what do they want?

  30. twistleton Says:

    Junagadh was given the option of plebiscite, why not Kashmir?

    @Angry young man

    Accusations of having washed-out brains can boomerang back to you :)

  31. nilesh Says:


    Article 370 is not only for j & k, but also for Himachal andNagaland.

    No Indian other than a kashmiri can buy property in Kashmir, However a Kashmiri can buy as many properties, so he buys up in Goa, Hampi and Kerala.

    What roy says is true, India needs freedom from kashmirs, lets us export biharis and tamils there in wholesale

  32. CS Says:

    550+ princely states were not given the option of plebiscite. So why Kashmir?

    If a call for an Islamic Kashmir gets support in the name of freedom of speech, then why not support the call for Hindu rashtra by Hindu orgs?

    If Geelani and other mullahs of the valley can get away with hate speech in the name of freedom of speech, then why not Modi?

    If Hindustan is bhooka nanga, then why take protection from police force of Hindustan?

  33. Kumar Says:

    Do not ignore her nor court her, for she is clever enough to make use of either situation. Likewise, do not give a damn about these prize winners who think they can yap just because they can string a few words in a better combination. She is a fiction writer after all.

    Kick her out of the country. Disown her(If we ever called her one of us)! The foundations or outfits that dish out these silly prizes can take care of her. Why doesn’t she fight for the rights of women in Saudi Arabia or for the equality for Indians in Malaysia. After all, ‘Booker Prize’ gives you the power apparently.

    She hates India. We Indians hate you. Its a no brainer.

  34. Bengalooru Haida Says:

    Heck…these many comments for a supposed non entity?

    Ofcourse many of the comments say that the lady should be left unnoticed and thus be broth stewing in her own juices.

    Yes, that’s the right approach. Publicity is like oxygen to many of such living beings. Is she the first one to defy constitution? We have a long list of such folks thumbing their nose at that. One example is from Mumbai..a famous family which is dead against dynasty politics..nope I am not talking about D company.

    Haven’t we lived with them and many of such disposition? Ignore them but deal with any real problems that may exist.

  35. Narayana Says:


    Article 370 text from most credible source (India government’s own nic site) is here.

    Article 370 applies only to J&K and no other state in India.

    There is lot of misinformation spread here. This problem of Kashmir is squarely because of incompetence of Nehru who mixed friends in politics and bedded Mount Battens to earn white points. Gandhi is equally to be blamed because he conned the nation into accepting a third rate person with no principles as India’s first prime minister.
    Sam Manekshaw ( Yes .. India’s first field marshal) recalls following prior to air force intervention in Kashmir to save what is now India’s Jammu and Kashmir.

    As usual Nehru talked about the United Nations, Russia, Africa, God Almighty,
    everybody, until Sardar Patel lost his temper. He said, “Jawaharlal, do you want
    Kashmir, or do you want to give it away? He (Nehru) said, Of course, I want
    Kashmir (emphasis in original). Then he (Patel) said, Please give your orders.”
    And before he could say anything Sardar Patel turned to me and said, “You have
    got your orders.” I walked out, and we started flying in troops at about 11 o’clock
    or 12 o’clock.

    read Prem Shankar Jha’s book on “Kashmir 1947 Rival Versions of History”

  36. Narayana Says:

    short answer.
    Because Junagad was Patel’s problem and he solved it.
    and Kashmir was Nehrus dream land and he messed it.
    long answer,
    UN resolution 47 asking for India and Pakistan to conduct a plebiscite was under chapter 6 and hence non binding to both the parties.(Had that been chapter 7, it would have been binding)
    Probably India’s envoy to UN. I believe it was that rascal menon who made a speech that lasted 8 hours!!!!! forgot to copy read the draft of resolution.
    (again this Menon was a disaster but got into important positions for being a friend of chacha)
    Pakistan had to vacate the occupied Kashmir and move out its tribals. India had to create a plebiscite commission (like election commission). Both India and Pakistan did not make any effort to implement resolution 47 and hence that window of opportunity is lost forever.

    However, in 1972 India and Pakistan signed Shimla agreement that effectively block further UN intervention.

    If we had principled leaders this problem would not have been there. When BJP made it to center they should have abolished the article 370. And also settled border dispute with China rather than doing that trip to Lahore.
    Nehru messed our present in a big time and we still have idiots doing that family worship.

  37. Doddi Buddi Says:

    ‘X’ Guy, the same arguments can be made against all democracies! QED

    Swalpa jaasthi Sekulat Somarasa thogondo bittidheera anisutthe:)

  38. babuds Says:

    I, personally do not mind Azad Kashmir, provided that Arundhati takes its citizenship and agrees to be the nth wife of a Kashmiri LeT Mullah type. That way she along with her of stone pelting friends can be free of this Bhuka nanga nation.

  39. Anonymous Guy Says:



    And what did you QED?

    What is the real problem you have with Arundathi Roy?

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