One can only pity people who want to go to the most illogical extreme to get some limelight. It is a worldwide phenomenon where people were seen behaving cranky just to garner that spotlight which seems to have eluded them of late. One such case is Ms. Arundhati Roy. The booker prize winner, a critic of everything that is good for India and a veracious writer with wrong logics was at it again through her column against Anna’s fast, published in Hindu. While it was to be seen, how her comments against Anna and his movement were perceived by her readers depending on which side of the fence they are sitting, one thing that was crystal clear was the lack of conviction and logic in her arguments against Anna. Having read her earlier writings, I am sure she could have done better.
Whenever there is a mass movement, there ought to have critics at both end which in a way is the beauty of our democracy where difference of opinion were always welcomed with fair sportiveness. If Ms. Roy’s objections were entirely on Anna and his methods it would have been taken as a constructive criticism but to jump the line and ridicule a movement on the basis of wrong set of logic and some personal assumption, is a little too much to appreciate.
It seems, the magnanimity and the magnitude of the movement has hit Ms.Roy’s nerves the wrong way or else any sane person having a reader base like her won’t start by calling Anna a ‘Freshly minted saint with an army of largely urban people alongside’ . That is a direct attack on the movement itself. Had Ms. Roy have bothered to invest half the time to watch TV on Anna’s fast against the time she must have invested to come up with such an illogical piece of writing, she would have garnered an entirely different prospective. Ms Roy, first reality check - The Autorickshaw drivers, Railway Coolies, the Dabawalas of Mumbai or even the women from Delhi’s infamous Red light area, who are agitating beside Anna, are not necessarily the set of people whom one can call the urban crowd. If these poor people are urban crowd then I am sorry to say Ms. Roy, the Maoists moving around with Kalashnikovs, whom you support and swear by your life are ultra-modern. And what is that calling peacefully agitating people as army? It is nothing but definitely a faux attempt at projecting the hidden agenda of violence within the gathering. Hope Ms. Roy is not reading too much about the arm rebellion going around Libya where gun wielding rebels roaming around the street and tried to correlate it to the peaceful gathering at Ramlila ground in her dreams.
The second problem Ms. Roy seems to have with Anna is his extended stay at Tihar jail even after being released from custody. She being a so called human rights watchdog for the Maoists and the LeT terrorists, she should have questioned the reason behind the illegal arrest of Anna at the first place than questioning why Anna overstayed. Here she missed a point entirely, either because she never wanted to see it or it is again a resultant of her own assumptions, when she wrote – ‘it is illegal to stay inside the jail after being released’. It’s true it is illegal but here is the second reality check Ms. Roy - Anna never stayed inside the jail but was present at the DCP prison’s office. I hope Ms. Roy has the basic knowledge that DCP’s office is not jail, just because it happens to be inside the same compound. Perhaps Ms. Roy’s thought process got blurred after seeing the support Anna got from the large gathering of crowd outside Tihar, which she never saw for her close buddy and a certified traitor named Shayed Ali Shah Ghilani of the Huriyat and hence developed a problem with Anna’s message from the jail captured in a cell phone and shown to the outside world and the media. What is the problem with that Ms. Roy? The message was aired as there were actually millions of people genuinely worried about Anna and his wellbeing.
Ms. Roy believed, the government was entirely at wrong to ask MCD to set the Ramlila ground ready on war footnotes for the fast to start. ‘250 people, an entire set of construction equipment which includes 15 trucks and 6 earth movers employed 24/7 to set the ground ready’, is what she wrote in her column. Again the third reality check Ms. Roy - Doesn’t MCD routinely do the same thing again and again every year and that too ‘N’ number of times at the Ramlila ground to either facilitate some kind of political gathering or cultural function to take place? So where is the exception that Ms. Roy tried her best to evaluate from such an exercise? Or is it yet again another futile attempt at highlighting a non-issue for the sake of writing? Before being critical about MCD or their actions at the ground Ms. Roy should have reminded herself that it is the government who suggested the ground as an alternative, not the civil society who were asking for JP Park instead. So it is the lookout of the government to resurrect the ground if it is in bad shape. If 2 crores can be invested in the same ground for a Congress Maha rally, why can’t 15 trucks and 6 earth movers?
Ms. Roy showed yet another intellectual low point when she wrote – “Who is he anyway? This new saint? This new voice of the people? Oddly enough we've heard him say nothing about things of urgent concern. Nothing about the farmer's suicides in his neighborhood or about Operation Green Hunt further away. Nothing about Singur, Nandigram, Lalgarh, nothing about Posco, about farmer's agitations or the blight of SEZs. He doesn't seem to have a view about the Government's plans to deploy the Indian Army in the forests of Central India”.
This is funny Ms. Roy as you wrote such a long sentence but never bothered to follow Anna’s movement at all. If you had then you must have marked Anna has highlighted to a great length about the plight of the farmers including the recent Pune killing. On the contrary, is it necessary for each social activist to talk about each and every issue that our country is facing? That should be the job of the political parties not a social activist. Is that your modus-operandi when you pretend to act like a social activist and messiah for the Maoists and want to leave your strong footprints in the jungles of Dantewada? What you want us to do Ms. Roy – to ask where is the same passion of yours against corruption that you bestow upon the rights of the Maoists or the LeT terrorists of the valley? Just look in the mirror Ms. Roy, you might just realize who is the real hypocrite here.
The only point where Ms. Roy sounds a bit logical is when she asked how passing of such a bill would help the 800 million odd populace, whose daily income is less than Rs 20/- per day. After a little analysis I think even here Ms. Roy failed to grasp the bigger picture. There is a very close relationship between poverty and corruption. Corruption always comes with a price tag. If a person had to pay a bribe of 5 lakhs to get the license for a controlled ration shop in a rural village, the first thing that would hover in his mind is to recover the amount that he paid in bribe. The one and only way he can accomplish this is to drain it out from his customers who happen to be the same people for whom Ms. Roy seems to have a great concern. Ultimately the lower bureaucracy which are the most corrupt lot in the whole government framework fill their pockets indirectly by draining out the already drained 800 odd millions whose daily income is less than Rs 20/- per day.
Ms. Roy, I am no way trying to question your intellectual might, but in this piece of writing you displayed your lack of conviction and I can clearly see a sense of biasing for reasons best known to you. While people are guessing you being on the pay roll of the Congress party for a long time, you possibly couldn’t have found a better time to pay back some of the favors, I don’t want to travel that route. While many fancy using adjectives that should be refrained from jolting down in writing, I believe your article pathetically lacked any sense of maturity, conviction or even the slightest of analysis which an article of this nature around such a volatile topic deserves. While many say they were not astonished seeing what you wrote, as they never expected anything constructive from you for the nation or you ever turning useful for the country, I don’t want to undermine few good works that you have done on matters of some sensitivity. Hope you would realize that even being a great writer there is still a difference between a mature writing and plain vomiting of words on a blank piece of paper. Good Night !!