1st letter photo—2 col photo

Novelist and political activist Arundhati Roy signed copies of her new book, “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness,” June 28 at the Nourse Theater in San Francisco. (Sunita Sohrabji/India-West photo)

It was somewhat with amusement that I was reading Arundhati Roy’s interview by Alice Walker to a packed audience in San Francisco as reported in India-West.

Those in the audience and many other Indian Americans may not realize that Roy is in the business of bashing India at every opportunity she gets, especially abroad, and the American or British media is eager to afford her that opportunity. That is how she gets some attention.

Over the years, she has supported Naxalites and Maoist insurgents fighting India in the North-East. She seems to be justifying the armed struggle by these indigenous people. How can an armed struggle be justified in a democracy? Does she recommend armed struggle to the blacks or Puerto Ricans in America or to Native Americans in Canada? She is a well-known supporter of Kashmiri separatists and strongly supports Kashmir’s independence from India. No loyal patriotic Indian would support Kashmir’s secession from Mother India.

It is claimed that she is fighting the multinationals and their penetration in India, a laudable endeavor. So does Vandana Shiva on a much larger scale. But in a democracy, armed struggle has no place. All the injustices have to be fought in a non-violent civil disobedience movement like what Mahatma Gandhi showed to the world during our freedom movement from the British.

In all her speeches in India and abroad, her hatred for Hindus, Brahmins, India’s government, its achievements and India itself is clearly evident. Even she does not spare Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, the greatest man of the 20th century, downgrading his respected status and his pivotal contribution towards India’s independence.

One has to go back to her roots and upbringing to understand her attitude toward India. She seems to have had a difficult childhood.

She became financially secure after the success of her first book, "The God of Small Things,” some 20 years ago. Despite its success, this book was criticized in the UK and in India as “profoundly depressing” and “obscene.”

By making critically outrageous statements about India, she manages to get some attention abroad. No wonder her following in India itself is limited at best and the Indian media totally ignores her.

Chaitanya Davé

Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

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