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Arundhati Roy: Social activist of a different kind

Arundhati Roy is a woman on a mission.

The mission is to defame, ridicule and nullify the national culture and heritage of India. Last week her "Rally in the Valley" in the Narmada Valley revealed itself to be nothing short of a cheap publicity stunt for a woman who has clearly outlined political ambitions. By now of course the Indian public has gotten used to her hysterical outbursts against the "imperialistic state" and her calls for anarchy. Perhaps her book sales weren't really as good as projected and therefore she feels the urge to force herself into the public eye.

The Indian English media has practically fallen all over itself to disseminate reverent stories about the newest "Selfless social activist" on the block. And you can be sure that sometime in the not so distant future she will be begging for your votes. Yep, I'm talking about none other than Arundhati Roy, the self-appointed savior of India's underprivileged class, the deliveress of the common man from the big bad wolf of Hindu fascist forces .

This of course is also the same Arundhati Roy who along with her spouse Pradeep Krishen was strapped with a showcause notice by the Special Area Development Authority (SADA) of Pachmarhi in Madhya Pradesh for federal violation and illegal activities. They illegally built houses in a restricted and eco-sensitive area. Pachmarhi district in Madhya Pradesh is a protected sanctuary for many endangered species of wildlife. It also encompasses a sanctuary and a National Park and is listed as an eco-sensitive zone. No one is allowed to construct new structures in the area. But Ms. Roy and her husband who apparently think they are above all laws have committed flagrant violations of the law, by constructing ugly houses not only for themselves but also for their high society buddies from Delhi right in the heart of the wildlife sanctuary!

So much for Ms. Roy's undying love for the environment and people of India, she doesn't even think twice about the animals! For a self-righteous martyr who fulminates and foams at the mouth about the government of India raising illegal structures, perhaps Ms. Roy needs to be reminded of her own track record.

It was this very Arundhati Roy who just a few months ago was shrieking from the rooftops about "Hindu fascism" and BJP's destruction of the Indian environment. The hypocritical Ms. Roy is well known for her melodramatic "concern" for the future of India. She exhibited her concern earlier by writing a vitriolic and utterly bitter article titled "The End of Imagination" in the Guardian after the Pokhran tests in 1998. Arundhati Roy claimed she felt impelled to write the piece in protest of the horrible future that those tests entailed.

This is a woman who cannot handle the idea of India as a nation. The fact is that she despises Hinduism in general and Hindu's awakened sense of nationalism and pride in particular. Some of the excerpts from her article speak volumes about the kind of hatred and rage against Hindus that Ms. Roy woman nurses in her breast.

"The nuclear bomb and the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya are both part of the same political process. They are hideous byproducts for a nation's search for herself. Of India's efforts to forge a national identity. The poorer the nation, the larger the numbers of illiterate people and the more morally bankrupt her leaders, the cruder and more dangerous the notion of what that identity is or should be. The jeering, hooting young men who battered down the Babri Masjid are the same ones whose pictures appeared in the papers in the days that followed the nuclear tests. They were on the streets, celebrating India's nuclear bomb and simultaneously "condemning Western Culture" by emptying crates of Coke and Pepsi into public drains. I'm a little baffled by their logic: Coke is Western Culture, but the nuclear bomb is an old Indian tradition?"

Apparently Ms. Roy is so blinded by her own hatred that she cannot tell the difference between consumerism and science! She implies that both Coke and the nuclear bomb belong to the West. If this were the case, then since India is the source of Arithmetic, Language (in the form of Sanskrit) and given that the Indus civilization is the oldest in the world, should Indians assume that the West has no right to civilization itself? Science is not owned by anyone. The Indian scientists at DRDO took their own knowledge and expertise and produced a purely indigenous bomb unlike our slavish neighbor Pakistan. If Ms. Roy cannot handle the truth that India and Indian achievements are glorious, then she should pack her bags and get out of the country.

But of course Ms. Roy didn't stop there, she went further and in her unbounded sarcasm, ridiculed the Hindu scriptures as well.

"Yes, I've heard - the bomb is in the Vedas [ancient Hindu scriptures]. It might be, but if you look hard enough you'll find Coke in the Vedas too. That's the great thing about all religious texts. You can find anything you want in them - as long as you know what you're looking for. "

Considering the fact that she doesn't know a word of Sanskrit, who the hell is Ms. Arundhati Roy to mock what is in the Vedas. Is it so impossible to believe that ancient Hindu culture could have been technologically advanced? Should we blind ourselves to the truth like anglicised products such as Ms. Roy and instead believe the absolutely falsified version of history that has all along been invented by Muslim invaders, Christian proselytizers, Communists and other assorted India haters?

But let's keep on going , and we come back to recurring theme of Ms. Roy's tirade on "social activism"

"First of all, the original inhabitants of this land were not Hindu. Ancient though it is, there were human beings on earth before there was Hinduism. India's tribal people have a greater claim to being indigenous to this land than anybody else, and how are they treated by the state and its minions? Oppressed, cheated, robbed of their lands, shunted around like surplus goods. Perhaps a good place to start would be to restore to them the dignity that was once theirs. But of course that would be inconceivable, wouldn't it? Why? Because it's impractical. Because tribal people don't really matter. Their histories, their customs, their deities are dispensable. They must learn to sacrifice these things for the greater good of the Nation (that has snatched from them everything they ever had).

Ms. Roy's utter ignorance about India's history, culture and people are spilling out of every word here. Apparently Ms. Roy's anti-national sentiments are pouring out. She wants to "rescue" India's tribes from this monster called Hindu Nationalism. She wants to change history so that Hindus cannot even claim India as their own. If the indigenous tribals of India were not Hindus then why are all their gods, customs, culture and traits that of the Hindu faith? Why are thousands of these "tribes" proudly mentioned in the ancient most Hindu texts? How did the Valmikis, and the Eklavyas of the Hindu faith exist?

Ms. Roy wants to create a malicious divide between India's Hindus and the tribal communities which for centuries have drawn their spiritual inspiration from Hinduism. Her intentions are apparent; to create a schism using economic ruin as the theme to frighten these very people who are faced with uncertainty. It is celebrities like Arundhati Roy who exploit the victimization of innocents such as the Narmada tribals in order to forward their own obscene agendas.

" A huge percentage of the displaced are tribal people (57.6 per cent in the case of the Sardar Sarovar Dam). Include Dalits and the figure becomes obscene. According to the Commissioner for Scheduled Castes and Tribes it's about 60 per cent. If you consider that tribal people account for only eight per cent, and Dalits 15 per cent, of India's population, it opens up a whole other dimension to the story. The ethnic 'otherness' of their victims takes some of the pressure off the Nation Builders. It's like having an expense account. Someone else pays the bills. People from another country. Another world. India's poorest people are subsidizing the life-styles of her richest."

Spoken like a true red Comrade to the core!

One could tolerate this banshee's ranting and raving if they displayed the slightest hind of sympathy and humanitarian impulse for the tribals, but Arundhati Roy's political vitriol just drones on and on about the "evil establishment of Hindus".

"On an area of about 30 acres there is an absurd cement "replica' of the ancient Shoolpaneshwar temple that was submerged in the reservoir. The same political formation that plunged a whole nation into a bloody, medieval nightmare because it insisted on destroying an old mosque to dig up a non-existent temple, thinks nothing of submerging a hallowed pilgrimage route and hundreds of temples that have been worshipped in for centuries."

Every paragraph of Arundhati Roy's concerned essay about the Narmada Rally is laced with these sort of inane references which are there for the sole purpose of belying her hatred for Hinduism. Reams of evidence provided by respected archaeologists like the former Director of the Archaeological Survey of India prove that a Hindu temple at Ayodhya was misappropriated and turned into a ramshackle structure laughingly referred to as the "Babri Masjid". But Ms. Roy sees only a "non-existent" temple which plunged a whole nation into a "medieval nightmare"

I have news for Ms. Roy. The Babri Masjid was the eternal symbol of the very bloody medieval nightmare that plunged Hindu India into darkness. Having to suffer the ultimate symbol of our oppression is incumbent on Hindus and we become medieval barbarians when we attempt to erase that repugnant symbol?

Wake up and get a life Arundhati.

When Arundhati Roy walks down the streets of tribal villages which are about to be submerged by the Narmada, the villagers thinking her to be their savior become delirious. Journalists jostle each other to get pictures of the star "social activist". Effusive editorials are composed on the fly. Slogans rend the air almost as if this is a political freak show. The rallyists and locals spontaneously form a procession that dances and drums its way around and through the village.

At some places, Ms Roy is forced to stop and receive gifts and flower garlands. As flower petals rain festively dressed girls rush forward to apply Tilaks.

But to Arundhati Roy the Tilak has nothing to do with Hinduism. Ms. Roy would have us believe that these tribals who make the purely Hindu gestures of reverence using flower garlands, Tilaks and Aartis, are NOT Hindu.

In her own words: "I knew I was looking at a civilization older than Hinduism, slated-sanctioned (by the highest court in the land)-to be drowned this monsoon when the waters of the Sardar Sarovar reservoir will rise to submerge it."

So what, heck the garland and Tilak still make for a nice photo opportunity.