October 31, 2010 ☼ human rights ☼ Jammu & Kashmir ☼ liberal nationalism ☼ liberalism ☼ media ☼ media bias ☼ politics ☼ Public Policy ☼ social contract ☼ Terro
This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.
Others have written about Arundhati Roy’s latest, successful hijacking operation. Her cameo appearance in the service of the cause of Kashmiri Sunni Muslim separatism has transformed the debate from being about Jammu & Kashmir to being about freedom of speech (especially hers). So it is unclear whether the likes of Syed Ali Shah Geelani will invite her to speak at the next seminar they organise.
More seriously, while her remarks have backfired on the cause she ostensibly supports they have wildly succeeded in drawing attention to her—heck, even The Acorn is moved to write about her. But this post is not about her being more than just a rebellious self-promoting intellectual stuntperson. Nor is it about the wrongness of her angry opponents breaking her flower pots.
This post is about the vacuousness of her claims of personally seceding from India and declaring herself a “mobile, independent republic”. The problem with mobile, independent republics is that they don’t last more than as long as it takes to break a flower pot. For all her grandstanding against the Indian state, Ms Roy (well, her husband) “lodged a complaint at the Chanakyapuri police station, following which police personnel were deployed outside the residence.”
The mobile, independent republic couldn’t even protect itself. It (well, its husband) had no choice but to turn to the corrupt, human-rights-abusing, uniform-wearing personnel of “the corporate, Hindu, satellite state.”
But then, the mobile, independent republic has a case history of irony deficiency.
This incident tells you why Arundhati Roy is wrong at the most fundamental level. The Indian state might be imperfect, but presents the best way to protect the rights and freedoms of all its citizens. Its faults must be identified and publicised—not to build a case for its dissolution, but to organise efforts for its improvement.
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