Arundhati Roy – Demerzel – March 11

I was listening to an interview with her yesterday and she was criticizing India for essentially purchasing billions of dollars of weapons they will never use while people are literally starving to death in India. I’d never really heard of her except in passing but something about the way she talks about concrete examples of class disparity and the cover of “democracy” cut right through my normal jaded apathy.

These are familiar themes to us but India in particular interests me because to me it’s the logical extension of the path of class imbalance in America. You have one extreme of a half dozen corporations who basically control everything and everyone, and then millions and millions of people eating rats and starving and whole villages of forced prostitution.

Vanguard did a piece a while back on sewage in general but one of the most striking parts was their Indian piece where people were forced to essentially shit in the woods/river/fields because the government wasn’t doing anything about it:…ard-reports.htm

One of their older pieces(with the journalist who was captured in North Korea coincidentally) is a good intro to the class disparity:…ich-vs-poor.htm

None of this is new, of course. But her interview resonated with me because I see India as a kind of ‘little America’ except the stark contrast between the upper and lower classes has been reinforced through the caste system enough that there is no sense of shame in it and there’s no attempt on the part of the elite to make it appear somewhat egalitarian like there is here. The reality is that there are millions of people starving to death, eating rats, and dying of infectious diseases from people’s sewage everywhere around them. Amazingly, these problems are all easily observable by people there and internationally. Meanwhile it’s one of the most populous countries in the world and called an up and coming superpower.

Back to Arundhati, here is an NPR transcript of one of her interviews – Why Democracy Is “The Biggest Scam in the World” (yea


She also has written a book on her time with the Naxalites (the Maoist group in India, mostly comprised of indigenous people), highlighting the fact that they have been painted as an insurrectionist group when really they mostly live in rural areas and most of their struggle is simply keeping back corporate landgrabs.

her first answer


ARUNDHATI ROY: Well, I think the—you know, the saddest thing is that when the American elections happened and you had all the rhetoric of, you know, change you can believe in, and even the most cynical of us watched Obama win the elections and did feel moved, you know, watching how happy people were, especially people who had lived through the civil rights movement and so on, and, you know, in fact what has happened is that he has come in and expanded the war. He won the Nobel Peace Prize and took an opportunity to justify the war. It was as though those tears of the black people who watched, you know, a black man come to power were now cut and paste into the eyes of the world’s elite watching him justify war.

And from where I come from, it’s almost—you know, you think that they probably don’t even understand what they’re doing, the American government. They don’t understand what kind of ground they stand on. When you say things like “We have to wipe out the Taliban,” what does that mean? The Taliban is not a fixed number of people. The Taliban is an ideology that has sprung out of a history that, you know, America created anyway.

Iraq, the war is going on. Afghanistan, obviously, is rising up in revolt. It’s spilled into Pakistan, and from Pakistan into Kashmir and into India. So we’re seeing this superpower, in a way, caught in quicksand with a conceptual inability to understand what it’s doing, how to get out or how to stay in. It’s going to take this country down with it, for sure, you know, and I think it’s a real pity that, in a way, at least George Bush was so almost obscene in his stupidity about it, whereas here it’s smoke and mirrors, and people find it more difficult to decipher what’s going on. But, in fact, the war has expanded.

She’s become popular enough that she was charged with sedition last last year (can’t find anything recent) based on her comments about Kashmir.

Anyway, I just wanted to make a thread about Arundhati or India or

i read some shit


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s