Romanticising violence

Tazeen Javed April 21, 2010

Ever since Arundhati Roy published her long article recently in favour of what the Indian government calls Maoist rebels, the Indian media and blogosphere has quite unanimously denounced Roy, labelling her naive admiration for the Maoists a proclivity towards “left-wing utopianism”.

Roy enraged a lot of Indians when she called very violent Maoists ‘Gandhians with arms’ adherents of the philosophy of non violence consider this sacrilegious. Just like Arundhati Roy, Pakistan has Imran Khan who supports the Taliban and is critical of army operations in Swat and Fata. Like Roy, Khan also believes that it is the circumstances that have turned peace-loving tribals into warring security threats.

If you hear their arguments, they are almost identical. They both question the legitimacy of a state to declare war against its own citizens, they both think the state policies are responsible for the creation of the Taliban and Maoists in their respective countries, and they both think that rebels are essentially good people.

The modus operandi of the Taliban and the Maoists are similar. Both are brutal and only believe in their own version of justice. Both conduct show trials and execute whomever they deem guilty. Both use explosive devices against government officials, police, army and common people. Both try to control the supply lines in their respective areas.

Both recruit under-age boys, at times by force, and brainwash them into carrying out operations. The situation in both the insurgency inflicted areas is similar. People on both sides of the border have legitimate grievances – 62 years into independence, their rights like access to water and sewerage have been neglected by successive governments.

The parallels don’t just end here. If President Zaradri calls the Taliban the ‘biggest security threat’ then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the Maoist threat the ‘gravest national security crisis’ India faces. The Taliban in Pakistan and Maoists in India are lucky to find supporters in Khan and Roy.

If Imran Khan is a firebrand speaker who can get college kids to support his cause, then Roy’s reputation as a prize winning writer and activist lends credo to the Maoist cause. If he speaks at left- wing forums in England and regales them with tales of government atrocities against the Taliban, Roy portrays a romantic image of the Maoists fighting the big bad government and capitalism.

Imran Khan won the world cup for Pakistan in 1992 and Arundhati Roy won her Booker prize in 1997. They may truly believe in the cause of the Maoists and the Taliban or perhaps they always root for the underdog, but one must keep in mind that it can also be a case of keeping the adulation of people alive through taking up causes against the government.

Even though we live in times when non-state actors are considered responsible for most of the chaos and terrorism, being anti state is still considered cool. If you hear the arguments presented by Roy and Khan, everything is either black or white but in politics and more so in power politics, things are almost always grey.

The state has failed to address the issues of its people but even then, only the state has the legitimacy to change it. Romanticising violence may win Arundhati Roy and Imran Khan popularity, but it can never provide a long lasting solution for peace.


Bilal | 12 years ago | Reply looks like everything is black n white for ms javed ... anyone who opposes military action on the citizens is not a rebel or a militant
Bipin Trivedi | 12 years ago | Reply How Arundhati intellectuality and sincerity exposed in interview of Sagarika ghose When Sagarika Ghose asked that whenever state initiates development works on bridges or starts school; those are blown up by the Maoists. What a ridiculous answer Arundhati gives," Is it the case that there are hospitals, schools, low malnutrition and lot of development in poor areas where there aren't any Maoists?" and further she says, "When you go into the schools, you see that they are used as barracks. They are built as barracks so as to say that Maoists blow up schools and they are against development is bit ridiculous". But Madam that has happened many times, even not used as barracks then also, what about that? Government building basic infrastructure for their benefit and up-liftment, but maoist destroys it and Aundhati favors it. What a thought. But Maoists have AK-47 too? They have pressure bombs too? She says: They snatched it from cops. By snatching, they get very marginal quantity, but from where the huge quantity of arms come. She is fooling a small kids by giving such ridiculous answer. Arundhati believes that India is a fake democracy. Who told to stay here and if this country don't suits you, you are at liberty to go. One thing you forget that you are openly exploding your so called pro-maoist thought in Indian democracy only. Strangely when asked for alternative solution, she replies that she don't believe that imagination has brought the planet with no alternative solution. Other way she suggest that rehabilitation of the tribal will hopefully emerging solution. She is just hopeful, though she is counted as most nearer to them as the report says, she roamed in naxal affected areas many times, writes a full assay on it. But, she is just hopeful of solution. She wants 'operation green hunt' which is for infrastructural projects to be freeze, but such projects beneficial to local people only. When she is not hopeful of solution and could not suggest anything about it, she should co-operate the government who sincerely wants to do something for local people. Such attitude of her create doubts about her sincerity! She is not favoring mining industries allotted to private co. since iron ore mine owner pays Rs. 27 to govt. while they keep Rs. 5000 with them. I suggest her that run mine for few months and will come to know how it can be run, what expenses occur. Rs. 5000 does not go fully in the pocket of mine owner but they are bearing running expenses like wages, electric charges, land lease charges etc. Please note that mining industry provides huge employment their and their produce is key raw material for other industries in India. When asked the question that most of people hate your views and writing and believe your thought impractical. She replies, If whole of India hate me I have to believe I am wrong. Then why you waiting for, understand this and come back from your wrong belief now. This proves that she is just after negative and chip publicity, that's all !!! I think she is unaware or rather knowingly unaware that govt. tried earlier for rehabilitation, but they don't want to come out from their forest land. Even some of them don't want to change and remain to live as per their tradition. What can one do in the case. Even government want Arundhati to be mediator between the government and maoist, but she denies. This is also creates doubt on her sincerity. What I think, She wants just mere publicity out of this and wants to create a show that she worried of tribal! By that way, she wants to increase sale of her books and reader audience.
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