April 18, 2024

Moon Desk: Renowned Indian author and commentator Arundhati Roy has expressed serious concern at the rise in violence against women – that too encouraged by women who look at the faith of the perpetrators to decide whether to support them or not.

According to Kashmir Media Service, Arundhati Roy after receiving the Navamalayali Cultural Prize in Thrissur city of the Indian state of Kerala said, “Today we are in a situation where women are justifying rape, where women are telling men to rape other women. I am talking about not just Manipur. I am talking about so many cases – whether it’s in Hathras, whether it’s in Jammu and Kashmir.”

“Depending on who is raping who, the women stand up for that (particular) community. This means we have gone psychotic. There is something very wrong,” she said, calling upon every citizen to stand up before it is too late.

The Booker Prize winner said, “You have a situation where the police are handing over women to a mob to be raped. You have a situation where an officer of the Railway Protection Force is walking down bogies shooting Muslims and saying you must vote for Modi.” She was referring to the July 31 incident in which RPF constable Chetan Singh gunned down three Muslim men and a senior officer in a Jaipur-Mumbai train.

Arundhati Roy cautioned about accepting the theories being spun that the RPF constable was mentally unstable. “And it is a mistake to think this person is mad. This person is sane. This person is absorbing all the propaganda day and night that’s coming out at him.”

The author of The God of Small Things recalled how scary it was to live in Delhi. “I live in Delhi. I am so scared on the road. One little thing happens and 50 men with orange scarves will come. They know who I am,” she said, while referring to members of Hindutva organizations.

She drew attention to how a member of the Muslim community would feel in a similar situation. “I am just not talking about me. Imagine if you are a Muslim. You might have a parking problem that might end in your death, in your lynching. You might be going home from Delhi to Aligarh to see your parents, and you might end up dead. This is the country we are living in now.”

She went on to describe herself as a “failure” since her writings could not make much difference. “You know I am very happy that I am getting awards. But everything I’ve written is a huge failure. I am a huge failure because nothing that I said has made any difference other than getting awards and earning me a lot of royalty.”

“People say she is a very elite person. I am. The only place my eliteness comes from is the royalty from my books. That’s the only money I have. It’s a lot, but what’s the point if it doesn’t matter?”

Arundhati Roy described the unabated violence in Manipur as “ethnic cleansing” in which the Indian Central government is complicit. “It’s a kind of ethnic cleansing because the Centre is complicit, the state is partisan, the security forces are split between one partisan lot, the police, and the others with no chain of command,” she noted, with a word of caution as to how other states need to be careful.

“From Manipur to Haryana to all the other states that are going to stand for elections… it’s like a fuse is being lit,” she warned, appealing to everyone to stand up for peace and harmony.

She took a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not doing enough to end the Manipur violence. “There’s a war, women are being raped, paraded naked, colonies are being burnt. Muslims are having cross marks on their doors, they are fleeing, and he is tweeting ‘I had appam last night for dinner’.”

She was alluding to Modi’s tweet dated August 3 where he wrote: “Last evening, I had a wonderful meeting with NDA MPs from Southern India, followed by a great dinner in which a variety of South Indian dishes were served including Paniyaram, Appam, Vegetable Korma, Pulihora, Pappu Charu, Adai Aviyal and more.”

Arundhati Roy added: “I don’t think any of us should be in any doubt about what is waiting even outside the borders of our state, waiting to come in.

“Sometimes when I come to Kerala, you know, it’s so wonderful to be here. But do people know the fire is burning so close? We have a different universe here (in Kerala). It’s a beautiful universe. But it’s being threatened.”

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