Skip to main content

Defending Arundhati Roy

Indians need to be more self-critical.

Indians who belong to the middle and upper classes are all too happy at the way things are.

They are happy with the situation where there are really only a very few people who are wealthy in this country and the rest are in wretched poverty. This, of course, serves the wealthy as they can employ the poor to take care of their numerous needs ... there's someone to drive the car, someone to babysit, someone to wash the clothes, someone else to do the dishes, someone to wash the car, someone to do the gardening, someone else to do the cooking, and may be someone to bring the vegetables from the market as well ...

Rich Indians live a royal life in many ways. And they go outside of India for holidays and come back and talk about how nice and wonderful things are abroad and how wrteched things are in India.

Then there are others like Arundhati Roy who like to point out the wretchedness of life that is the reality for many Indians. People like her want to point out all the warts rather than hiding them under the carpet.

But this makes the chattering classes uncomfortable as it will force them to confront some hard realities and may be they will need to make "adjustments" to their comfortable lives as well.

The fact is that there's a life-and-death struggle happening when India is trying to develop.

When new industries are sought to be set up or new mines or new dams built, that means displacement for huge swathes of people.

India is not a vast country like Russia — although India might be vast compared to many tiny European nations.

So, there are no vast unpopulated areas in India like, say, Siberia in Russia.

Therefore, when India is trying to develop, it also has to take into account the displacement that many people are going to suffer as a result of that development process.

People like Ms. Roy certainly have a right to raise the voice of protest on behalf of the displaced people ... although such a voice might be awkward sounding to the middle class of this country that is too busy trying to ape the West in an all-too-shallow way.


Popular posts from this blog

Sarah Kay's poem from TED

If I should have a daughter, instead of mom, she's going to call me Point B,

because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way  to me.
And I am going to paint the Solar Systems on the backs of her hands, so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say 'Oh, I know that like the back of my hand'
And she's going to learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up, just so we can kick you in the stomach but getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.

Edward Snowden

This seems to me to be the defining journalism-whistle-blower story of this generation. It's rare in today's world when privileged people voluntarily choose to take steps whereby they give up comfortable lives to do something that is in the 'public good.' Mr. Snowden was clearly a computer whiz which explains why he got jobs at the CIA (including postings in Geneva under diplomatic cover). Booz Allen obviously did not hire him or pay him the $1,20,000 salary without Mr. Snowden showcasing some considerable technical expertise. I believe Mr. Snowden's expertise probably lies in having deep expertise in various flavors of Linux. That is what I am inclined to infer from his various job roles as a 'Systems Engineer' or 'System Administrator.' Being the self-driven sort of person that he was, I am sure he must be having good knowledge about networking and encryption stuff including but not limited to Cisco routers and related technologies. To put these t…

Top 10 Crazy Facts About India

Here's a random list of things. 1.Indians sometimes prefer to abort a fetus if they find out that it's female. (Or they just kill the new born baby after it's born.) 2.There are more than 20 million babies born in India. EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. 3.Child labor is so commonplace in India that few notice it or consider it out of the ordinary. Kids work as waiters or dishwashers in roadside restaurants. Sometimes, kids ferry tea to the local police station from a nearby roadside tea stall. 4.Massive numbers of kids and younger and adult women are employed as maids in middle class to rich households. Middle class houses might pay 200 rupees to a female who comes and washes the dishes. Rich houses might employ women permanently by paying them more. 5.Cars in the Indian cities are washed in the morning by car-washers who tend to be young men who get paid around 100 to 200 rupees per month for this service. 6.India is home to some crazily competitive exams. The IIT JEE and the IIM CAT have …