Rajkamal Goswami rajkamalgoswami at gmail.com
Mon Nov 1 05:30:09 IST 2010

Dear All,

I just happened to finish reading perhaps the first non-fiction
publication of Ms Roy (the link of which is provided below). I will
just bullet point a few unique things that eventually became the
signature style of her non-fiction writing.

* Length: She might have pioneered the long-essay in popular weeklies
of India. But given her obscurity during the pre-booker era (this was
published in 1994), the essay was published in two parts.

* Politics: A clear politics of socialism seems to be present
throughout the essay, which eventually became more pronounced and
evident in her later works. She talks at length about individual
struggles, resistance, social justice, inequities and inadequacies of
human society, rape, injustice, caste & geneder based exploitation,
socio-economic dominance of high caste, power struggles, violence

*Endorsing the unlikely: In 1994, which
mainstream/obscure/independent/celebrity writer had the
proclivity/guts to write a completely biased, highly opinionated
though highly persuasive and eloquent piece defending the basic rights
of a person to his/her own life-story (in this particualr case:
Phoolan Devi)!

*Blunt activism: Now people accuse her of gaining mileage out of her
celebrity status. I would say that she is perhaps the only celebrity
in India who has stood her grounds, her morality, her ideology, her
politics and her imagination throughout her adult life, her
social-economic-celebrity status notwithstanding. Perhaps her writing,
apart from anything else bears testimony to it. When she wrote this
essay in 1994, neither she was an acclaimed author, (read financially
stable) nor was she popular. On the contrary she was almost broke
(financially) and this essay cost her a contract with channel 4 of UK
(one of the financiers of Bandit Queen)! In one of her interviews she
claimed that she can't write/imagine with a benefit (read money, fame
and all the imagined vices that today she is claimed to starve for) in
mind! I never doubted the fact that she meant every word of it!

*Fiercely ethical: No personal attacks, no potshots, no hits below the belt!

*Lucid prose: I lack words to describe it!

*Well researched and mostly stating/relying on facts: No wonder she is
invited by Harvard, MIT, Oxford, and Cambridge so often!

There are many more but I will stop here as I am no Ms Roy!

Link: http://www.sawnet.org/books/writing/roy_bq1.html


On 11/1/10, Rajkamal Goswami <rajkamalgoswami at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear All,
> I context of the argument one might find this profile of Ms Roy
> interesting. It was written well before she won the Booker! And that
> time, the media came after her because her novel sold like no other
> novel by an unpublished Indian ever (even NRI's like Rushdie's or
> Seth's). She was guarding her privacy jealously before the media got
> the whiff of it! I think that was the time when love-to-hate Ms Roy
> saga began taking roots!
> This is the link to that article published in Outlook (Sep 25, 1996).
> http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?202195
> Regards
> Rajkamal
> On 11/1/10, Rajkamal Goswami <rajkamalgoswami at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Dear Trivediji,
>> While I respect your right to having a free opinion, I, at the same
>> time wish to exercise my right: i.e. to disagree vehemently to your
>> opinion.
>> 1. Ms. Roy is not publicity hungry. Its the other way round. Its the
>> popular print and electronic media people after sensational stories
>> that are, and they find Ms. Roy as the perfect sacrificial doll each
>> time Ms Roy writes/speaks something radically different (though not
>> necessarily fantastic or untrue).
>> 2. With regards the recent Kashmir-azadi cintroversy, all that Ms Roy
>> did was give a talk at an obscure seminar in Delhi. The seminar
>> (including what Ms Roy and other speakers said) would have remained
>> obscure, but for the sensation-starved media! Ms Roy didn't shout at
>> the top of her lungs from the rooftops demanding attention to what she
>> spoke at the seminar. The media did.
>> 3. Does Ms Roy happen to be so unfortunate that she won the booker
>> prize before she started her politics/opinion came to be noticed? Was
>> it her fault or the media's which jumped at the opportunity of
>> publishing a booker winner!
>> there are many more but for now i guess these will suffice.
>> thanks and regards
>> Rajkamal
>> On 10/31/10, Bipin Trivedi <aliens at dataone.in> wrote:
>>> Dear Rajkamal,
>>> Of course word chip I mean for cheap only as said by Aalok. Arundhati is
>>> just publicity hunger nothing else. If she is really worrying for
>>> Kashmir
>>> than where was she for 2 decades when bloodbath was created by few
>>> Kashmiri
>>> separatists and terrorists. Not a single word from her against these.
>>> Such
>>> violent situation all these years effected heavily to common people of
>>> Kashmir only. She never expressed any feeling for this proves that her
>>> recent statement was just publicity stunt of her own. Perhaps you will
>>> hear
>>> some new booker like award for her!
>>> Thanks
>>> Bipin Trivedi
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Rajkamal Goswami [mailto:rajkamalgoswami at gmail.com]
>>> Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2010 1:29 PM
>>> To: Bipin Trivedi
>>> Cc: sarai-list
>>> Subject: Re: [Reader-list] ARUNDHATI - PUBLICITY HUNGER
>>> Dear Trivediji,
>>> "she is just after negative and chip publicity"
>>> I wish to strongly contradict this view of yours. But before I do that
>>> can you explain what do you mean by 'chip; here?
>>> Rajkamal
>>> On 10/31/10, Bipin Trivedi <aliens at dataone.in> wrote:
>>>> Guha says, "She's crazy. Arundhati Roy has become a joke, a publicity
>>>> fiend," Guha told Bangalore Mirror. "She hops from cause to cause, and
>>> just
>>>> look at the company she's keeping ... the likes of Syed Ali Shah
>>>> Geelani,
>>> an
>>>> ultimate bigot who wants to keep women in purdah and bring in an
>>>> Islamic
>>>> theocracy."
>>>> While posting maoist topic discussion read my view on Arundhati as
>>>> under:
>>>> (1) When asked the question to Arundhati 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. (2) Even government
>>>> wants
>>>> 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.
>>>> Same thing applicable now also. Kashmir problem is there since almost
>>> after
>>>> independence and its intensity increased since 2 decades, but I have
>>>> not
>>>> heard any comment earlier for this issue. So, why now? She always
>>>> remain
>>> of
>>>> search of current hot topics and sensitized it to catch attention of
>>>> media
>>>> just for mere chip publicity. Dear Tara, you are right, after her
>>>> shared
>>>> stage with crook Geelani, many like you became her critics.
>>>> Thanks
>>>> Bipin Trivedi
>>>> _________________________________________
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>>> --
>>> Rajkamal
>> --
>> Rajkamal
> --
> Rajkamal


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