[Reader-list] Roy is a hopping activist with no commitments

Aditya Raj Kaul kauladityaraj at gmail.com
Thu Nov 11 21:58:23 IST 2010

*Roy is a hopping activist with no commitments*
November 11, 2010   9:41:58 PM

*Meenakshi Rao*
Link* -

The last thing Jammu and Kashmir needed at this hotheaded moment was
misplaced activism, especially of the kind that people like Arundhati Roy
propel. This kind of activism usually screams its guts out, queers the pitch
of everyone around it, mostly kills negotiation and takes the issue into the
dangerous zone of hyperventilation.

J&K, as we all are often told, is the world’s worst flashpoint. It burns
perpetually, and more intensely now than ever before. Under the
circumstances, stoking fires through any means — foul or fair, oral or
action — can only be deemed dangerous, inflammatory and, yes, seditious too.

By suddenly landing on the Kashmir issue, out of nowhere one must point out,
Roy has trigerred a whole lot of debate, but more alarmingly, she has
created a situation which is dangerous not just for the nation but also for
the people she is supporting.

Espousing the cause of the poverty-stricken, the havenots, the displaced
population is a good thing. But J&K is not about poverty. It is a different
ballgame altogether, something that needs careful handling, a very cautious
approach and a negotiation that is comprehensively measured. None of which
makes the staple for Roy’s ill-timed diatribe in support of what she called
the people of Kashmir.

Despite being a Goddess of potent writing, Roy can be directly accused of
being a hopping activist. She gets added to an issue in no time and moves on
equally speedily. From Narmada to Maoists to now J&K, she has spent little
time with any of the issues after stoking them. In that context, and due to
her star power, these issues do get prominence in the media but that does
not keep her in the loop for long.

Roy has never been associated with Jammu and Kashmir in any capacity, not
even having written about it much. One wonders why and where she has popped
up from. Is it because prior to the visit of US president Barack Obama,
there needed to be a scream campaign around J&K and no one could do this job
better than Roy?

Such speculation will never be answered decisively but seems to not be
totally without reason. After all, Roy is a stranger to J&K and the timing
of her going into paradise with questions and accusations looks amply

Over and above that, and despite the fact that our Government never really
had any intention of putting Roy’s J&K “activism” on a leash, one wonders
how long would she be talking about it and if she has really already moved
on. One only hopes that she realises that the trail she has left behind will
take a very long time to mend. Because, J&K is not about curbing of freedom
of expression, it is about a nation’s freedom to use all power within its
means to hold its boundaries together. The situation in Kashmir is not just
tense it is also not fully within control. Anytime, the bloodbath can spurt,
anytime anything can happen there. The Valley people do not need someone to
tell them how bad the situation with them is. They are already stuck with a
slew of surreptitious forces who tell them morning, noon and night that they
are living in hell. The actual instruction to the populace is “create hell.”

So, to let Roy or any other person walk into this ticking minefield of
sentiment, and lead the situation even more astray than it already is, can
be described as nothing but lunacy of the Government. First, it lets the
situation in the Valley go out of hand by twiddling its thumb over Omar
Abdullah’s apparent naivete. Then it even mulls on diluting the Army’s power
in the strife-ridden State even though the Army had nothing to do with the
civilian protests that turned bloody and fatal. Next it allows a Roy-Gilani
togetherness, not just in Delhi but also in Srinagar where she should never
have been allowed to step in with all the vitriol she was carrying against
the establishment. Next, it says it might try her for sedition! And then
says it can’t!

With such a blundering administration at hand, and unheeding, uncaring
voices that will bleed all kinds of wounds raining in from all sides, the
UPA has given rise to a chaos it is totally not equipped to handle.

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