Monday, October 12, 2009

The Economists' Spat With Arundhati Roy

The Economist published this review about Arundhati Roy’s Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy which wasn’t very laudatory. I guess, in my humblest of opinions, the Economist reviewer wasn’t much aware of Roy’s work for the destitute and dispossessed victims of India’s grand dam projects, economic growth muddle, and craze for catching up with the Asian Dragon (China) and Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan), who have languished close to a tenuous subsistence. Therefore, humble opinion and all, the reviewer has overstepped in calling the review, “Necessary, but wrong” which is rather wrong in itself. Nobody can brand a book, whatever its magnitude or significance, as “wrong.”

So Roy wrote this stinging reply and got this as reply from The Economist. True, I love The Economist for simplifying a very complex subject and its reportage from around the world, but, in this instance I am not with them, especially a part about colonisation that appear in its review. According to this blogger (again IMHO, and all that) Economic Colonisation is a reality and it's happening under our very own noses.


ms said...

i wish she'd mentioned the plight of the kashmiri pundits, even a sentence in her entire book. and jeffrey archer was a member of parliament, but he never attempted to write non-fiction. i wonder what her views are about the naxal problem sweeping the country. we should hand over kashmir to the pakistanis (a free kashmir is just dream - we have been treating it like a prized possession, they will treat it worse - one can only imagine the horrors) and arunachal pradesh to the chinese, narendra modi to the islamists and JRD to the naxals : this is her solution to what is ailing india. the massacre that is at the heart of her book started when women and children were burnt to death in a train bogey. i wish she was concerned about how the perpetrators of this crime got away scotfree too. what about the beheading of a police inspector at the orders of her ideal, kobad? we all have our freedoms - faith, political affiliation, lifestyle. what separates the chaff from the grain is the way we use these freedoms. writers everywhere have a moral obligation to not sacrifice peace for sensationalism. and writers who enter the domain of journalism should leave their crutch (poetic licence) behind: if they wish to survive in the glare of reality.

A_N_Nanda said...


I've read Arundhati Roy's "The God of Small Things" and liked it. I'd have loved to read another fiction from her but she'd not produced that yet. Sometime back, people started saying that she was heading to be a "One-book Wonder". So, does it mean that the pressure of writing another masterpiece was on her, too? And in pressure writers do write something that readers may or may not like. Like, when authors run out of their creativity, they write their autobiographies!

My prayer to God should be: Let her get some more creative inspiration, at least for we readers' sake.

Thanks, John.

ms said...
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