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Stupidity Not Sedition

By Swati Chaturvedi | Last Updated: Saturday, October 30, 2010 - 09:33
Swati Chaturvedi

Stupidity cannot be tantamount to sedition.

We should chuckle at Arundhati Roy's curiously unformed and rather small intellect, but since when is being dumb a cognizable offence in a great country like ours.

Surely the right to free speech, sacrosanct in a free and democratic country – India and conspicuous by absence in our neighbours, should enable us to shrug and move on when the independent mobile republic currently domiciled in India gives in to yet another one of her ignorant hissy-fits.

If the goddess of many causes, yet always the ones dominating the news-cycle, seeks to add her rather puny intellectual might to public discourse, should we allow her the oxygen of publicity she craves akin to the hydra-headed causes she espouses?

Maybe she needs some rest and someone familiar with a formal education to explain to her that their is a huge contradiction in being a self-styled Maoist supporter and a fervent crusader against the - what she terms in her rather simple way- Hindu-fundamentalism and sharing a dais with an Islamo-fascist like Syed Ali Shah Geelani whose views on most things are further stone-age from the Taliban.

For Geelani to even share a stage with Roy must have been a stretch. In an interview with me where he eventually walked out when challenged as to how much money he receives from the ISI, Geelani kept berating me for allowing a make-up artist (in his words a <i>gair mard</i>) from touching my face.

When told that it was a professional job, Geelaniji sneered and referred to women not knowing their place! Presumably near his feet, I would guess. Poor thing to have Roy sitting next to him, the things one has to do for publicity and <i>bechari</i> Roy she obviously, has some pet fundamentalists who are allowed the occasional insanity.

Free speech in a larger context which has to be far more nuanced than <i>bechari</i> Roy’s is greater than this stupidity. We are secure in our right to Kashmir and rather than focussing on her cause of the moment, the idea should be to allow the Kashmiri’s a dialogue. We may not like what they say, but surely that is the whole point of a debate. Whether it is the Shiv Sena, a bunch of rather slow readers (took them more than a decade to fulminate against Mistry), or Roy with her jejune and bleeding heart polemic, deny these people a hearing.

These <i>becharas</i> are almost like two-year olds crying for their bottle. Only, in this case the bottle is publicity. To quote the Bible - forgive them for they do not know what they do.

And, surely our Home Minister has better things to do than march down to Jor Bagh (a elite v. v. rich Delhi colony in the heart of the Luyten's bungalow zone where Roy resides and which she would of-course deny the Maoists and tribals) and press charges that the publicity junkie craves.

Watch the space in Outlook for the next 30-page rant on the tenancy dispute in J&K safe from the Jor Bagh haven of the <i>Bechari</i>.

First Published: Saturday, October 30, 2010 - 09:33

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