Even though India plays out all the “rituals of democracy”, there is no democratic institution where one can appeal and be assured of being heard, said writer Arundhati Roy on Friday. Ms. Roy was speaking at the launch ofBroken Republic: Three Essayspublished by Penguin Books. The book is an anthology of three essays -- “Mr. Chidambaram's War”, “Walking with the Comrades” and “Trickledown Revolution” -- written by Ms. Roy. In conversation with economist Amit Bhaduri, she briefly touched upon the three essays in the book, further discussing the problems that democratic set-up in India confronts.
Speaking about the complete disregard of the Indian State for natural resources, Mr. Bhaduri said the situation in other countries had proved that it was possible to combine development with some concern for nature. He also pointed out the “lack of social welfare” in the present policies of the Indian Government.
Quoting writer Derrick Jensen, Ms. Roy said natural resources have been depleted at an alarming rate the world over, and that the impact of human activities on nature has to be assessed.
Addressing the issue of insurgency in forest and tribal areas in the country, Ms. Roy said anadivasiarmy has a different worldview, which is not addressed while dealing with causes of insurgency. Speaking about her experiences in Dantewada, which form the basis of her essay “Walking with the Comrades”, Ms. Roy said even though she was accused of “romanticising tribal people”, she intended to do “quite the opposite”. The resistance movement of tribal people, she said, does not involve only Maoists. “There is a huge bandwidth of resistance movements of every kind [among tribals]...and they have managed to hold off the biggest corporations in the world so far,” she said.The Government's reaction to these movements, Ms. Roy added, comes in the form of offensives like Operation Green Hunt, which push tribals to resistance. Even as the discussion was in progress, a few Kashmiri Pandits tried to disrupt the book launch by shouting slogans such as “Arundhati Roymurdabaad” and throwing around the musical instruments set up on stage for a musical performance later in the evening.