Understand the future, Arundhati Roy urges radical Left

Writer-activist Arundhati Roy having a word with Civil Liberties Committee secretary N. Narayana Rao at its first Telangana State Congress in Hyderabad on Saturday.  

Celebrated writer-activist Arundhati Roy urged the country’s Left to understand the future that is set to be controlled by technology and data-gathering.

While the radical Left was still talking about revolution, a revolution has already taken place wherein a former Brahminical elite was replaced by a new elite, which would survive only by manipulating the minds of the next generation, the Booker Prize winner said while delivering her address at the Civil Liberties Committee’s first Telangana State Congress here on Saturday.

Peasants and workers would not find a place in the future as there would not be any work. The future would pivot on technology, artificial intelligence and data-gathering, all of which would be used for surveillance of people.

“And we all know what fascism has done with surplus people,” she said, and warned of impending ‘micro fascism’ which would keep tab on the mass of unemployed people in cities with no access to resources, and who would be controlled using data gathered about them through Aadhaar and such tools.

The same corporation pushing for Aadhaar has set up large foundations to fund intellectuals, so as to buy their silence.

“Each time we agree to divide ourselves along caste, gender, communities, ethnicities, and language, it’s a success for the new aggressive capitalism masquerading as benevolent democracy,” Ms. Roy warned.

The complexity with which the future is coming upon us needs to be understood, as it would not be about winning elections, she said. The real danger to the society is not fundamentalism, but ‘cretinism’ and idiocy which seeks to attack every form of intelligence through attacks on universities.

“They have to break every single educational institution. They have to make every single history book, the work of a moron, so that the link between any kind of intelligent and radical politics is broken in the next generation,” she said.

Likening the note ban to “breaking the backs” of citizens, she said people rioted when it was sought to be implemented in other countries such as Venezuela. In India, there was anger, but the move was accepted. Similar situation prevails around Judge Loya’s mysterious death. These are tests to see how far people would accept control. “This is how fascism is creeping in on us today,” she said.

Academic-activist Nandini Sundar said the combination of state power and vigilante forces has become the norm across the country, and law itself has become a tool of harassment. Fascism is using technology to promote medievalism, and the fight would not stop with the 2019 elections, but would be continued till the “poison” is removed from minds, she said.

Another academic G. Haragopal observed that the development model of the present dispensation was inhuman, and that was why it needed exercise of power. The destruction which had begun during the Congress regime was continuing now with more viciousness, he said, condemning the arrest of students on false allegations of conspiring to kill the Vice-Chancellor of University of Hyderabad.

Writer and intellectual Katyayani said civil rights were not only about Maoists, but the awareness needs to be created among citizens, especially the middle-class.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 4:30:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/understand-the-future-arundhati-roy-urges-radical-left/article23468374.ece

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