Spread courage to bring forth a change, says Arundhati Roy

Writer Arundhati Roy in conversation with academic Divya Dwivedi at the Kerala Literature Festival on the Kozhikode beach on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: S_RAMESHKURUP

“We are living in a dangerous time and we must see how we can spread courage among the people to make a change,” writer Arundhati Roy has said.

She was talking to the media on the sidelines of the Kerala Literature Festival which began here on Thursday.

“Today, capital is in the hands of fewer and fewer people, water is in the hands of fewer and fewer people, and information is in the hands of fewer and fewer people. We are going to become a total surveillance State by the time Aadhaar comes,” she said.

It was not just with the police, the army, bullets, and killing that authoritarianism was tightening its grip. It was also through things such as Aadhaar and laws that were being passed every day, the rights of workers were being taken away, spaces where anything could be said were being dismantled.

Ms. Roy said that public places, such as the Jantar Mantar in the national capital, were now out of bound for people to stage protests and we should show the courage to open up those places.

“What we need to fear more than fundamentalism was “threatenism,” which was the mother of fascism,” she pointed out.

“There are hundreds and thousands of people in jail today in places such as Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh, people who don’t have names, who don’t have lawyers, who don’t even know why they are in jail. Because of that tightening, land is in the hands of a few, money is in the hands of a few, information is in the hands of a few, and once that happens, those people have complete power,” Ms. Roy pointed out.

“The same thing has happened with business. Small businesses are out because of demonetisation and GST. Big businesses, they own the media, they own the mines, they own the phone networks, cricket teams, petrochemicals, etc. Obviously, the voice of dissent is not coming from the traditional media because of that. The problem is not with journalism, but with the model of ownership,” Ms. Roy said.

“We do have to see how we can spread not just the word, but courage. People have understood they are being taken for a ride,” she added.

Earlier, she discussed the politics behind writing her second novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, at a session with academic Divya Dwivedi.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 6:42:21 PM |

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