Saturday, December 4, 2010

I wish I had written that

Once in a while one reads an article and feels "Oh, I wish I had written that". Well here's a nice example. Browsing the blogosphere for articles by/about P. Sainath, the very respected commentator on India's social problems, I found:

"P Sainath and Arundhati Roy – Why Is One The Nation’s Conscience, The Other The Bane?"

This article answers the question to my satisfaction. I'm glad that's out of the way, for me at least.

P.S.  Rahul Siddharthan has written about Ms Roy on similar lines in this posting.


sacredfig said...

Well, I for one am glad that you didn't write that piece. Quite frankly, I don't see what the point of it was. To expect one to be a bit more like the other is absurd. If you like Sainath so much (and I do too, very much!), read him twice if you prefer.
Arundhati on the other hand is a polemicist. She fulfils a different requirement of public discourse - to shock people out of apathy. Her style might be grating, sometimes a bit sanctimonious ..true. But voices like her are often needed to adequately express outrage - a genuine moral sentiment. If I need facts, I'll go somewhere else.
I might also add here, that at a time when the most obscene repression against freedom of expression is being undertaken by the judiciary/establishment under the most arcane laws like "sedition", people are busy splitting hairs about how she splits infinitives, or how her style is grating. That, sadly, is more pathetic than anything Arundhati might write.

Rahul Basu said...

Hmm...Rahul Siddharthan wrote about it, soon after I did on my blog, to which there were many comments, both disagreeing and agreeing....

Amusing, that my blog is totally invisible to this one....doubly so since Rahul S starts off by linking to mine!!! Did I use invisible ink?

cribbo said...

I speak for myself here. I find it very strange that any one thinks that Roy does not write well, or that her words do not have the power of logic.

I have read each and every one of her articles, and what strikes me each time is the clarity, and the way she gets to the heart of the matter and the beautiful way in which she presents it.

For instance,as an example if one reads her article: the greater common good- There is a para, in which she describes the meaning of "power"

I am yet to come across another place or article where its described so brilliantly.

I would like to paste it here:

QUOTE [To slow a beast, you break its limbs. To slow a nation, you break its people. You demonstrate your absolute command over their destiny. You make it clear that ultimately it falls to you to decide who lives, who dies, who prospers who doesn't. To exhibit your capability you show off all that you can do, and how easliy you can do it. How easily you could press a button and annihilate the earth. How you can start a war, or sue for peace. How you can snatch a river away from one and gift it to another. How you can green a desert, or fell a forest and plant one somewher else. You use caprice to fracture a people's faith in the ancient things - earth, forest, water, air. Once that's done, what do they have left? Only you. They will turn to you, because you're all they have. They will love you even while they despise you. They will trust you even though they know you well. They will vote for you even as squeeze the very breath from their bodies. They will drink what you give them to drink. They will breathe what you give them to breathe. They will live where you dump their belongings. They have to. What else can they do? There's no higher court of redress. You are their mother and their father. You are the judge and the jury. You are the World. You are God.] UNQUOTE

Interestingly, if you see the video on the Narmada bachao andolan,(on youtube) you will realize that in valley this very para is spoken out by a local person, translated in hindi, as an inspiring speech to the people who are fighting their displacements.

This is the relevant video:

This itself is a proof that her words and writings are of some use at least to some broken people. Its better than of not being of any use at all to anybody.

I for one think that both Roy and Sainath in their respective ways and with their individual capacities are trying to address the problems in our society. For this, I respect them a great deal.

There is no point in comparing them. - Both are the conscience of the nation.

Sayan said...

Sainath's take on the Radia tapes

Genevieve Castelino said...

Thank you so much Sunil for reading and linking to our post. These days news is noise and noise is news. We blog to attempt to understand the difference and make sense of the madness.

Looking forward to coming back to read more of your writing.


WebMiner said...

Thanks sacredfig! At worst, Roy produces bad literature. But I don't see even one percent of the venom and vitriol that the great Indian middle class has for Roy directed at Koda, Modi, Kalmadi, Modi, Raja, Raju, Sanghvi, Dutt, et al. Each of these goons has hurt India indescribably more than Roy.

jyotsana said...

Amusing isn't it that everyone forgets Arundati is acceptable despite the fact that she backs a jihadi thug like Geelani and his underling Mirwaiz both of whom simply want a sharia managed Kashmir within Pakistan?