Arundhati Roy returns national award over protest against intolerance in India
Arundhati Roy has won many laurels including National Award for Best Screenplay for In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones in 1989 and 1997 Booker Prize for The God of Small Things.
“First of all, “intolerance” is the wrong word to use for the lynching, shooting, burning and mass murder of fellow human beings. Second, we had plenty of advance notice of what lay in store for us — so I cannot claim to be shocked by what has happened after this government was enthusiastically voted into office with an overwhelming majority. Third, these horrific murders are only a symptom of a deeper malaise”, Arundhati Roy stated in an article on an Indian news agency.
“Life is hell for the living too. Whole populations — millions of Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and Christians — are being forced to live in terror, unsure of when and from where the assault will come”, she added.
Roy wrote that India will turn into a nation devoid of intellection if it does not have the right to free speech.
She also stated that the nation is living in a country in which, when the thugs and apparatchiks of the New Order talk of “illegal slaughter”, they mean the imaginary cow that was killed — not the real man who was murdered. When they talk of taking “evidence for forensic examination” from the scene of the crime, they mean the food in the fridge, not the body of the lynched man. We say we have “progressed”, but when Dalits are butchered and their children burned alive, which writer today can freely say, like Babasaheb Ambedkar once did, that “to the untouchables, Hinduism is a veritable chamber of horrors”, without getting attacked, lynched, shot or jailed? Which writer can write what Saadat Hasan Manto wrote in his “Letters to Uncle Sam”? It doesn’t matter whether we agree or disagree with what is being said.
“I believe what artists and intellectuals are doing right now is unprecedented, and does not have a historical parallel. It is politics by other means. I am so proud to be part of it. And so ashamed of what is going on in this country today”, she concluded.