November 2, 2010

arundhati, geelani, kashmir and freedom of speech

arundhati in india news
Yesterday, P. Chidambaram announced that Delhi Police would not take any action against Arundhati Roy for making remarks about Kashmir not being an 'integral part of India' a line India keeps close to its heart. BJP has been demanding strict legal action for 'seditious' remarks made by her. Law Minister Moily has slammed Arundhati and Hindu Pandits from Kashmir have been demanding her arrest.

Arundhati made these remarks in a seminar at Delhi in which Syed Geelani - the avowed India hater - also spoke. He has been arrested a few dozen times, only to evoke more anti-India feelings in Kashmir.

What the two said has been discussed threadbare in the media, both traditional and web media. But that is not the issue here. The issue is, whether it makes sense for the government to react to expressions of the type Geelani and Arundhati make? Well, to say that the Government should act mature and ignore them sounds liberal but here lies the dilemma. To what extent should the liberty be given? If action is to be taken, what type of action?

I think, though the middle path is often the best path in such cases, the Government should not directly be a party. Never. Nor should its Ministers / spokespersons get dragged into what is right and what is wrong. In fact, P Chidambaram's trying to show Government's magnanimity was also uncalled for. Government should let its wings - administration and police - to do their job [and this job should be mature and well-considered, keeping in view all its implications] and if the decided job is to deal with rubble-raisers firmly, take the stand that law would takes its course. No apologies after that.

Coming back to Arundhati and Geelani, their speeches in seminars or articles in Outlook or some other magazine would not destabilise a country like India. And what did she say? Even the government appointed interlocutors said almost the same thing.

As for Geelani, his life-long India baiting in Kashmir has done India hardly any harm; it is our mis-handling of the situation in Kashmir that is the real culprit.

"Kashmir has never been an integral part of India. It is an historical fact. Even the Indian Government has accepted this...": Arundhati in a seminar, "Azadi - the only option" at Delhi on October 24, 2010

“I said what millions of people here say every day... I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland...It's a pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.” : Arundhati in defence of her stand on Kashmir


  1. No need to be kind to people like Geelani. You can spare Arundhati Roy.

  2. I like your advice to ministers and babus. But it won't reach them. By the way, even if the Times of India gave such advice, would they listen?