Thursday, November 11, 2010


Last to last week's Mid-day column - we had Divali holiday in between.

A couple of my friend's fought with me about it because they felt I did not take a clear stand on what I felt about what Arundhati Roy said about Kashmir - and I felt a bit frustrated by that. I somehow think there are many types of solidarity - I suppose one is definitely for many to say the same thing at the same time.

On the other hand I guess I am a bit more invested in trying to reach out to a more "regular" audience and also in the idea of debate which eventually is not about rights and wrongs but about the ability to listen. And I don't feel very interested in making declarations about matters of national importance (which is not to say that I don't think those declarations should be made) but interested in a rather more local voice and way.

Still, it's an uncertain thought, only half formed in my head and I'm still wondering.

2 comments:

perdita said...

Hi Paro - it's me perdita - back again!

First of all, I liked your column, so stop feeling ambivalent about it.

I don't know what your friends meant by "a clear stand". Does anyone have one on Kashmir? If so, I would be glad to hear it.

Arundhati had a right to say what she did, if I'm not mistaken even the Home Ministry said so, so where is the chakkar? You were abs right in backing her right to be a thinking person, who is also not afraid to say what she thinks, at the risk of being very unpopular indeed.

Also, is Kashmir a matter of national importance, as you say? I think that is very much mistaking the matter. Kashmir has either nothing to do with the "national importance" of India, or just about as much as Tibet has to do with the "national importance" of China (in my unimportant opinion, of course, which no one cares about. If I were Arundhati they'd be coming over to burn me alive right now). I'm ashamed and embarassed and can't really look at Kashmiris in Delhi in the face anymore. it is a question of their nation, not ours.

If it were a perfect world, and it was easy enough to carve up countries without a shot fired or a mob gathered or a woman raped or a child murdered, then Kashmir would have been allowed to leave the Indian Conglomeration of the Disaffected - in my opinion, which no one cares about, of course. Though I don't like her much, hurrah for Arundhati and her guts!

parotechnics said...

Hello Perdita - how nice to see you back.

Well I think I was a little telegraphic in what I meant.

1. "National importance" should have been in inverted commas because I believe some issues become part of a roster of political importance that's also invested in the idea of the nation state - as much for those who dissent on behalf of others as for those who reiterate the integrity of the nation state as it exists officially.

2. When I say "local" I also mean it as not submitting to that idea of importance, and the stock responses it generates (as I see it as a kind of inverted political elitism) but to address other concerns of mine - the way people live with ideas, for lack of a better way to put it.

But it's certainly a relief and rather nice that you liked the column :)