The media, the message, and the messengers

The Booker Prize winning author Arundhati Roy‘s 31-page, 19,556-word essay “Walking with the comrades” in Outlook magazine*, has produced a fast and succinct response from the journalistic Twitterati after Tuesday’s dastardly ambush of paramilitary forces by said comrades.

From top, NDTV English group editor Barkha Dutt, Pioneer senior editor Kanchan Gupta, Indian Express columnist Tavleen Singh, former Stardust editor Shobhaa De, and London based freelance writer, Salil Tripathi.  Tripathi also has a finely argued critique of Roy’s piece in The Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, the adman turned magazine editor turned columnist Anil Thakraney offers this take on his Facebook status update.

* Disclosures apply

Screenshots: courtesy Twitter


  1. Just a gentle reminder to these fulminating folks that the BJP has been in power in the state for 8 years now. Law and order is a state subject…when will people really take responsibility instead of potshots at writers? The C.M and the Home Minister of the state should have resigned in any sane responsible government..not to mention the suave and glib Home Minister of our great country.

  2. oh… yeah.

    How will they make their revenues if Vedanta’s, Tata’s and Essar’s are not allowed to pillage the forests and hills?

    get a break.

    Maudlin Barkha can cry over and over but who pays for all those tears?

  3. Vishala Manassu

    Beautiful Arundhati.

    excellent one here
    —The home minister’s been issuing veiled threats to those who “erroneously offer intellectual and material support to Maoists”. Does sharing music qualify?—-

    don’t worry about home minister. We are here to support you.

    The people who vote are 50% who are advantaged by govt jobs or bribes or whatever. The rest are termed as jerks who are meant to be suppressed. This is not only a mantra of capitalism and class hierarchy but also a racism. The colour of these people need a human eye like yours to be considered as our own human gene ,else sumptuous 9% growing brownies are no better than whites in treating a touch of melanin on a gene.
    10 paise for a bundle – what a mockery of trade?

    I salute your courage and this wonderful visionary article with photographs. You have brought some weight to journalism. You alone weigh more than NDTV and all India media put together.

  4. It was expected and there shall be more bloodshed in the heartland of India unless the bigheads decide to give one last chance for peace talks…

    People shouldn’t forget, the home minister had declared the war on Maoists much earlier than the attack on CRPF men. The mainstream media had romanticised it as the operation green hunt. The so called war was on. The poor CRPF jawans were there carrying out the orders from the capital to finish off the naxals. Would naxals have said to the state’s forces “please come and kill us??”. No, they’ll definitely kill the opposition forces that have come to hunt them down.

    It is a question of survival in tribal areas. Survival for state forces and naxallites. Today CRPF Jawans have been killed. Tomorrow naxals will be killed. And the day after it will be turn table again. More and more people will be killed and almost all of them will be from the poorer sections of the society: (tribals, tribals turned naxals, tribals turned police informers, poor jawans from remote corners of the country,…). nobody from the cabinet ministry,corporate world and middle classes of Indian cities will die in this war. People can continue to get sucked into different agenda broadcast on 24×7 news channels that build an opinion for war in the heartland……. ridiculous countrymen.

    say no to war in the heart of the country that in the end will leave behind dead forestlands with no life in it….

  5. RMCT

    These writers who criticize arundhtai so harshly are the ones who have never went out of thier A/C rooms, never have known the problems of the tribal people (eg. Shobha De- a writer of erotica, Tavleen singh a journalist with no perception of india’s problems).More over they just reflect the callous brutal upper middle class of Indian society. Have any of them taken pains to really understand the tribal problems (much less in braving off the jungle to meet the tribals face to face as arundhati did). Tavleen very rarely have written anything about issue of tribal oppression. She even ignorantly criticized Medha patkar in past, how can such an arrogant lady understand the tribal problems.

    All the while the truths and the indisputable facts that Arundhati Roy exposed about the tribal problems have opened the eyes of many Indians (including me). And no doubt she got enormous international attention for her bold stand which would have irritated these pseudo intellectuals.

    Government wants to steal the tribal land for TATA and Essar, 102 MoU’s in back-log, and Salwa Judum could not be successful in defeating the Naxals or evacuating the tribals through their brutality. So the impatient MNC’s would have forced the government to do something and hence CRPF is sent to clear the forest of tribals and Naxals (the only obstacle for MNC looting) so that the MNC’s can freely loot the iron ore and Bauxite and sell it to China.

    The unfortunate CRPF jawans (inspite of the brutality that they show to the people) and pitted to fight and kill (or die by) naxals. The poor people fight and kill each other while the MNC’s make profits.

    The deceptive media which is embedded with the corporate world will black paint any body who will expose the real issues. When deve gowda remarked about the root causes of Naxal problems he was attacked, when Dig Vijay Singh told that Naxal problem is not a simple law and order problem, he was forced to retract.

    In a country where democratic ways of protest are not heeded but turned down (in a number of cases) the tribal people are forced to take arms and violence. Hence the insurgency. No CRPF can contain it except solving the root causes.

    I congragulate Arundhati Roy for the extra-ordinary courage that she has shown in exposing the evil deeds of Great Indian democracy up on it’s own people.


    ” Today CRPF Jawans have been killed. Tomorrow naxals ,…….. nobody from the cabinet ministry,corporate world and middle classes of Indian cities will die in this war. ”
    Great comment. you are right

  6. Arundhati Roy has an arresting smile but one may wonder, with so much to worry about, how one can indulge in the feudal past time of smiling. I presume laughing would place her self firmly with her deeply hated corporate and the devious Uncle Sam. That would be totally unacceptable and so neo-capitalist to core and perhaps swiftly demand a summary execution in a Maoist kangaroo court
    She has found her enviable groovy slot; appreciating Maoists, demonizing state, justifying Mumbai terror attack, bad mouthing market, blood sucking capitalism and greedy corporate.

    The cozy fat advance funded existence and indulgences, presumably from publishing corporate makes her life very easy along with forays to articulate poor angst and related terrorism.

    Understandably her pen spews acid and more acid whenever her fragile sensitive mind is disturbed by whatever is utterly wrong with every thing in this wretched, feudal, bad, neo-capitalist, Brahaminical, blood sucking exploitative world.

    Further my feudal-neo-capitalist curiosity about make or perhaps the brand of her acid filled pen is formidable; it can not be and should not have been produced in some blood sucking sweatshops of west.

    Her distasteful and careless expression of terming Maoists as “Gandhians with Guns” is outrageous. But exotica scourging media always curiously loves weird and outrageous stuff.

    I don’t have any grudge that she made tons of money through neo-capitalist-west originated and supported book launches and all the marketing strategies of a multinational publishing house. The sweet smell of money one nosy pen pusher felt during those heady initial “God of Small Things” days, in her barsati, made her free of so much money centered restrains, if they were any. Her fusion with capitalist publishing, fertile imagination and writing skills were preordained and justified. Most big bad capitalist owned media gives huge space to her acidic views for public consumptions.

    She has been extremely guarded in her criticism of the latest Maoist attack on a private bus killing about 50 people. It is said that the heavily armed brave warriors of the poor went on pumping bullets in to dead bodies of women and children, tells own gruesome tale of their depravity. But her terror sympathetic faculties must be really busy trying hard to find and nail any state role and lapses, leading to the incident. There is no doubt that she will find some thing fast and absolve the innocent, armed poor trying hard to save their land from the greedy corporate by killing civilians.

    In a TV interview, she also opined that the Maoist ideologues are using these poor harassed tribal to further their own agenda and the poor are also wise enough to use these ideologues. Her deeply obsessive fascination to further the cause of romanticized gruesome Maoist terror, she perhaps does not care, that she is also being used by the clever remnants foot soldiers of one of the most brutal and oppressive ideologues and their defunct empire of deceit, world wide.

    Thankfully she has declined to mediate between government and ultras, being aware of her lack of skills as a facilitator. At the same time her belief in a fake democracy, all politicians dishonest, presiding over an exploitative system serving hated corporate looters is so strong and deep that it’s good she is away from any negotiations.

    Off course the system is defective and diseased, but it is evolving too, though slowly. It is needless to say that the state and its various arms and faculties have contributed to or ignored the buildup of problems to current pathetic stage. And she knows having been part of the same system for short. But to believe support the view that the dreaded Maoists are there for solving the real problems of poor is beyond any reason, logic and comprehension. It is also well known what their ultimate ideological and blood soaked class struggle afflicted objectives are.

    But a disease is never cured by other deadly disease; she is hell bent on suggesting and so haughtily justifying.

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