Arundhati Roy: #Me Too Urban Naxal

(on next day edit: this is a labor of love and loathing: love for arundhati roy, and loathing Hindu thug narendra modi.  if it’s not the same for you, please don’t bother reading it.  i was pleased that it least gleaned a few comments over yonder.)

“To be lynched is a crime. To be poor is a crime. To defend the poor is to plot to overthrow the government, the vulnerable are being cordoned off and silenced. The vociferous are being incarcerated.”

This diary’s title is from Roy’srecent statement at a press conference is featured both scroll.in and outlookindia.com (both Aug. 30, although the former is an easier to read format).  The hashtag’s origin:
‘#MeTooUrbanNaxal Goes Viral, Here’s Why’:outlookindia, Aug. 30, 2018  [non-urban Naxals are Maoist Communists, often being accused of rural agri-terrorism..)

“The hashtag was created in response to a tweet by film maker Vivek Agnihotri, also an author of a book called Urban Naxals: The Making of Buddha in a Traffic Jam, who had tweeted: “I want some bright young people to make a list of all those who are defending #UrbanNaxals Let’s see where it leads. If you want to volunteer with commitment, pl DM me. @squintneon would you like to take the lead?” Agnihotri tweeted.”

These are portions of the full text of Roy’s statement to the press in Dehli.

“This morning’s papers settle something that we have been debating for a while. A front-page report in the Indian Express says “Police to Court: Those held part of anti-fascist plot to overthrow govt.” We should know by now that we are up against a regime that its own police call fascist. In the India of today, to belong to a minority is a crime. To be murdered is a crime. To be lynched is a crime. To be poor is a crime. To defend the poor is to plot to overthrow the government.

When the Pune police conducted simultaneous raids at the homes of well-known activists, poets, lawyers and priests across the country, and arrested five people – high-profile civil rights defenders and two lawyers – on ludicrous charges, with little or no paperwork, the Government would have known that it was stirring up outrage. It would have already taken all our reactions into account, including this press conference and all the protests that have taken place across the country, before it made this move. So why has this happened?

Recent analyses of real voter data as well the Lokniti-CSDS-ABP Mood of the Nation survey have shown that the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are losing popularity at an alarming pace (for them). This means that we are entering dangerous times. There will be ruthless and continuous attempts to divert attention from the reasons for this loss of popularity, and to fracture the growing solidarity of the opposition. It will be a continuous circus from now to the elections – arrests, assassinations, lynchings, bomb attacks, false flag attacks, riots, pogroms. We have learned to connect the season of elections with the onset of all kinds of violence. Divide and Rule, yes. But add to that – Divert and Rule. From now until the elections, we will not know from when, and where and how the fireball will fall on us, and what the nature of that fireball will be. So, before I speak about the arrests of lawyers and activists, let me just reiterate a few points that we must not allow our attention to stray from, even while it rains fire, and strange events befall us.

It has been a year and nine months since November 8, 2016 when Prime Minister Modi appeared on TV and announced his policy of demonetisation of 80% of the currency in circulation. His own Cabinet seemed to have been taken by surprise. Now the Reserve Bank of India has announced that 99% of the currency was returned to the banking system. The Guardian in the UK reports today, that the policy has likely wiped 1% from the country’s GDP and cost approximately 1.5 million jobs. Meanwhile, just the printing of new currency has cost the country several thousand crores. After Demonetisation, came the Goods and Services Tax – a tax that is structured in ways that have dealt a further body blow to small and medium businesses that were already reeling under Demonetisation.”

“While small businesses, traders and most of all the poor have suffered enormously, several corporations close to the BJP have multiplied their wealth several times over. Businessmen like Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi have been permitted to decamp with thousands of crores of public money while the government looked away.

What kind of accountability can we expect for all of this? None? Zero?” [snip]

I’d followed some of the evolving/devolving news on this via my favorite tankie on Twitter, but I can’t remember the sources now.  Many of you will undoubtedly remember a lot of it, but here’s a cheat sheet on Modi’s Cashless Society from zerohedge.com from Nov. 2016, including the opening paragraphs:

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged the nation’s small traders and daily wage earners to embrace digital payment channels, as a cash crunch following the government’s surprise ban on high-value bank notes drags on.

Modi, speaking in his monthly address on national radio, said the government understands that millions have been affected by the ban on 500-rupee and 1000-rupees notes, but defended the action.

 “I want to tell my small merchant brothers and sisters, this is the chance for you to enter the digital world,” Modi said speaking in Hindi, urging them to use mobile banking applications and credit-card swipe machines.

 “It’s correct that a 100 percent cashless society is not possible. But why don’t we make a beginning for a less-cash society in India?,” Modi said. “We can gradually move from a less-cash society to a cashless society.”

 More than 90 percent of consumer purchases in India are transacted in cash, Credit Suisse estimates. While a smartphone boom and falling mobile data prices have led to a surge in digital payments in recent years, the base still remains low.

 Modi urged technology-savvy young people to spare some time teaching others how to use digital payment platforms.”

Techno-Utopia for the Underclass, see?  Lessons from Bill Gates: “See this African woman farmer in her field with a SmartPhone?  She can now check weather forecasts and market conditions for her crop.”.

But this’ll fix the disinclusion of the rural poor, won’t it?

Back to Roy who seems unsurprised that as it prepares for the 2019 elections, the BJP is the wealthiest party in India.  But oh, my: she writes that the recently introduced electoral bonds mean that contributions will be anonymous, thus all political parties’ wealth will be hidden.

IndiaCorpLaw parses electoral bonds at some length, perhaps even too even-handedly, imo.

“The investigation by the Karnataka police into the assassination of the journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, has led several arrests which have in turn led to the unveiling of the activities of several right-wing Hindutva organisations like the Sanathan Sansthan. What has emerged is the existence of a shadowy, full-blown terror network, with hit-lists, hide-outs and safe-houses, flush with arms, ammunition and plans to bomb, kill, and poison people. How many of these groups do we know about? How many are continuing to work in secret? With the assurance that they have the blessings of the powerful, and possibly even the police, what plans do they have in store for us? What false-flag attacks? And what real ones? Where will they occur? Will it be in Kashmir? In Ayodhya? At the Kumbh Mela? How easily they could derail everything – everything – with some major, or even minor attacks that are amplified by pet media houses. To divert attention from this, the real threat, we have the hue and cry over the recent arrests.”

Arundhati is fiercely in favor of Kashmiri independence, and had earlier faced charges of sedition for saying so to the world.  For a primer, see ‘Modi and the Imperium: New Geopolitical BFFs’ toward the end of the diary, may the gods curse him and the lion he rode in on.


After writing of the horrific speed and corrupt ways in which educational institutions, including universities, are being dismantled, in favor of phantom schools and privatized Corporate Brahmanism, and the:

“Massive distress in the agricultural sector, increasing numbers of farmers’ suicides, the lynching of Muslims and the relentless attack on Dalits, the public floggings, the arrest of Chandrashekhar Azad, leader of the Bhim Army who dared to stand up to attacks by Upper castes. The attempt to dilute the Scheduled caste and Scheduled Tribes Atrocity Act.  [Dalits seem to be, or were, the untouchable class]

But here she gets the #UrbanNaxal territory:

“None of the five people who were arrested yesterday, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha – were present at the Elgar Parishad rally that took place on December 31, 2017, or at the rally the following day when approximately 3,00,000 people, mostly Dalit, gathered to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon victory.) The Elgar Parishad was organised by two eminent retired judges, Justice Sawant and Justice Kolse Patel. The rally the following day was attacked by Hindutva fanatics, which led to days of unrest. The two main accused are Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide. Both are still at large. Following an FIR registered by one of their supporters, in June 2018 the Pune police arrested five activists, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawle, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut and the lawyer Surendra Gadling. They are accused of plotting violence at the rally and also of plotting to kill the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. They remain in custody, charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Fortunately they are still alive, unlike Ishrat Jahan, Sohrabuddin and Kauser Bi, who, years ago, were accused of the same crime, but did not live to see a trial.”

“It has been important for governments, both the Congress-led UPA and the BJP to disguise their attacks on Adivasis, and now, in the case of the BJP, their attack on Dalits – as an attack on “Maoists” or “Naxals.” This is because, unlike in the case of Muslims who have been almost been erased from electoral arithmetic, all political parties do have an eye on those Adivasi and Dalit constituencies as potential vote banks. By arresting activists and calling them “Maoists’, the Government manages to undermine and insult Dalit aspiration by giving it another name—while at the same time appearing to be sensitive to “Dalit issues.” Today, as we speak, there are thousands of people in jail across the country, poor and disadvantaged people, fighting for their homes, for their lands, for their dignity—people accused of sedition and worse, languishing without trial in crowded prisons.”

For background, see for instance: ‘Assassination Plot, Home Ministry to Tighten Modi’s Security’, timesofindia.com, June 11. 2018

“The home ministry is in receipt of a report from Maharashtra Police regarding certain communications amongst individuals having links to Maoists organisations containing references to targeting the prime minister, it said.
The purported letter allegedly mentioned of a plan to “assassinate  Modi in “another Rajiv Gandhi-type incident”, the police had told the court.”., etc, wash, rinse, repeat; sound familiar?

Extras: ‘This Is Absolutely Chilling’: Ram Guha, Arundhati Roy And Others React To Activists’ Arrests, A number of prominent youth leaders, activists and authors issued a joint statement, alleging it was an attempt by the BJP to engage in “scaremongering” and “polarise” the 2019 elections in its favour’, Aug. 29, outlookindia.com

“They Would Have Arrested Gandhi”: Ramachandra Guha On Raids On Activists

Also by Arundhati Roy: ‘I Don’t Believe There Are Only Two Genders. I See Gender As A Spectrum And I’m…’ [somewhere on that spectrum] Aug. 25, 2015, outlookidnia.com

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

5 responses to “Arundhati Roy: #Me Too Urban Naxal

  1. it’s important. funny how the market efficiencies of a cashless society make everyone completely dependent on people like Modi & his asshole pals Omidyar & co at Payprick and the like. funny how capitalism devolves, too, ain’t it? fascism, here we come. buckle your seatbelts. let’s stoke a war with Pakistan in order to “save” the free market! do it for Ebay!

    india is the future. sterilized women, gmo crops, mass suicide, pogroms & genocides & internal ethnic or religious tensions, imperialism/aggression against neighbors…and financial schemes & scams to control the economic life of the people. with a shiny democratic sheen to it all. even the shoeshine boy and lemonade stand will have to use some equivalent to Paypal.

    how will an overwhelming population of peasants be brought into the Brave New Future? one answer is to have the suicide rate exceed the birth rate. my, these are exciting times! is there a smartphone app we can develop to help peasant farmers w/the difficult & personal decision of suicide? can we monetize & incentivize the purchase of suicide pills? because giving suicide pills away is commie bunkum.

    oh wait, I forgot massive water depletion as another way India heralds our brave new future. i’m sure I’ve left a few things out. one or two. oh and targeting of journalists? hosting Tom Friedman?

    • well done, j. dinnae know about hosting tom friedman, but given his last PR charm offensives in amerika (two of which were guided by the sainted tulsi gabbard) he worked some kinda silicon valley magic on em. well, and adding more lily pad military bases for the amerikan hegemon’s pleasure and profit.

      but the postal money stops: ‘the poor don’t even have to leave home to get a loan’ made me think of course of pierre’s micro loans in india, the defaults, new loans, defaults, and some suicides. i’d also mentioned that i’d thunk ‘namasté’ modi had been persona non grata earlier, so i’d let my fingers do the bingling and found it all in one swell foop at…pando! (the most reviled site in the kingdom).

      ‘Pierre Omidyar’s man in India is named to Modi’s cabinet’, mark ames, nov. 2014
      https://pando.com/2014/11/09/pierre-omidyars-man-in-india-is-named-to-modis-cabinet/

      stay well and safe out there, tom joad on the road.

      • what do we learn from the NYT about India? we learn the supreme court has overturned the gay marriage ban.

        I don’t know that it is an objective of the Indian ruling class to focus people’s attention on & distract them with sexual politics, but I’m positive it is so in the US & its media cheerleaders. I don’t know enough about Indian society to comment on the ramifications of this court decision but suicide among Indian farmers & NGO’s sterilizing women and all the host of other horror touched upon here is not fit for discussion in the NYT. but the “largest democracy in the world’s” promotion of gay rights is just too big a story to pass up. you don’t see Putin lettin’ gays marry do you? didn’t think so.

        off to apply for a job at ClownWorld. should fit right in

        • hyuk hyuk hyuk

          what’s important and the news fit to print, anyway? next up: namasté modi joins the #MeToo movement, apologizes for all the rapes and murders of muslims his henchmen committed when he was chief minister of gujjarat for 13 years.

          sure got me curious about ‘clownworld’, though. i hate clowns. ;-)

  2. ‘Arundhati Roy: The U.S. Is Growing Closer to India Militarily as Modi Expands Crackdown on Dissent’ DN, September 06, 2018

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