A softer Arundhati Roy?

An interview of Arundhati Roy by Stephen Moss in yesterday’s Guardian caught my eye. Read it. Loved it.  And…

I thought she sounded different. Oh the abruptness, directness is still there. What she says is far more outrageous in terms of supporting the Maoists. Yet, I find this article far less offensive than here earlier ones. The key difference I realized was… yes, the lady has become far more lethal, not only in her purpose (which I actually support), but because she has become focussed.

I have written about her before and said a lot of nasty things. What bothered me the most about Arundhati was:

Basically, she gets the crux of the matter brilliantly and then destroys its utility by making it combative. Nothing is an idea. It is criticism.

This article changes that. It has none of the accusations, blame games, and “shrill hyperbole” which has for long become an irritating identity. Gone is all the “Hindu Brahmin capitalism”. She doesn’t retract anything, but she speaks of purpose rather than judgment. That is charming. It speaks of where SHE is vis a vis things. And that changes everything. I actually felt like I met her for the first time, as a person.

I’d rather not spoil the interview by quoting or commenting too much here, but I think at the stage where India is right now, An Arundhati who can offer wisdom without allocating immediate blame will enrich us as a country. I have always accepted that her insights at the grassroots level of experience of living as an Indian are amazing, and she has the eloquence to give them the visibility they need. Now that she isn’t alienating the people who wish to do something for the better by painting them villains, these are people she will be inspiring.

That is what I think. It is good, because this is a time when we will soon be needing sharp insights with a solid feel for democracy, which she does have when she isn’t putting it aside in a retaliation for some sin or the other.

I hope this change is real and lasting, because… to choose words from an old article:

In some ways, she is India’s golden child who bit us. A part of us will always hope for some affection in return.

It will be a healing of a rift. Go read the article.

Got a lot of tweets about this article. Many insulting her. All I can say is that I have changed many times in my life. Grown, matured, become softer, harder, cruel, kind, many things. People change. If our understanding of them doesn’t update, then we are responding to our perceptions, not the person. I can respect a person who reenters with new maturity without holding grudges. Some can’t. We are all different. This is not to say you should. Each of us have our own ways of accepting or rejecting people that suit our personalities. Just saying that addressing criticism about her to me solves nothing.

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