Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy on Wednesday compared the “India of today” to a plane going backward and assured that it is “headed for a crash”.
Arundhati Roy on India’s progress
The notable author was speaking on Wednesday at the launch of the book “Why do you fear my way so much?”, a selection of poems and letters by jailed human rights activist GN Saibaba.
The 62-year-old writer said the country’s leaders, who led “truly revolutionary movements” in the 1960s for the redistribution of wealth and land, now seek votes through the distribution of “5 kg rice and 1 kg salt” to voters.
“Recently, I asked a pilot friend of mine, ‘Can you fly a plane backward?’ He laughed out loud. I said ‘this is exactly what is happening here,” said Roy adding, “The leaders of this country are flying the plane in reverse, everything is falling, and we are headed for a crash.”
Roy further said that India is a country of “sophisticated jurisprudence”, but one in which laws apply differently based on “caste, class, gender, and ethnicity”.
“What are we doing here today? We are meeting to talk about a professor who is paralyzed 90 percent and has been in jail for seven years. That is what we are doing. That is enough. We do not have to speak anymore. That is enough to tell you what kind of country we are living in. What shame is this?” she said.
GN Saibaba, who has over 90 percent physical disabilities and uses a wheelchair, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017 by a court in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district on the charge of having Maoist links and engaging in activities amounting to “waging war against the country”.
The court held GN Saibaba and others guilty under the tough anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Saibaba was an English Professor at Ram Lal Anand College until his arrest in 2014. He has been at Nagpur Central Jail ever since. He was terminated from Ram Lal Anand College on 31 March last year.