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Oh, she?s so wonderful, that Ms Roy!

Ms Roy is a national treasure, even if she has chosen to travel to New York on a passport that is not Indian.

india Updated: May 24, 2006 00:31 IST
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In her wildly entertaining essay The End of Imagination, Arundhati Roy wrote, “If protesting against having a nuclear bomb implanted in my brain is anti-Hindu and anti-national, then I secede. I hereby declare myself an independent, mobile republic.” As the nation mourned the loss of one of its most outspoken citizens-- and as independent mobile phone companies made inroads into India-- we, selfish people with the attention span of a gnat, started seeing in Ms Roy quaint qualities that we once cherished in hysterical Hindi movies starring Manoj Kumar. Except, of course, unlike Mr Bharat, Ms Roy is Ms Un-India. And we applaud her from the expensive seats at the back for that.

The latest matinee show that Ms Roy has put up for us is from far-away New York, where she was reading from her fictional work, The God of Small Things. But then, she reportedly looked up at the spotlight, gave the audience the distinct feeling that they were witnessing Joan of Arc (in a sari), and proceeded to speak on an issue that was bothering her, “There is no real democracy in India. Several states in India are on the verge of civil war.” Then she continued to feed more fish to the seals in the tank by stating that Kashmir was a deadlier place than Iraq and that President George Bush had addressed Indians from a ‘zoo’-- although one wonders what Sher Shah Suri or Emperor Humayun would have thought about someone mixing up the fort they built in the 16th century for a zoo.

Ms Roy is a national treasure, even if she has chosen to travel to New York on a passport that is not Indian. Let’s cherish her thoughts and try and make India a perfect democracy. But hang on, won’t she then return to writing fiction? How then will she have the time to show us the dark linings attached to every cloud?

First Published: May 24, 2006 00:31 IST