Why the heck is it so important to be a patriot of any kind? This reveals the utter desperation and inability to deny a stratified concept completely.
Here is what the newspapers say:
Writer-activist Arundhati Roy on Sunday described Maoists as "patriot of a kind" and accused the prime minister and home minister of "violating the Constitution and Panchayat (Extension of Scheduled Areas) Act by allowing corporates to use tribal land". "Patriot of a kind, they (Maoists) are. But here patriotism is very complicated. So at the moment what people are fighting for is to keep this country from falling apart," Roy said after addressing a meet on Cultural Resistance to War on People in Corporate Interest, organised by a magazine.
Patriotism is not complicated if you know your mind and the minds of the people on whose behalf you speak. There are indeed different kinds of fidelity – whether to the nation or in relationships or from your pet dog. The whole credo of ‘someone’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter’ has been going on for years and it is understood as a complex theory.
However, to say that they are fighting to keep this country from falling apart is a stretch. These are insurgency movements and they are protesting against the policies of various governments and the establishment; they are not sewing patches and not one separatist movement has any alliance with another in any part of the country. All those verbal pebbles in Kashmir did not cause even a minor ripple in the Naxal forest lakes.
"The whole world has been intently watching the poor tribal people of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and Lalgarh (West Bengal). Nowhere in the world have movements (against corporate invasion) so big, beautiful and successful been carried," she said.
The whole world does not care and we should not be concerned about how the whole world is viewing movements within our country that are truly fighting for space and a say. I am quite certain that for Ms. Roy the world does not mean what Papua New Guinea or Burkina Faso or even Bangladesh and Nepal think; it is the huge conglomerate nations, the G-Summiteers who need to be impressed. That’s where the big-ticket seminars are held.
There is no doubt that the poor have raised their voices but it has come at a huge cost. There is nothing “beautiful” about it, unless you want to print glossy pamphlets that show up clotted blood in high resolution pixels. Quit romanticising the travails of the poor.
Was the magazine that organised the lecture a tribal one or sponsored by the poor? No. This is a business sector, and Ms. Roy is a part of it. Let us just say this too is corporatisation of a kind.