Published: Monday, Nov 15, 2010, 1:19 IST
By Madhushree Chatterjee
Agency: IANS There’s no love lost between Shashi Tharoor and Arundhati Roy. The Member of Parliament (MP) and writerduring the Hay Festival in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday hit out at the Booker prize-winner activist for defending the Maoists.
“Arundhati Roy has gone too far to the left like (writer-thinker) Christopher Hitchens, who has gone far too right. Arundhati Roy, unfortunately, chooses to write about those who carry with guns — it is sad for those at the receiving end of the guns. By writing about Gandhians with guns, she loses a large number of people. A large number of innocent Indians have been killed by the Gandhians with guns,” Tharoor said.
He added: “As a writer, it is her writing that gives her an audience, but the views that she expresses can be dealt with on the platform they are expressed.”
The MP also hinted that her views could be treated as “sedition”.
Roy has been targeted for describing Maoists as Gandhians in her articles and for also speaking favourably of the Kashmiri separatists’ demand of azadi.
Tharoor also said that the removal of Rohinton Mistry’s book, Such a Long Journey, from the Mumbai University syllabus haunts him. “I was just horrified that it happened in Mumbai (the metropolis where he spent several growing up years). Rohinton Mistry wrote such fine books; and because the book had taken potshots — it (the Maharashtra government) had the power to intimidate. Rohinton Mistry ought to come back,” he said.
“Mumbai is a sad place,” the writer-diplomat-politician said.
“A bizarre politics has been allowed to flourish against north Indians in Mumbai and the spin-offs have been a parochial xenophobia,” Tharoor explained.
He drew parallels with fellow non-resident Malayali writer Jaisree Misra’s book, Rani, a rather romantic account of the Rani (queen) of Jhansi that was banned for “alluding to the warrior queen’s romantic liaison with a British officer”.
He believes that the Internet could open up tremendous possibilities for Indian students and would keep literature alive in a different form. “India still produces more English honours (graduates) than any other country in the world,” he said.
Tharoor is not bitter about his experience on Twitter that had caught the former minister of state for external affairs on the wrong foot several times. He still tweets with zeal and is even back to writing his journalistic columns.
“I began to tweet when counting for polls in the last election was in progress. It was excitement that made me tweet. Twitter has an instant reach to a large audience which otherwise would not be possible. One of the good things about Twitter is the instant feedback,” he said.