Who’s worse between Modi and Trump? Arundhati Roy’s response on BBC leaves anchor shell-shocked

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Celebrated and award-winning author Arundhati Roy appeared on BBC’s flagship show Newsnight on Monday to talk about her new book The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. A small clip of her video interview, posted by BBC, has now gone truly viral.

Arundhati Roy

In the video, broadcast on BBC 2, Roy is seen slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi conceding that, politely put, she was not a fan of him. To justify her criticism for Modi, the Booker prize winning author pointed out the complete breakdown of law and order under the current BJP-led government and taking over of India’s ‘elite institutions’ by him.

Referring to her book, the BBC’s Evan Davis asked, “You mention Modi, you’re not a fan.” Roy interrupted saying, “To put it politely.” Davis went on complete his question, “He (Modi) does not come out of the book well. Has he been as bad as you would have feared?”

Roy replied, “Yes, because today you’re looking at a situation where the Muslim community has been ghettoised. You’re looking at people being lynched on the streets. You’re looking at them being pushed out of economic activity they participated in earlier, you know meat shops, leather work, handicrafts, all of this under assault.

“The violence in India is terrifying. You all must have followed the rape of the little girl in Kashmir. That happened but thousands of people marched in support of the rapists including women, in support of the alleged rapists let’s say. But the point is there was an attempt to change how that trial was going to take place. So the polarisation is so frightening.”

Davis then asked if Roy thought that Modi was worse than ‘a Trump or the other nationalistic’ leaders around the world. Roy said, “So the difference is that Trump, look at Trump, I mean he’s out of control, but all the institutions are so worried about him, you know, the media is worried, the judiciary is worried, the military is worried, people are trying to manage him. Whereas in India all the elite institutions have been in some ways taken over by this. So you have school textbooks, I mean the New York Times did a story, school textbooks of great world leaders with Hitler on the cover. (Davis’s expression changes to display incredulity and utter shock.)

“You have four Supreme Court judges who came out, the senior most judges below the chief justice, who came out. It’s never happened in India, they came out and held a press conference, and said democracy is in danger, the courts are being fixed. That was what they were implying.”

This is not not the first time that Roy has expressed her grave fears over the rapidly deteriorating situation under the Modi government. Speaking at an event in May 2016, the celebrated author and activist had said that that the situation in India today was worse than the time the country was ruled by British.

Speaking at the release of the Tamil translation of her annotated book on BR Ambedkar’s essay Annihilation of Caste, Roy had said that she was not able to speak freely because of the criminal case against her.

Last year, during the Gujarat assembly elections, Roy had contributed Rs three lakh to fund Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani’s election campaign. Mevani, a fierce critic of Modi, subsequently went on to get elected as an MLA in the Gujarat assembly.

Her criticism for India’s prime minister on Newsnight, a show which is incredibly popular among the British policymakers, will further affect Modi’s reputation abroad particularly when he had faced mass protests during his last visit to London in April this year.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Mrs Roy r you sure muslims r in very danger situation in India . They r being lynched and killed in the streets . If any muslim is being lynched or killed its a big news by so called secular people . I m not in favour of any killing as its brutal in our society to kill someone in the name of religion . Recently delhi man ankit saxena was killed brutally by muslim parents because he loved muslim girl . There was very less hue and cry for this matter even i should say all seculars were mum . May be this killing would be right for them . I m not in favour of any killing or lynching . It should be stopped . Our respectable celeberity author making it on world dias to make cheap publicity and also maligning the image of our great country ( as no modi jee or rahul jee can destroy peace and harmony of our country) on others world

  2. She is a useless lady… can she comment on the years under congress rule. I think Modi deserves to be continue to remain as PM

  3. The biggest sin that the saffron brigade has done is the polarization of society in the name of religion and caste. Just for petty political gain, they have sacrificed the national unity and cultural integrity of the nation.

    • As if Hindus and Muslims never had any problems since last one thousand years, that Hindus were not converted, that all the Muslims in India are descendants of Mohd Ghori, who lost 17 times to Prithwiraj Chauhan, and was let off, and on eighteenth attack he captured the hindu king, blinded him with red hot iron spike and was finally killed in captivity, that India was not divided by Muslim league, when Modi wasn’t even borne. Whome are you cooking or self. A moron only will believe that Modi is the villain for all the ills in the Muslim community. As if they were so happy and prosperous for all these centuries and Arrival of Mody has spoiled their fortunes. Shame on your intelligence and Arundhati Roy who can not see anything beyond Mody.

  4. What is a matter of grave concern is the abject surrender of institutions either out of fear or for greed. No wonder then the so called hallowed institutions have been hollowed out leaving just the bare shell to keep up with the charade of democracy. Operation 136 is just one testimony of the corrosion that has set in.

  5. Feels bad that someone is feeling proud when an Indian is shaming our PM..
    You critize him as much as you can but let’s not shame on Global platform..

  6. Millions of Indians disagree with Ms Roy. Otherwise the BJP would not have achieved this phenomenal growth. The BJP was viewed as a rightist party. Mr Modi has succeeded to a great extent to pull it more centre right. And that is perhaps threatening the vested interests who have surrendered national interests for so long with their castiest divisions and appeasements just to stay in power so they can loot. When you try and set it right all these so called liberals forget the bigger picture of the needs of society and the nation at large in their extreme views on the rights of individuals or smaller sections of society. Let them look at our larger neighbour and their economic progress where they have gone the other extreme in the fight between society vs individuals.

  7. It is sad that media is intentially highlighting the statements of those people who don’t have any image and capability to talk on the great personality like hon. Naredra Modiji. We can’t even compair the image of our Prime Mister with trup, Trump is characterless personality and everyone knows it. Mr Narendra Modiji has taken India on new hights and we have proud of him.

  8. M/s Roy is biased for being a religious minority. She forgets that India is the only Country which has protected all other religious denominations in the entire world. If such tolerance is tried to be exploited to advance the other religious motives to bring “His own kingdom/rule/belief” or to remove all “KAFIRS” by conversion or mass execution, as seen in the world history, the type of uprising that worries M/s Roy would be the natural out come of self preservation in own land. M/s Roy should appreciate the same with common sense without being carried away by such natural responses as any right wing fundamentalism or so?!

  9. Miss Roy I think has been smoking pot lately.
    Comparing current rule to British rule is indeed the most idiotic thing to do.
    We as fellow Indians are happy and dont see any killings and lynchings going on. The kashmir issue has always been there, now that the videos have been started surfacing on internet people are getting more aware about it.

  10. Roy is a staunch communist who is not expected to express a different view. She doesn’t believe in any religion. Thank goodness, she has few like minded supporters. BJP is truly secular unlike the stance of Congress who are against Hinduism and by default rally behind other major religions. BJP is not corrupt. Reform oriented. Development is its taraka mantra.
    Congressmen are pastmasters in transferring their illicit wealth to nations thriving in offshore banking.

  11. Arundhati has told the truth and only truth in her interview. The Hindu goons are running the streets and there is no one to discipline them. Modi is behaving like a leader for all, but under his own arms he allowed atrocities and inhuman acts by his own Sangh Parivar.

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