“We are living in a very dangerous time, we can’t say things Dr Ambedkar could say during British rule”


Renowned activist and writer, Arundhati Roy has said 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 said that she was not able to speak freely because of the criminal case against her.

Describing the present situation ‘very dangerous,’ the celebrated author said, “We are living in a very dangerous time, language is twisted, videos are doctored. Everything that I say is twisted around. I’m already facing criminal trials.

“Officially we are not a colony, but we can’t say today, nobody can say today what Dr Ambedkar said in 1936. What would happen if somebody said like he (Ambedkar) said in Annihilation of Caste that to the untouchable the Hinduism is a veritable chamber of horrors. That person would be put into the jail. Today in the debate on national, the RSS says that you have to say Bharat Mata Ki Jai, otherwise you are not an Indian.”

Sharing a conversation between Mahatma Gandhi and Ambedkar during a conference in London, Roy said how the architect of the constitution had once said that he had no homeland because of the plight of untouchables in India.

She said, “In 1932 when Ambedkar and Gandhi met in London, when they had the first confrontation over the round table conference, Gandhi asked him why he was criticising the Congress. Which meant criticising the homeland. He (Ambedkar) said ‘Gandhiji I have no homeland. No untouchable worth his name would be proud of this land.’ ”

Roy also said that the Indian army had been used against its own people every day since 1947 adding that its use was similar to that of British in World Wars.

She said, “Since 1947 there has not been a single day when the Indian army has not been deployed against its ‘own people.’ Not a single day from 1947 till now. The army has been deployed in Nagaland, Mizoram, Assam, Manipur, Kashmir, Junagarh, Goa, Punjab. Now they are preparing the battles in Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand.

You can watch the entire speech here

“And if you look at who are these people that the Indian army has been deployed against. It’s always Christians, Adivasis, Muslims, Sikhs. Dalits. Always, it’s a might of an upper caste against the others. nd how have they operated? Just like an coloniser. Soldiers from Tamil Nadu to Kashmir, Assam to Nagaland, Nagaland to Jharkhand, just like the British did in the World Wars.”

She said that she wanted to say lot but feared that her words may be twisted around.

Roy also felt that the current system in India was the result of the unmatched dominance of the upper caste.

She said, “If you look here, who own the capital, who owns the land, who owns the system which runs the government? Who owns the media? Who runs the courts, who are professors, who are the editors? It’s a shocking situation. We don’t even understand what’s being done to us.”

On Dalits’ plight, Roy said that it was unfortunate how the debate on their plight had been reduced to reservation adding that only ‘2-3 percent benefit’ from reservation as most drop out before reaching university because of ‘the way they are treated.’