Wednesday, October 24

I keep reading about Arundhati Roy lately, so I decided to follow some of the links. Here's an interview she gave to The Progressive in April. She's the Booker Prize winning author of 'The God of Small Things'.

There is such grandeur in India and so much beauty. I don't know whether they can kill it. I want to think they can't. I don't think that there is anything as beautiful as a sari. Can you kill it? Can you corporatize a sari? Why should multinationals be allowed to come in and try to patent basmati rice? People prefer to eat roti and idlis and dosas rather than McDonald's burgers. Just before I came to the U.S., I went to a market in Delhi. There was a whole plate of different kinds of dal, lentils. Tears came to my eyes. Today, that's all it takes to make you cry, to look at all the kinds of dal and rice that there are, and to think that they don't want this to exist.

I hate to be the deflater, but, yes, you can corporatize a sari. You can make it into chic fashion in the States. And that could happen any day now. Fashion co-opts tradition and individuality all the time.

I can't be a part of the large convoy because it's not a choice that you can make. The fact that I'm an educated person means that I can't be on that convoy. I don't want to be on it. I don't want to be a victim. I don't want to disappear into the darkness. I am an artist and a writer, and I do think that one always places oneself in the picture to see where one fits. I left home when I was sixteen and lived in places where it was very easy for me to have fallen the other way. I could have been on the large convoy because I was a woman and I was alone. In India, that's not a joke. I could have ended up very, very badly. I'm lucky that I didn't.

I think my eyes were knocked open and they don't close. I sometimes wish I could close them and look away. I don't always want to be doing this kind of work. I don't want to be haunted by it. Because of who I am and what place I have now in India, I'm petitioned all the time to get involved. It's exhausting and very difficult to have to say, 'Look, I'm only one person. I can't do everything.' I know that I don't want to be worn to the bone where I lose my sense of humor. But once you've seen certain things, you can't un-see them, and seeing nothing is as political an act as seeing something.


(Oh yeah, I got to this via some stuff at Debater's Corner.)
Post a Comment