India A Plane Moving In Reverse, Headed For Crash, Says Booker Prize Winner Arundhati

New Delhi: Eminent author and Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy has compared the “India of today” to a plane going backwards “headed for a crash.”

Speaking at the launch of imprisoned human rights activist GN Saibaba’s book ‘Why Do You Fear My Way So Much?: Poems and Letters From Prison’, Arundhati said India’s leaders had once led “truly revolutionary movements” in the 1960s for redistribution of wealth and land, but now seek votes through distribution of “5 kg rice and 1 kg salt”.

“Recently, I asked a pilot friend of mine, ‘Can you fly a plane backwards?’ He laughed out loud. I said, ‘this is exactly what is happening here’,” remarked Arundhati. “The leaders of this country are flying the plane in reverse, everything is falling, and we are headed for a crash,” she added.

The author of ‘The God of Small Things’ and ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’ observed that India is a country of “sophisticated jurisprudence”, but laws here apply differently based on “caste, class, gender, and ethnicity”.

Speaking about GN Saibaba, Arundhati said: “What are we doing here today? We are meeting to talk about a professor who is paralysed 90 per cent and has been in jail for seven years. That is what we are doing. That is enough. We do not have to speak anymore. That is enough to tell you what kind of country we are living in. What shame is this?”

Saibaba, who is wheelchair bound, was sentenced to life imprisonment by a Maharashtra court in 2017 on the charge that he has Maoist links and engaged in activities amounting to “waging war against the country.”

Saibaba’s services as assistant professor at Ram Lal Anand College of Delhi University were terminated on March 31 last year.

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