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Showing posts from April, 2006

How Big Is Arundhati Roy's Conscience?

The Kaavya Vishwanathan episode : a young Harvard student writes a book called How Opal Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life and it gets published by Little, Brown. The writer is accused of plagiarizing from Megan McCafferty’s book. Kaavy apologizes and her books are pulled off the shelves.
It all reminds me of when in 2001, I compared Arundhati Roy’s book The God of Small Things to “To Kill a Mocking Bird’’(published by The New Indian Express) and later in 2003 compared Roy’s book to Ulysses by James Joyce (published in the Vijay Times). There are marked similarities but it didn’t bother Roy’s big and magnanimous conscience –even a whisker.
This is not to bash Roy. I had heard about Roy a long time ago, in 1984, when she was a little Ms. Nobody. And from then on admired her guts and loved her style. Five of my friends had spent years of study under Mrs. Roy, Susie's mother in the school called Corpus Christi. And they extolled her "virtues'' on and on and on... I lapped…

Kerala and the Mafia

Kerala’s political landscape is so polluted with obsessively paranoid rhetoric that one wonders if the likes of Don Corleone (Godfather fame) or even our very own indigenous don Dawood Ibrahim are stalking God’s own country.As the election pitch slowly rises to a crescendo, the fave word of the Malayali polticos is MAFIA. If one has to believe the words of our honourable politicians, we have every reason to be alarmed. Across the political spectrum, “controlled by the Mafia” is the accusation used to verbally stab the opponent. All this conjures up images of dark glasses, smoking guns, naked terror and blood on the streets. To believe or not to believe our politicians is the big question? Should we take measures to arm ourselves or our politicians just joking? Jokes at election time?Well, since election is serious business, all this election speak in the mafia vein makes us quake in our pants. The references have precipitated an unknown fear: the fear of extortion and the fear of dea…

The Arithmetics of Gender

In which century are things going to change? In the realm of politics, it is no secret that the male-dominated political parties employ brazen tactics to marginalize women. The political history, of this so -called progressive state-Kerala, is also the subverted history of gender marginalization.Over the years, the female electorate has increased considerably in Kerala and today the women account for 1,10,26,801 of the total electorate of 2,13,19,036, a whopping seven lakhs more than the men.But since independence there hasn’t been adequate female representation in the state’s political structure. And election 2006 is not going to better the situation. Stagnancy in the gender figures will continue to rule. The number of female candidates who have filed their nomination papers is a mere 71 as against the masculine figure of 859. All competing for 140 Assembly seats. God bless them. Playing gender politics, the main parties have cleverly ensured that some of their women candidates who a…

The Dance of the Heroines

For Easter I had gone up to Coonoor, where the weather was absolutely blissful. The only thing that spoilt the peace were the election songs trilling the glories of the various leaders and singing paeans to the dance of Jayalalithaa. Perhaps she will continue to dance or she will dance out. Whatever. Interesting how the women candidates do their stuff. I did a story on Sindhu Joy for The New Indian Express. Now for those who want to know who the hell is Sindhu Joy? She is making her electoral debut in this Assembly election and is battling the Chief Minister in Puthupally. Here is a little about her…….. ``Here comes the heroine of the land” – mikes atop jeeps herald her arrival as the student leader’s cavalcade trundles through the muddy roads of rubber and pineapple estates in Puthupally constituency. High drama and symbols best sum up the ingenuity of, Puthupally’s first woman contestant’s, campaign trail. Laced with emotions, Sindhu Joy’s lines are scripted to pull at the heartstri…