arundhati roy

In what can be seen as censorship of academic work by the representatives in Canada of the world’s so called largest democracy, the Indian consulate has removed a slide quoting         Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy from a presentation on Dr. B.R Ambedkar.

Ambedkar was a towering Indian scholar and social justice activist. He was also an architect of the Indian constitution. On his birth anniversary in April, the Indian consulate in Vancouver had organized an event in partnership with a local Ambedkarite group.

A US based researcher was given a task to make a presentation on Ambedkar in the global context. She confirmed to this writer that one of the slides carrying a quote of Roy was removed from her presentation without her consent at the last minute. When she confronted the officials, she was only told that Roy is a disputed figure. Even the local Ambedkarite group chose to remain silent and did not intervene. The presentation was submitted to the consulate through this group.

Roy has always stood for the rights of the poor and marginalized people in India and has been vocal against any form of state violence against minorities, at her own personal risk.

This is especially so under the current right wing Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) regime, under whose rule intolerance has grown. Scholars and writers like Roy continue to face threats and harassment.

India is presently witnessing an era of McCarthyism in which left-wing activists and thinkers are frequently targeted both by the police and Hindu vigilante groups. Roy has been frequently branded as left wing extremist by them.

Roy, who shot into prominence with her novel The God of Small Things that got her the Booker Prize, is also an essayist who has travelled extensively and demonstrated her capability in challenging power anywhere in the world.

She has been facing threats for writing in defence of the people of Kashmir fighting for the right to self-determination, as well as for the Adivasis (Indigenous peoples of India) facing eviction due to the extraction industry, which is often backed by the Indian establishment. She has pulled no punches in her lectures, media interviews, or writings while criticizing supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who have been been terrorizing minorities.

Roy has always been consistent in her criticism of Indian forces who often kill civilians with impunity and use rape as a weapon in conflict zones.

Her recent novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, is a sad story about marginalized sections of the Indian society forced to live under constant fear and insecurity.

The development follows closely on the denial of Honorary Canadian Citizenship to Roy by the Canadian parliament.

Indians Abroad for Pluralist India (IAPI)         collected hundreds of signatures in Metro Vancouver on petitions to grant her honorary citizenship.

In a one-line response to the petition, Peter Schiefke, parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, wrote: “The decision to bestow citizenship is a decision of Parliament not that of the Government”.

This is despite the fact that the petition was addressed to the House of Commons and sponsored by none other than Member of Parliament from Surrey Centre, Randeep Singh Sarai Sarai.

The petition was first launched online in October 2018, through House of Commons website and was examined by the House Clerk of Petitions. Later, the IAPI members gathered signatures         on hard copies as well. These were submitted to Sarai at his constituency office in February.

Gurpreet Singh is a Canada- based journalist who publishes Radical Desi- a monthly magazine that covers alternative politics.


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  1. What else can we expect from an aspiring fascist regime…

  2. Abhishek Manna says:

    What rubbish, Arrundhuti Roy is the spineless woman, who exaggerates facts with her crippled leftist brain. Good job Indian government

  3. Amitprakash singh says:

    Arundhati must get honorary citizenship of Canada. She as a writer is doing her best for the downtrodden people of this country(India) and the Adivasis through her writing and her voice on social forums.In the govt.circles she is often said as urban naxlaite but her writing do not say so.Offcourse she elaborates the pain and suffering of people.
    I hope Canada parliament would approve her honorary citizenship of the state to show it’s faith in Vasudhave Kutumbakam.A real gem from India.

  4. I hope the Canadian Government does grant Arundhati Roy an honourary citizenship for Canada.