I like this article (and the original article) because of Roy’s awareness of how talking about ideas changes them. This is at the core of the modern power of change — language and ideas. Important stuff here.
“The country that I live in is becoming more and more repressive, more and more of a police state…. India is hardening as a state. It has to continue to give the impression of being a messy, cuddly democracy but actually what’s going on outside the arc lights is really desperate.”
But at the same time it remains an open society, and the arguments are there to be won. In 2009 the government announced Operation Greenhunt, a new, even tougher attempt to kill off the Maoist insurgency, but it sparked fierce resistance, both inside the forest and beyond. “Among the Indian elite it was okay just to call them Maoist terrorists: they had been de-humanised. So when I, who am not a Maoist, went in and wrote about who they were, it made them human beings, fighting for something very, very serious. And that makes a big difference.
“This is a very interesting time where I think the debates are being cracked open. Real intervention at a real moment can change the paradigm of the debate, even if it doesn’t instantly cause a revolution.”