Here’s why Arundhati Roy is a high order hypocrite.

This essay was written over a year ago, and although this old essay is in support of the Burqa ban,  I no longer hold the same views. Thank you Dawningazure for that very well articulated rebuttal.

As  a Booker prize winner and celebrity socialist, Arundhati Roy’s audience extends to intellectuals worldwide, and while the author/activist has made a significant contribution to literature and indian journalism on subjects like tribal rights in the past, her more recent attempts at political activism have been in the limelight due to their simplification of important topics- like feminism, coercion and choice. A lot of misplaced feminism goes behind Roy’s populist statements, and as most of her publicity stunts , these unjust rants often digress from real issues of consequence, as she skirts around touchy subjects, glosses over important facts, and sugarcoats opinions that are at essence neither liberal in political terms , nor rational in intellectual essence.

All those in support of Roy’s comment (in the picture)  need to note the context in which it was presented : – she spoke about the ban on burkas in France, and remained silent on the same issue in Saudi Arabia. Today it is relevant as the ban has, due to the rise of IS, been imposed in States not just of Europe, but also Western Africa, for security concerns.

Technically, of course her statement on choice and freedom holds a moral high ground, but that is a superficial pretense, because her silence on real issues is as relevant as the stand she takes on perceived injustice, because the issue at hand isn’t just about coercion, and choice, it is also about the burka and what it represents.

Another thing to note here is the context in which the burka ban came about, true, choice is a must for everyone, but a burka is not a pair of jeans, it is a political and religious symbol, not just of Islam, but of the patriarchy within it, it is also today a uniform, for suppression and moralistic oppression, that is now so deeply entrenched in Islamic society that people today are condemned if they even question its hierarchy.

Ms. Roy and her supporters, the liberals and the intellectuals, must take another look at the cause they support, because the women of islam did not suddenly start to cover themselves in black fabric from head to to regardless of the weather or the season, they were forced to, and for every one family where women, out of a simple desire to display that they conform to their social norms or the role that has been assigned to them, and not chosen- they may wear the burka out of free will, but it isn’t to show their independence, it is to confirm their subservience.

Every war has its flag and its uniform, and a large number of the ulemas who speak in favor of the current extremists advise all “true muslims” to support the martyrs who fight the religious war by showing their solidarity through donning the hijab. I know that most women don’t don the hijab to support jihadists, but consider the liberation of the Iraqi women who wore skirts in the 70’s and burka’s now. The more governments crack down against this symbol of oppression domestically, the more international pressure arises on muslim states to do away with their laws which make it mandatory.

Western liberals are abandoning their principles by not confronting Islam about its treatment of women, and the ban here isn’t to restrict their choice, it ensures that muslim women cannot be preserved in the time capsule of centuries gone by.


In the end, then, it isn’t about whether you support choice, but rather, what choices you support.

  • by swati singh
  • HI!  This post was written over a year ago, and my views have changed since then, but on account of the fact that I wrote this essay with a lot of effort and it’s one of my first essays- , I’ve kept it on the site. I may remove it later,but for the time being- here it is.
  • There’s a very very good rebuttal to the whole basis of this argument in the comments ,  and i encourage you to read it.
  • Thank you,  DawningAzure for pointing out the factual inconsistencies.
  • I cringed when I re read this post but welll

2 thoughts on “Here’s why Arundhati Roy is a high order hypocrite.

  1. dawningazure says:

    Here’s a thought: holding the burka as a symbol of oppression and patriarchy is
    a) stereotypical, since not all women are forced to wear it. Also, that the burka is not the same as a pair of jeans is your discrimination entirely. A burka represents what you see in it. Those who wear it willingly see it simply as a garment. Those who don’t, see oppression.
    b) concerning patriarchy, did you know that those who wear the burka don’t wear it in front of all men? If it is a symbol of patriarchy, surely the patriarchy should extend to all men. Why then are fathers, brothers and uncles exempt from this?
    And when it comes to wearing a burka as ‘to confirm their subservience’, what subservience are you speaking of? In a LIBERAL country like France, (since the burka ban was passed there) a Western style of dressing is observed, which imposes a lot of restrictions, socially, upon women who do wear burkas (such as the ban). Subservience works both ways: if you say that they are subservient to their culture, we may also say that that is because they don’t want to be subservient to the ideals of the Western society. Independence is relative, too. I may wish to be independent of religion, and I may wish to be independent of society. In either way, my independence shows by doing what I wish; and that is what Arundhati Roy’s comment really means.
    Also, the liberation of the skirt- wearing Iraqi women is equivalent to the burka ban, because both countries provide absolutely no alternative to anybody who may even wish otherwise.


    1. darth elmo says:

      that’s an incredibly well articulated thought.
      This post was written last over a year ago, when I was neither this aware of this issue, nor largely read by anyone – this came up during the course of a speech and I am glad you visited this post and allowed me to notice my folly . My thought process has evolved since then, and I’ll definitely be adding a note that explains that the post above is an old argument, one that even i no longer support ( although I do believe arundhati Roy is a hypocrite of the highest order )
      Thank you again, for sharing your views . ❤

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s