June 24, 2007

Quote: On the Failure of Non-Violence

And so, today, to me, the debate in all this connects up to a very much bigger question in the world which is that here you have a movement, 15 years of the most spectacular non-violent resistance movement in a country like India. The NBA has used every single democratic institution it could. It has put forward the most reasoned, moderate arguments that you can find, and it's been just thrown aside like garbage, even by an institution like the Supreme Court of India, even in the face of evidence that you cannot argue with.

So, I keep saying this that if we don't respect non-violence, then violence becomes the only option for people. If governments do not show themselves to respect reasoned, non-violent resistance then by default they respect violence.

-- Arundhati Roy, in a September 2003 interview, speaking on the failure of Narmada Bachao Andolan and its implications for Indian democracy.

In a way, Roy predicted - three years ago - the changing face of resistance movements around the country that we're witnessing today in Nandigram and elsewhere.

Related links

The "Failure Of Non-Violence Bothers Me"
(Access requires free registration. Quote: p-5)

All of Arundhati Roy's writings and interviews from Outlook magazine

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