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HomeIndiaShekhar Gupta responds to Arundhati Roy on ‘Gandhians with Guns’

Shekhar Gupta responds to Arundhati Roy on ‘Gandhians with Guns’

Arundhati Roy says Shekhar Gupta has quoted her inaccurately as having described Maoists as ‘Gandhians with Guns’.

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Writer-activist Arundhati Roy has messaged me to say that in my latest National Interest, I have quoted her inaccurately as having described Maoists as ‘Gandhians with Guns’.

She says she never said that. It was a copywriter on the editing desk of Outlook magazine, and she later wrote to Outlook clarifying this.

Here’s her article in the Outlook issue dated 29 March 2010, and her clarification three months later, in the issued dated 7 June 2010.

Outlook published her note without a response and the article remains on its website in the original, unamended form, with the strap line reading “Gandhians with a Gun?”

After Outlook, British newspaper The Guardian published the same article in five parts. Each was headlined “Gandhi, but with guns”. You can see these here.

If Arundhati Roy wrote to The Guardian to object, we haven’t been able to find it yet. However, the same five articles, with the same headline, can still be found on The Guardian website. There was apparently no objection from her to this while the five parts were published in a globally respected newspaper. This is where our fact-checker had checked.

Arundhati Roy appended the exact paragraphs in her clarification in Outlook, referring to both Gandhi and guns. You can read it here. She is correct, that she did not specifically describe Maoists as ‘Gandhians with Guns’, and I was wrong. So, my apologies here. Whatever my views on her politics and activism, it is my responsibility to be totally and literally accurate, especially while saying something in criticism of her, which is often the case. So, apologies again, have amended the reference to her in my National Interest accordingly.

In her June 2010 note in Outlook, she had said that her reference to Gandhi and guns had subtler meaning. And that anyone who mistook it to mean she called Maoists Gandhians with Guns “is either a little slow or has no sense of irony or both”.

I do not rule out the likelihood of my being either, or probably both. Just that I’m not sure the fine editorial team at Outlook, and the venerable editors of The Guardian would be flattered to be bracketed with me.

— Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief

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  1. Previously, Shekhar chose to ignore the question mark on the title. Also, it is known that Arundhathi Roy holds Gandhi in no high ground either, just search.

    It is understandable that people of Mr. Gupta’s ilk want some mysterious form of corporatism, often they mask it under the disguise of the ‘virtues’ of ‘free’ market.

    His behavior in these posts are just understandable.

  2. Great reply to biased Ms Arundhati Roy’s bitter comment. Having failed to rationally explain her ” Gandhian with guns” comment Arundhati chose abuse as her defence. Shekhar Gupta responded very well.

  3. You are too quick and too generous with your apology. Arundhati Roy has a dangerously subversive mind with an outstanding felicity with English prose that gets her media support in the West. Her soft corner for Naxals, a bunch of over romanticzed criminals who defy all rules of civilised society, run their operations like Mafia and kill with impunity has been evident for years. She craves validation from credible opinion leaders like you; please don’t give her the oxygen of publicity.

  4. CAA is applicable only to around 3000 people , Hindus, Sikhs, Jains , Christians, & Parsis who crossed over to India fleeing from religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan,& Iran, before 31st December 2014
    It is not applicable to above communities in any other context.
    NRC has not even been drafted as yet, but the opposition led by the Congress is instigating Muslim that their citizenship will be cancelled, & they will be put in detention camps!
    Do I call them communal ,or is that epitaph reserved for BJP only?

    • Subhash it’s no minor thing as you are trying to make it sound. There is a discrimination against people of one religion. It is totally a new low in the divisive politics of bjp and they are allowed to go away with it once who know where they would go it’s like if you are a woman you don’t allow someone to hold your finger or that wretched lecher is going to grab you in some other place do you get why others are getting mad?

      • Maybe Ajay has not read about the way the Sindhi Hindu minorities are being treated in Pakistan and the Bengali Hindus are being treated in Bangladesh ,or other religions like Sikhs and Christians in Afghanistan or he just wants to gloss over those frequent ,regular incidents,like rapes,abductions and forcible conversions and marriages.
        And his grouse is that the majority Muslims who are the persecuters are being discriminated for not being considered for refugee status, what irony? T
        He wants the persecuters to be given the right to pursue their quarry even in India?😒🙏

    • Very well said.let the protesters hear to your explanation.what a level of desperation in the opposition camp.

    • Too simplistic thinking!. It is just a trick to make the Hindu Rashtra. The people opposing it knew this well in time. We already are over burdened with 130+ crore people. A state like Assam will not be able bear it without losing their identity like in Tripura.

  5. Superb reply Shekarji. Keep up your excellent journalism, neither right nor left as you would say! I don’t completely agree with your latest article on anti CAB protests but I find almost all of your articles of interest. That’s a good strike rate Sir!

  6. Insanity is intellectuality, thy name is this lady and a few survive in India survive. These are antisocial and anti national.

  7. Many writers like Arudhati Roy try to slip in controversial remarks, but when detected these so call highly schooled elitist writers try to wriggle out of the unpleasant situation by being derogatory in their defence. Culturally, in what way are these people better than street fighter? It is no wonder they are mostly supportive of the rioters and arsonist.

  8. Shekar Gupta is a punjabi baniya so he definately has no time for irony from others and time to pause for irony. Being Punjabi he is not slow but fast enough to put words in others mouth. lol

    • I say the same, RJ. Hope people like you and me retain our objectivity – criticize what deserves to be criticized but, importantly, appreciate what deserves praise.

  9. Maoists routinely blow up with land mines vehicles carrying government servants on duty. Their bereaved families would be disinclined to think of them as essentially innocuous, misguided folk. To the extent that a dialogue, preceded by a ceasefire, may represent a desirable option to bring closure to this long running problem, an outreach should always be on the table. However, without any illusions. For that matter, one cannot be certain that tribals living in the areas where they operate see them as Robin Hood like figures.

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