Friday, February 18, 2011

An open letter to Ms. Arundhati Roy

Dear Ms. Roy,

Let me start by saying that I really admire your writing skills. Your book, "The God of small things" is a very compelling work of literature, and even if I have read only parts of it, I believe that you have a tremendous gift with words. And, how those can be used for maximum impact, for any cause that you are pursuing. But, you already know that, because of the various accolades you have received by writing that book, and perhaps, my admiration is a drop in the proverbial bucket, of many such comments you have received from others over the years.

I am also aware of your desire to take up causes, for the poor and the downtrodden. You have drawn the attention of the media and the public towards environmental and human rights issues. From the hinterland of middle India to the mountains of Kashmir, you have repeatedly spoken, of the need for the government to be more sensitive to the needs of the people. And often, you have spoken of the Maoists with admiration, which has been received in various ways by the people of India, both positive and negative.

Today, I am writing to you to talk about a person, you may have never heard of. Mr. R. Vineel Krishna, is the district collector of Malkangiri in the state of Orissa. He is an alumnus of IIT-Madras, which as you know, is a top engineering school in India, and produces a lot of really accomplished graduates. Every year, thousands of IIT-graduates leave the Indian shores to pursue a foreign degree. Many of them end up becoming rich bankers, and managers in the corporate sector, earning seven or eight figure salaries, and never come back to serve their country. A small number of them, do decide to serve their country, in the smallest possible way they can. Mr.Krishna, is one such God of small things. He could have treated his job like any other Indian civil servant does, and had a good time with the frills of the public office he holds. But, he chose to bring development to the poor people in one of the poorest districts of India, doing a job that the government has miserably failed at, in many other parts of the country. And for this, he was kidnapped by the Maoists, with a 48 hour sword hanging over his neck.

I know of your contempt for the Indian government. Believe me, like you, I am utterly frustrated with corruption, inefficiency and complacency in the government. But, in India, we still have a civil society and a functional democracy. And that is so, because a small percentage of dedicated people in the government, is trying to make a difference. They constitute less than ten percent of the government payroll, but, it is because of them that the country still runs. And, Mr. Krishna, is one such person.

You have spoken for the Maoists and their cause. And, I have reason to believe that they might listen to you and your good reasons. May I request you to speak publicly and implore upon them to choose a path of non-violence. May I request you to ask them to free Mr. Krishna without any harm.

Swami Agnivesh, another public figure in India, who has spoken for the Maoists in the past, has come out in the open, requesting the Maoists to not cause any harm to Mr. Krishna. The villagers in the district Mr. Krishna serves, have taken out processions requesting the Maoists to immediately release Mr. Krishna. But, I am really surprised that we have not heard anything from you in this matter. 

Ms. Roy, your silence is deafening. Please, speak up and use your way with words to secure the safe release of Mr. Krishna. We are waiting.

Yours sincerely
Desi Babu
(A concerned Indian)


  1. Wish that Maoists don't punish good officials .. such good people in the government machinery is the hope of the poor actually!

  2. this is so true....However, I have often thought Ms Roy is more keen on garnering publicity for her cause (read no-cause). I have met her twice. You will be surprised to see how she can talk through her hat.. I was bewildered... I admired her for the God of Small Things.. But after the meetings, I had to rethink...

  3. True...people like Mr.Krishna are the rays of hope in a country like ours.I hope he is released without any harm. Also, hope that this experience doesn't put him off public service.
    I liked Ms.Roy's book too. Infact, I remember watching a movie lo----ng ago on DD where Ms.Roy played the role of a student of architecture...she's a good actress!

  4. This is too much, Desi Babu. You are trying to drill sense in to the dense head of the Rakhi Sawant of Indian "sponsored activism".

  5. Mail this to her if possible,I suggest.It is sad that not many notice when we speak our mind unless we are a well known personality,whatever be the reason for popularity!Well written I must say!

  6. Raksha: Thanks. I sent her the letter through her publicist. In fact, I did that even before I posted the letter on the blog. Let us hope that she does something!