Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things, whose essay deploring India's decision to test atomic weapons appeared in The Nation ("The
End of Imagination," September 28, 1998), is, as she told a reporter,
"deeper in the soup." Active in an anti-dam campaign in India, this
past spring she led a demo protesting the Indian Supreme Court's
decision to allow construction of a dam on the Narmada River that
will displace 200,000 people and harm the region's fragile ecosystem.
Some lawyers at the scene trumped up complaints about Roy threatening
them, and the Supreme Court charged her and two other leaders of the
protest movement with criminal contempt. That charge was dismissed,
but at the hearing Roy submitted a blistering affidavit calling the
court's action an attempt "to silence criticism and muzzle dissent."
The judges ordered her to withdraw the affidavit. She refused and
will go on trial for contempt at the end of October, acting as her
own lawyer and facing imprisonment. In our view, her affidavit has it
exactly right, and the Supreme Court is even deeper in the, um, soup.
Let the Indian Embassy in Washington know your view.