She described Hazare’s public fast as an example of “aggressive nationalism” and the anti-corruption bill he proposed as “draconian.”
“If what we’re watching on TV is indeed a revolution, then it has to be one of the more embarrassing and unintelligible ones of recent times,”she writes.
In the piece, Roy compares Hazare’s movement to the “the world-cup victory parade” of the urban middle class, criticizes Hazare’s actions as “props” and “choreography,” and questions the extensive powers Hazare proposes for a new anti-corruption agency.
“Contrary to Gandhiji’s ideas about the decentralization of power... [under the new bill] a panel of carefully chosen people will administer a giant bureaucracy, with thousands of employees, with the power to police everybody from the Prime Minister, the judiciary, members of Parliament, and all of the bureaucracy, down to the lowest government official.”
Roy is one of India’s most divisive figures, long criticized by authors and activists for exaggerating or simplifying the issues she supports.
In 2008, Roy was nearly arrested for voicing support of the independence of Kashmir from India. She has also been criticized for her approval of the sometimes violent Naxalite insurgency, and the doubt she cast on Pakistan's involvement in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Columnist Sadanand Dhume tweeted of Roy’s piece on Hazare:
An historic day: Arundhati Roy finally encounters a protest she doesn’t support. (Can’t bear the patriotic slogans.) a href=”http://t.co/SkJriPa” rel=”nofollow”>http://t.co/SkJriPa
Hazare’s supporters continued to picket and wave black flags in front of several lawmakers’ homes Monday and Hazare continued his fast. The deadline set for the adoption of the anti-corruption bill is August 30.