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Saturday , August 26 , 2000
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Not Booker prize winner, but tai


NIMGAON (MAHARASHTRA), AUG 25: For villagers who converged in this village for the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) sponsored `Saga of Naramada' programme, noted Booker prize winner Arundhati Roy's credentials as a writer were not the attraction. They were there to meet Arundati tai, who was fighting for their cause.

As villagers from both Maharashtra and Gujarat converged at Nimgaon, their tai was the centre of attraction.

``She is doing so much for us. She has been able to convey our problems to the entire world,'' said Duphera villager Mangalia Badal. He is not aware of the fact that Roy is a celebrated writer, but says that he had heard that Roy had written a book on the people of Narmada valley.

``I think it is a book on the displacement of thousands of people. Writing is a powerful expression and her writings could help us put across our problems to the world forcefully,'' adds Badal.

Villagers call her tai and some easily relate to the writer.

``We don't feel that she is some VIP. We have an easy access to her and she understands our problems,'' says Nimgaon villager Jayaliben.

Her translated version of Greater Common Good has been circulated widely in number of villages in the Narmada valley and those who have read it state that it was right from the heart. ``It is a touching expression of a writer and she has put the problems in the right perspective. We respect and admire her for that,'' states another villager Bikhubhai Mandal.

The villagers are aware that Roy's presence has given the movement a great boost.

``She has given us a reason to fight for the cause. And if she can frequently leave the confines of her metropolitan lifestyle, why should we give a cool response to the movement,'' stated another villager.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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