The Democracy That Bites Its Own Limbs — “Broken Republic: Three Essays”

Lowell Bassi
5 min readOct 29, 2021


It’s always pleasant to explore and take a firm stroll into the present world, the living world, in what we exist in. To appreciate the facts, the surroundings, the ways the walls have been sculpted. Because fiction is indefinite, it is crumbling, and only living and thriving of the mind of the authors and readers. As for non-fiction we see it everywhere we go. Haven’t you read a book where everything seems so gruesome and horrific, but you don’t worry, because it’s a fictional book. But sometimes we realise that the book your reading is unfortunately non-fiction. A book of facts and political reality, I present “Broken Republic: Three Essays” by famous political writer Arundhati Roy.

Rather than being a book which is simply a recount of all her events it is a collection of three of her great essays that have been compiled. The heart of the book is the recount of the many ways in which politics is corrupt and is capable of contorting and controlling its own people. She is able to create a clearer and vivid image of the drastic events that are occurring in the “democratic state of India” by her own personal experiences, whether it being in one essay she walks with the people of the Dandakaranya forest in the heart of India and learns how they are constantly pressured by the people who were so built by the morally sane and reputable Mahatma Gandhi and the former government built on the Gram panchayat. Some other article uses a great metaphor for describing this “notion”.

Gandhi, but with with guns.


I felt like although I read through it (or scraped through it) there are some elements that I are worthwhile to revisit and to comprehend further, mainly because of it’s political context which is not so familiar as with me. My colleague Ray628 will understand this book to a greater degree (have a read of his enjoyable political stories). Regardless of this there are some aspects which are still noteworthy in this collection of three essays that cannot be simply ignored and put out of the picture.

Saving the Environment and Land

It’s always a common dilemma that the Earth is facing. There is the precious land with all its wonders and the great stones. The land of the earth, in which there is a special connection and bond with the people, the ochre dust of the soil. Or it’s the oasis, or the lush rainforest in the heart of India. Except that India wants to grow and it has to make sacrifices. It’s a fight between economy and growth and the environment. Great divisions are planted between the people of India. On the side of economy and growth there are the rich upper class, media and the police. Yet in the environment there are the people of the villages, the Adivasi, the children, the fathers and mothers who are trying to keep their land.

Anyone who tries to protect their own land are put under the status of a Maoist, a person who goes against the government. Unfortunately, the government is no longer peaceful and has time. They use brutal force, bringing out dogs, armed weapons and shooting and burning down villages, stealing the livestock and every part of their living soul. All because of industrialisation. To increase the profit, the large trucks of iron ore used for bauxite are rumbling through the villages, disturbing the serene atmosphere. And this isn’t a new issue which has arised for the people, it’s been over 35 year this issue has been charging through. This is where things get ugly — this is what is called the Naxalite violence. The villagers simply want to protect their land, nothing more, and the right to the basic needs of life.

Malevolent Media

Media, is something by definition and default is simply the “…broadcasting of mass information through broadcasting, publishing and the internet”. Well, let’s establish in the democratic state of India, media should rather be defined as this:

“Indian media refers to the many ways in which broadcasting corporations and news agencies skew and bias facts and reverse reality to better the suit the needs of the government and direct blame to the innocent, and make the culprits appear innocent.”

The media has so much strength, even more than the government. They virtually have control of the ways in which they sway the country.

I’m sure this is something happening around the world, but India’s case is pretty horrific. In her second essay, Roy walks with her comrades in the forest and she learns from her many comrades of how the police slaughter and rape villages (yes she even dares to use “gangbang”). Some of the villagers fight through and a few police and are injured and knocked out simply for the means of justice. But what would you hear in the articles would be something along these lines: “Bloodthirsty Maoists slay 15 policemen in an attempt to overthrow the Indian state”. The government doesn’t mind killing its own people for its intentions of ridding the villagers, in fake encounters.

Summing Up

By the end, you are certain to learn that the pretty ways in which the Indian government has presented itself is merely all a scam and was never faithful to it’s country. It’s the “democracy” that eats its own limbs. It’s the country that didn’t care if all the peasants, Dalits, hawkers and beggars were simply thrown out of the city due to the Commonwealth Games. And you know what is even more painful? The queen decided that she would not attend. Many international athletes rejected attending India. What a shame. Journalism is dangerous, and I hope the Indian government doesn’t come chasing after me. One particular order was to shoot any journalist seen in the village area on sight, due to the information they could spread. Well, it’s all self-explanatory, Arundhati Roy has exposed nearly all the flaws of the so called Democracy.

I think for my next book I would like to indulge in something more calming and something that shows how beautiful people can be. And, if your going to expose the genuine flaws of your government, be sure to have a pen name, just like Malala did.



Lowell Bassi

My stories aspire to change the way we perceive literature, from a scary forest into something that we can all appreciate through humour and insight.