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Posts Tagged ‘Arundhati Roy’

Personality: Arundhati Roy

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 8, 2012

Arundhati Roy (born 24 November 1961) is an Indian novelist. She won the Booker Prizein 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things, and has also written two screenplays and several collections of essays. Her writings on various social, environmental and political issues have been a subject of major controversy in India.

She spent her childhood in Aymanam in Kerala, and went to school at Corpus ChristiKottayam, followed by the Lawrence School, Lovedale, in Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. She then studied architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, where she met her first husband, architect Gerard da Cunha.

Roy met her second husband, filmmaker Pradip Krishen, in 1984, and played a village girl in his award-winning movie Massey Sahib. Until made financially stable by the success of her novel The God of Small Things, she worked various jobs, including running aerobics classes at five-star hotels in New Delhi. Roy is a cousin of prominent media personality Prannoy Roy, the head of the leading Indian TV media group NDTV,. She lives in New Delhi.

Early in her career, Roy worked for television and movies. She wrote the screenplays for In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones (1989), a movie based on her experiences as a student of architecture, directed by her current husband, and Electric Moon (1992); she also appeared as a performer in the first. Roy attracted attention in 1994, when she criticised Shekhar Kapur‘s film Bandit Queen, based on the life of Phoolan Devi. In her film review titled, ‘The Great Indian Rape Trick’, she questioned the right to “restage the rape of a living woman without her permission,” and charged Kapur with exploiting Devi and misrepresenting both her life and its meaning.

Roy began writing her first novel, The God of Small Things, in 1992, completing it in 1996. The book is semi-autobiographical and a major part captures her childhood experiences in Aymanam.

The publication of The God of Small Things catapulted Roy to instant international fame. It received the 1997 Booker Prize for Fiction and was listed as one of the New York TimesNotable Books of the Year for 1997. It reached fourth position on the New York Times Bestsellers list for Independent Fiction. From the beginning, the book was also a commercial success: Roy received half a million pounds as an advance; It was published in May, and the book had been sold to eighteen countries by the end of June. Read the rest of this entry »

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Arundhati Roy: ‘The people who created the crisis will not be the ones that come up with a solution’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 5, 2011

The prize-winning author of The God of Small Things talks about why she is drawn to the Occupy movement and the need to reclaim language and meaning

 By Arun Gupta

Arundhati Roy: 'The expropriators should have their wealth expropriated.' Photograph: Sarah Lee

Sitting in a car parked at a gas station on the outskirts of Houston, Texas, my colleague Michelle holds an audio recorder to my cellphone. At the other end of the line is Arundhati Roy, author of the Booker Prize-winning The God of Small Things, who is some 2,000 miles away, driving to Boston.

“This is uniquely American,” I remark to Roy about interviewing her while both in cars but thousands of miles apart. Having driven some 7,000 miles and visited 23 cities (and counting) in reporting on the Occupy movement, it’s become apparent that the US is essentially an oil-based economy in which we shuttle goods we no longer make around a continental land mass, creating poverty-level dead-end jobs in the service sector.

This is the secret behind the Occupy Wall Street movement that Roy visited before the police crackdowns started. Sure, ending pervasive corporate control of the political system is on the lips of almost every occupier we meet. But this is nothing new. What’s different is most Americans now live in poverty, on the edge, or fear a descent into the abyss. It’s why a majority (at least of those who have an opinion) still support Occupy Wall Street even after weeks of disinformation and repression. Read the rest of this entry »

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I’d rather not be Anna

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 22, 2011

By ARUNDHATI ROY

While his means maybe Gandhian, his demands are certainly not.

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. For now, whatever questions you may have about the Jan Lokpal Bill, here are the answers you’re likely to get: tick the box — (a) Vande Mataram (b) Bharat Mata ki Jai (c) India is Anna, Anna is India (d) Jai Hind.

For completely different reasons, and in completely different ways, you could say that the Maoists and the Jan Lokpal Bill have one thing in common — they both seek the overthrow of the Indian State. One working from the bottom up, by means of an armed struggle, waged by a largely adivasi army, made up of the poorest of the poor. The other, from the top down, by means of a bloodless Gandhian coup, led by a freshly minted saint, and an army of largely urban, and certainly better off people. (In this one, the Government collaborates by doing everything it possibly can to overthrow itself.)

In April 2011, a few days into Anna Hazare’s first “fast unto death,” searching for some way of distracting attention from the massive corruption scams which had battered its credibility, the Government invited Team Anna, the brand name chosen by this “civil society” group, to be part of a joint drafting committee for a new anti-corruption law. A few months down the line it abandoned that effort and tabled its own bill in Parliament, a bill so flawed that it was impossible to take seriously.

Then, on August 16th, the morning of his second “fast unto death,” before he had begun his fast or committed any legal offence, Anna Hazare was arrested and jailed. The struggle for the implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill now coalesced into a struggle for the right to protest, the struggle for democracy itself. Within hours of this ‘Second Freedom Struggle,’ Anna was released. Cannily, he refused to leave prison, but remained in Tihar jail as an honoured guest, where he began a fast, demanding the right to fast in a public place. For three days, while crowds and television vans gathered outside, members of Team Anna whizzed in and out of the high security prison, carrying out his video messages, to be broadcast on national TV on all channels. (Which other person would be granted this luxury?) Meanwhile 250 employees of the Municipal Commission of Delhi, 15 trucks, and six earth movers worked around the clock to ready the slushy Ramlila grounds for the grand weekend spectacle. Now, waited upon hand and foot, watched over by chanting crowds and crane-mounted cameras, attended to by India’s most expensive doctors, the third phase of Anna’s fast to the death has begun. “From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, India is One,” the TV anchors tell us. Read the rest of this entry »

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Genocidal war against the Tribal people in India – London Program Report

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 14, 2011

Arundhati Roy spoke to an audience of about 500 people at Friends Meeting House in Euston about the War on the People of India by the Indian State on 12th June 2011.

Arundhati’s resistive expression to the murderous activities of the Indian State, support to the public voices and understanding of democracy by external world in Indian context and the reality were very impressive and inspirational. She highlighted with lots of examples that why India cannot be considered as democratic country as army led government Pakistan that time.

She told the audience about her recent speech at School of Oriental and African Studies when she was confronted by a hostile questioner who said she should be thankful she was born in India the world’s largest democracy has if she had been born in China she would be in prison.

Arundhati’s answer was that if she was not the world renowned Indian Author with the name Arundhati Roy, winner of the Booker Prize she should would be sitting in an Indian prison along with the thousands of others unjustly imprisoned in India for resisting the crimes of the Indian State exposing the hypocrisy of Indian Democracy.

Arundhati clearly explains the two Indias, the middle class one so loved by the Western Media and the poor India, but Arundhati’s heart and mind are deployed with the 850 million Indians who live on 50 cents a day. She explains how the mineral rich areas are also the tribal areas and the Indian State has a plan of urbanization to drive 500 million people of the land into the cities. It is employing all weapons of war including starvation to drive the tribal people from their land to benefit the multinational companies who are hungry for India’s raw materials. Read the rest of this entry »

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Author Arundhati Roy: India’s economic success a ‘lie’

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 4, 2011

India is said to be one of the great economic success stories of modern times: an emerging power and the world’s biggest democracy.

But the Booker Prize-winning author and anti-globalisation activist Arundhati Roy tells a different story.

Speaking to the BBC’s Newsnight, she says tens of thousands of the country’s poorest people are suffering at the hands of corrupt governments bought and sold by big corporations.

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Genocidal war against the Tribal people in India – Int’l program in London

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 4, 2011

In September 2009, the Indian state, the “largest democracy in the world” openly launched a genocidal war against the people of India. Deploying over 200,000 paramilitary forces and other Special Forces supported by the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and various intelligence agencies in the forest regions of eastern and central India have unleashed an unprecedented military offensive — code named Operation Green Hunt (OGH). The war is being aided by the US, Israel and many European governments because the corporations of many of these countries are setting up multi-million dollar industries in this region. This is where millions of adivasis (tribal peoples), the poorest of India’s poor, live. While the government claims that this war is solely aimed at the Maoists, in reality its objective is to grab the rich minerals and natural resources of these areas and hand them over to multinational corporations who will exploit them for their own super profits.

Rising popular resistance against this outrageous anti-people offensive by the Indian state has already engulfed the largest sections of the masses in these regions and across the rest of sub-continent. There is fierce resistance against OGH and people are getting better organised in the defence of their land, habitat and livelihood while at the same time getting wide support across the urban spaces all across.

The government has intensified the clamp down on the media, civil liberties activists and other democratic minded citizens. Flagrant violations of the democratic rights of the people are on the rise. The number of political prisoners and those waiting to be tried is on a steep the rise. Ever new draconian laws are being promulgated by the Indian Parliament and various provincial legislatures to curb all voices of dissent, and to exterminate the people with impunity. Already, the Indian state has armed itself with a plethora of notorious legislations such as the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Disturbed Areas Act, Chhattisgarh Special Public Safety Act, etc., which are in direct contravention of the basic rights of citizens in any country that claims itself to be democratic.

  Read the rest of this entry »

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