THE PAVILIONS PHUKET EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019 Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Arundhati Roy’s new book owes much to her lifelong political activism

Arundhati Roy’s eagerly-awaited second novel went on sale on Tuesday (June 6), two decades after her prize-winning debut The God of Small Things propelled her to global fame and launched her career as an outspoken critic of injustice in her native India.


By AFP

Sunday 11 June 2017, 03:00PM


Roy became the first Indian woman to win the prestigious Booker Prize with her 1997 work, which sold around eight million copies and turned the young author into a star of the literary world.

In the years that followed, she turned to non-fiction writing, taking on issues ranging from poverty and globalisation to the conflict in Kashmir in essays that were often highly critical of India’s ruling class.

Her campaigning earned her the wrath of many in the Indian establishment and has clearly influenced her latest novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, which she has said took 10 years to produce.

Publisher Penguin says it takes the reader, “from the cramped neighbourhoods of Old Delhi into the burgeoning new metropolis” and on to the troubled Kashmir Valley and the jungles of central India, wracked by a long-running Maoist rebellion.

“There was this huge sense of urgency when I was writing the political essays, each time you wanted to blow a space open, on any issue,” Roy told The Hindu daily in an interview published last week.

“But fiction takes its time and is layered... It is not just a human rights report about how many people have been killed and where. How do you describe the psychosis of what is going on? Except through fiction.”

Roy was lauded at home when she became the first resident Indian to win the Booker for her novel about twins growing up in the southern state of Kerala. Previous Indian winners had lived outside the country.
The Times of India in an editorial titled “Novel Indian” quoted a “prophecy” by James Joyce – “The East shall wake the West awake/And ye shall have night for morn” – which it said “seems to be coming true”.

Roy recalled in a recent BBC interview how she was suddenly on the cover of every magazine – until she spoke out against India’s nuclear tests a year later.

“Not that I had a say in it, but I was being marketed as this new product of the global India,” she said.

“And then suddenly the government did these nuclear tests... And I wrote this essay condemning the tests, and at that point the fairy princess was kicked off her pedestal in a minute,” she added.

Roy, now 55, went on to become one of India’s most famous and polarising authors. She was briefly jailed for contempt of court over her activism and still faces a sedition charge for challenging India’s right to rule over the disputed Kashmir region in 2010.

She argues that India’s economic boom has made a small minority rich on the suffering of the poor, and has spent time researching the work of Maoist rebels fighting for land rights in the resource-rich jungles of central India.

Her criticism of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been particularly fierce. She once called for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be put on trial over the deadly anti-Muslim riots that occurred in the state of Gujarat in 2002, when he was chief minister.

Modi has been dogged by accusations he turned a blind eye to the violence, but a Supreme Court-ordered investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing in 2012.

Internationally, Roy remains a huge draw, lauded both for her activism and her writing, and the reviews for her second novel have been broadly – though not universally – positive.

The Financial Times said it was “as remarkable as her first”, and promised her admirers would not be disappointed, while The New Yorker called it a “scarring novel of India’s modern history”.

But some critics were sceptical about her attempts to introduce her political causes into her fiction. “‘Ministry’ is two decades of polemic distilled into one book, with a superstructure of fiction to hold it together,” said The Economist. “It does not work.”

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Civil action to be taken against shot Phuket driver’s family

Not sure how "saw" became "so", technology.. amazing....(Read More)


Indonesia teen rescued after seven weeks adrift at sea

Amazing ordeal for this kid. The fact that he agreed to be moored 125 km out to sea by himself is p...(Read More)


The Thai wives who never said ‘I do’

It feels like everything about foreigners is immigration wise very well in order. Report-report, 2 n...(Read More)


Drug blitz at full moon party

A small island, allowing up to 30,000 night party goers? On a drugs island? Are they nuts? Where pol...(Read More)


Quarter of capital’s public vans to be retired

Mhh, bit by bit I get hold on thai thinking. 1: stop with beach life guards, look later how to handl...(Read More)


Back to the drawing board for ‘Phoenix’ salvage

Obviously no calculations done to assess the submerged weight of the vessel ie. full of water. No bo...(Read More)


Life Cycling: The health benefits of a good pedalling

Whether it's to improve your health and fitness, as an environmental choice, taking up cycling c...(Read More)


Civil action to be taken against shot Phuket driver’s family

Has anyone actually seen the video, I so a pick up, that is NOT mowing down three motorcyclists wait...(Read More)


Civil action to be taken against shot Phuket driver’s family

So finally the Phuket police take drastic action that was needed to protect the general public from ...(Read More)


Phuket boat mechanic dies after getting neck caught in engine

Yeah...he slipped and got his neck caught...a likely story. Probably more like Capt fired up the eng...(Read More)


 

Melbourne Cup 2018