E Woke Erudite
"Let's try and not be a crybaby". A contemporary authoress who’s majorly known for her bestseller, The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy is also an activist and environmentalist.
A revolution in her charm; Image Source: Nous les femmes (WordPress)

Born on 24th November 1961

A contemporary authoress who’s majorly known for her bestseller, The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy is also an activist and environmentalist. She is a sturdy wall shielding the causes of human rights. She was born in Meghalaya, the paradise of North-East. Her father, Rajib Roy, was a Bengali from Calcutta who worked as a tea plantation manager, and his mother, Mary Roy, was an activist of Malayali Syrian Christian women.

Arundhati Roy got her mutinous streak from her mother. Mary Roy confronted the laws of inheritance in India fearlessly. She prosecuted triumphantly for the liberty of Christian women to take over or get a fair share of their father’s property.

She studied at the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, to become an architect, but her heart was fixated on the literature corner. India is very familiar with this story, since more or less, every student is dealing with a similar situation; heart wants what it wants no matter how much the mind tells you to keep walking on the opposite path. She took up jobs of aerobics instructor and an artist, till she got her big opening.

She composed and performed in the movie, In Which Annie Gives It to Those Ones, in 1989. It circled around the experiences she had collected as an architecture student. She also wrote the script of Electric Moon (1992). Both these films were directed by her husband, Pradip Krishen. Arundhati Roy was awarded the National Film Award when her In Which Annie Gives It to Those Ones won in the category of Best Screenplay.

Just when people were starting to recognize her, something controversial took place. In 1994, she denounced Shekhar Kapur’s Bandit Queen in her film review titled ‘The Great Indian Rape Trick’. Her questions led to the conclusion of accusing Shekhar Kapur to have wrongly presented Devi’s life. It caused tumults in the country, stretched to the threshold of courtroom that pushed her to write her first novel, which changed her life later.

Her first novel, The God of Small Things was published on 1996. She was rewarded with the Booker Prize 1997 and was noted as one of the books of the year in the list of New York Times. It attracted a lot of international attention. She also composed Power Politics, The Algebra of Infinite Justice, Public Power in the Age of Empire, War Talk, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers, Broken Republic: Three Essays, and, Capitalism: A Ghost Story.

Apart from her outstanding literary works, her active involvement in politics is noteworthy. In the recent times of pandemic, she has written in ‘The Pandemic is a Portal’, about the panic in the citizens. “Who can use the term ‘gone viral’ now without shuddering a little? Who can look at anything anymore- a door handle, a cardboard carton, a bag of vegetables, without imagining it swarming with those unseeable, undead, unloving blobs dotted with suction pads waiting to fasten themselves onto our lungs?”

She had further stated, “The virus has moved freely along the pathways of trade and international capital, and the terrible illness it has brought in its wake has locked humans down in their countries, their cities and their homes. But unlike the flow of capital, this virus seeks proliferation, not profit, and has therefore inadvertently, to some extent, reversed the direction of flow. It has mocked immigration controls, biometrics, digital surveillance, and every other kind of data analytics, and struck hardest- thus far- in the richest, most powerful nations of the world, bringing the engine of capitalism to a juddering halt. Temporarily perhaps, but at least long enough for us to examine its parts, make an assessment and decide whether we want to help fix it or look for a better engine”.

She strenuously raised awareness among the readers by saying, “Coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to ‘normality’, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

Ipshita Sur Author
I know you won't believe this but the ghosts speak to me, narrate their epic moments and life histories- the concoction I work on here

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