Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Livia Firth and her encounter with Arundhati Roy

The Indian writer and activist reveals the secret of her tenacity.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

I always thought that a typically feminine qualities was his tenacity. Now that I Arundhati Roy known are even more convinced. Indiana, fifty years, irreducible political activist, Arundhati has become famous throughout the world in 1997, when he won the Booker Prize with the God of small Things (Guanda). For strength, is an unforgettable novel that recounts his ground and the impossible love between a woman and a privileged divorced "pariah", an untouchable. Then came the publication of a collection of essays Guide to the Empire for the common people, and now we are waiting for the next book, due out in January 2012.

I'm not surprised that Arundhati has become one of the most important voices in the contemporary debate: when not writing, tours the world to study and speak passionately of different topics, and all tosti, neo imperialism, the problems of the dam on the Narmada River in India (responsible for the forced exodus of millions of inhabitants), or the recent revolutions in Egypt, Tunisiain the Philippines. But perhaps the question that is more to heart is this: for years, Arundhati Kashmirwork in the region which is disputed between India and Pakistan that has a sad record, one of the most militarized area in the world, with almost 500,000 Indian soldiers to garrison.

Thousands of people have been killed since 1947 to today, and still must be subject to the curfew and the violent repression of any form of protest. Yet the case does not receive the attention it deserves, at the international level. The writer has a clear idea on the subject: «when you started the revolution in Egypt I wondered why the media give prominence to that so great news, taking the spotlight far from other areas. The answer is: are political choices. The establishment and Use of the Western world, matter have control of Egypt at all costs, to control Gaza. With India, however, the priorities are different: represents a huge market, and the only contestant able to keep the growth of China. Then: the Government should keep good Indian. And who wants to have him as an ally, avoids irritate him bringing to the fore the prickly issue of Kashmir ".

When I asked her how face to be so informed, Arundhati has laughed: "always ask Me! And I explain that I don't do searches, read only, because they are disgusted by the excess of propaganda. I understand what and when is the truth, I am so angry that I have to write something. " And if we all get even just a pinch of tenacity of Arundhati Roy?

Livia Firth was born in Rome but feels little town in the world. Creative director of, special mission is to make sexy ecology, social justice and (slightly) in everyday life. Lives in London, is married to a certain actor, has 3 sons, about 4 fish and a cat. Every month on Marie Claire tells of extraordinary women around the world.
Livia Firth


 Article translated automatically from Italian. Mistakes any is result of that.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Arundhati Roy: 'I know I have to finish my next novel – one day'

Ahead of the Booker Prize tomorrow, Arundhati Roy tells Peter Popham how the award led her to a new life, and away from fiction

Monday, 17 October 2011

Arundhati Roy, winner of the Booker Prize in 1997 for The God Of Small Things, is not in the frame this year. Again. In fact, she has yet to follow up on that first book, what John Updike described as her "Tiger Woodsian debut".

It's not for want of trying: it is no secret that she has a second one on the stocks. "Everybody has known that for many years!" she laughs. Few people have had a glimpse of it, however, one exception being her friend John Berger, the octogenarian novelist and art critic. He was so impressed that he urged her to drop everything and finish it. "About a year and a half ago I was with John at his home," she recalls, "and he said, 'You open your computer now and you read to me whatever fiction you are writing.' He is perhaps the only person in the world that could have the guts to say that to me. And I read a bit to him and he said, 'You just go back to Delhi and you finish that book.' So I said 'ok...'"

But her good intentions were derailed. "I went back to Delhi," she says, "and in a few weeks this note was pushed under my door: just an anonymous typewritten note asking me to visit the Maoists in the jungles of central India..."

It was a tough invitation, to enter the dark heart of India's secret war zone. But not one that Arundhati Roy could refuse. Since her stunning Booker success, her real passion has been for politics, not fiction.

Today India is going down the same path travelled centuries back by the European colonial powers: identifying sources of strategic minerals, driving off the people living on top of them, and using it to industrialise and grow rich. The difference is that India has no Australia or Latin America to plunder. Instead, as Roy says, "It is colonising itself, turning upon its own poor to extract raw materials."

Centuries after the plunder of mineral resources began, some people living in countries like Britain began to understand the horrors that had been committed along the way: the indigenous peoples massacred, their traditions erased, the survivors reduced to penury. But by then, remorse came cheap: the damage had been done, the great fortunes made.

But in India all this is happening now, in real time. As a result, remorse is far more expensive: if sincerely meant, it could really throw a spanner in the happiness machine.

When Arundhati Roy accepted the Maoists' invitation, she was aware that what is being done to millions of adivasis, India's tribal people, in their villages in the forests of central India was an uncomfortable subject for the Indian middle class.

India's Naxalite rebellion started back in the 1960s, in the West Bengal village of Naxalbari, and through innumerable splits and spats, eruptions and retreats, has been sputtering on ever since. But in 2005 the new Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, raised its profile dramatically when he described it as "India's greatest internal security threat".

Roy believes the timing was significant. "It coincided with the government signing hundreds of secret Memorandums of Understanding with several mining companies and infrastructure corporations," she says. "They basically sold the rivers, the mountains, the forests, they signed them over to private companies. And they needed to wage war against these indigenous people to get them out of their villages, so the mining companies could move in."

Hundreds of thousands of paramilitaries were deployed in the forests to do the job; there followed the burning of hundreds of villages "infested" by Maoists, the setting up of roadside camps for villagers flushed out of them, and a great deal of bloodshed on both sides.

Yet by walking through the forest and listening to the Maoists' stories, Roy exposed a reality that the Indian media had worked overtime to conceal. Forty-five per cent of the rebels, she says, are women; 99 per cent are tribal villagers, the traditional inhabitants of these forests who have taken up the gun in a last, desperate attempt to protect their homes and their land.

When her essay about the trip, Walking With The Comrades, appeared in India last year, Roy was criticised for humanising the rebels. For the Indian middle class, wedded to Gandhian ideas of non-violence, their adherence to the gun put them beyond the pale. But, says Roy, what other option did they have?

"I believe that Gandhian resistance is an extremely effective and moral form of political theatre, provided you have a sympathetic audience," she says. "But what happens when you are a tribal village in the heart of the forest, miles away from anywhere? When the police surround your village, are you going to sit on a hunger strike? Can the hungry go on hunger strike?"

In the years since the triumph of her novel, Roy has become expert at touching the nerve of the Indian middle class. It's a gift that reflects her own hyper-sensitivity. "I feel sometimes that I live without a skin," she says. "I live without a protection. And when you live without a skin you actually are all the time living in an ocean of things that ask to be told.

"The country that I live in is becoming more and more repressive, more and more of a police state... India is hardening as a state. It has to continue to give the impression of being a messy, cuddly democracy but actually what's going on outside the arc lights is really desperate."

But at the same time it remains an open society, and the arguments are there to be won. "This is a very interesting time where I think the debates are being cracked open. Real intervention at a real moment can change the paradigm of the debate, even if it doesn't instantly cause a revolution."

The novel will just have to wait: her political writing, she says, "gives people a bit of space to breathe. What I love most is that the minute it's written it's translated into [the Indian regional languages] Oriya and Kannada and Telugu... People ask me if I feel isolated: I can't tell you how un-isolated I feel. If somebody said, how do you get feedback from your writing, I'd say I just have to stand at a traffic light! It's like a dynamic exchange of love, anger and argument, unfolding every minute of the day."

A life in brief

Born 24 November, 1959, in Shillong, India, near border with Bangladesh.

Education Aged 16, she moved to New Delhi to study architecture. She still lives in the city.

Family In 1984 she married second husband, the filmmaker Pradip Krishen, spending the next few years working in a series of odd-jobs while writing screenplays for Indian films.

Career Her semi-autobiographical debut novel from 1997, The God of Small Things, earned a £500,000 advance and won the Booker Prize. Has since used profile to campaign on environmental issues and against the caste system. This year's Broken Republic: Three Essays, attracted controversy for its defence of tribal Maoist rebels.


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Many imitators too many dishonest

Angiola Codacci-Pisanel

The writer Arundhati Roy: "you are corrupting Gandhi's ideas to make a violent use of non-violence. It is immoral to allow a State to commit violence, and claim a non-violent reaction by the victims '

Arundhati Roy  
Arundhati Roy"Those who have nothing to eat can do a hunger strike. And if there are no spectators does not make sense to do a sit-in ". And ' pithy Arundhati Roy in indicating the limits of non-violence and the risk of "gandhism forced". Behind a hugely successful novel ("the God of small things") followed by a non-fiction increasingly engaged and anti-Government, Indian writer is coming to present at Ferrara, at the Festival of "International", along with his "spiritual father" John Berger, the collection of essays "Broken Republic" (in Italy by Guanda due out in January): a book with hatred in India because it supports the armed resistance of the indigenous peoples who seek to defend their forests by the appetites of the multinationals supported by the Government. People, writes Roy, for the media are "Maoist rebel violence and blood-thirsty" and "from the point of view of consumption are more of a Gandhian Ghandian protesters".

Non-violent manifestations of Arab spring they did talk about a return of the ideals of Mahatma. Would you agree?
"We cannot talk about gandhism just because there are mass demonstrations. Gandhi was a politician, very complex and interesting. He had a philosophy of life, a particular attitude towards consumerism. I'm not an unconditional fan of Gandhi but admire and wouldn't ever mistake of confusing what has been called Arab spring with a Gandhian movement. The revolts of Arab countries have complex policies components: in Egypt have an important role in the Muslim Brotherhood, which certainly cannot be called valorises local traditions. We must see how the situation evolves before Judge ".

Meanwhile, in India the politician of the moment is Anna Hazare, the "new Gandhi" that she disapproves of everything, right?
"Yes, because he really has little to do with Gandhi. Says that the corrupt should be hanged and that they must cut off the hands of the thieves: looks more like a supporter of the sharia that a Gandhian. In addition to a centralized democracy, an oligarchy formed by 30 thousand people responsible for weeding out corruption at all levels, while Gandhi believed in decentralisation. I think you atteggi to Gandhian for reasons and to inspire sympathy, but it has nothing to do with him. "

Behold, the Theatre: you write that non-violence makes no sense if it does not have an audience.
"When you decide to start a hunger strike or a sit-in need of an audience that shares. Then in the forests of central India, where police and paramilitaries encircle the poorest and burning houses and rape women, when your village is surrounded by a thousand policemen without organs information knowing nothing, what kind of Gandhian politics can do? View Hazare: When did the hunger strike was in the heart of Delhi, surrounded by journalists and supporters. This is very dishonest. "

The hunger strike so it is for the rich and famous?
"The part of Gandhi who admire more his approach to sustainability, ecological life, which was really ahead of its time-is the part of which no one speaks. The so-called Gandian protesters today want to maintain a consumerist behavior and have the free market, and meanwhile you fill your mouth with non-violence. Sure Gandhi would not have been backed by multinational companies such as Tata ".

Think you can bribe Gandhi's ideas to make a violent use of non-violence?
"It's what's going on. When I see people in India who claim non-violence by the poorest of the poor while their villages were under attack, when they preach to the people of Kashmir living under the occupation of 700 thousand soldiers, I feel that is deeply immoral. It is unethical to allow a State to commit violence, and claim a non-violent reaction by the victims. "
Source :

*This article has been automatically translated from Italian 

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Arundhati Roy and Pankaj Mishra - Kashmir: The Case for Freedom

Kashmir is one of the most protracted and bloody occupations in the world — and one of the most ignored. Under an Indian military rule that, at half a million strong, exceeds the total number of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, freedom of speech is non-existent, and human rights abuses are routine.

Exploring the causes and consequences of the occupation, Kashmir: The Case for Freedom is a passionate call for the end of occupation, and for the right of self-determination for the Kashmiri people.
Join author/activist Arundhati Roy and writer Pankaj Mishra with invited guests for a discussion on Kashmir’s tragedy.

Followed by a book sale and signing on November 11, 2011, 6:30pm - 8:30pm. 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), New York, NY

Can't make it to this program? Tune in to the free webcast from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm on Online viewers are encouraged to send questions to

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Arundhati Roy speaks at Ferrara 2011

Arundhati Roy - Why exercising freedom of speech, of thinking, of writing? maybe because some justice perhaps will come, but the first thing is to avoid the humiliation of not writing, of not telling that you know what have been done to you, not to be reduced to silence, writing is a way of preserving your personal dignity.

Source: freeflor

Monday, 10 October 2011

Arundhati: Joint fight against forced land acquisition

KUSSA (MOGA): The fight of Punjab farmers and labourers facing forced land acquisition got an unexpected boost, with Booker winner Arundhati Roy advocating a joint struggle to stop this, whether it is in Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bengal or Punjab.

Talking to The Times of India, Roy also condemned the cane charge on farmers at Gobindpura village. Arundhati said she has come to know that some women resisting forced acquisition have sustained injuries. ''I salute their spirit.''

She also stressed on the need to organize a renewed and sustained struggle for ensuring equality, irrespective of caste, creed and financial position, to get rid of the ills afflicting civil society.

Roy, who had come to this dusty village to pay tributes to eminent playwright Gursharan Singh, said, ''He fought all his life against imperialistic forces which can only be defeated by joint efforts.''

Referring to usurping of vast natural resources by multinational companies, Arundhati said if the poorest people in the world, residing in Orissa and Chhattisgarh could keep the big companies at bay for more than five years, why can't those in other places (states) do so. She said the world takes inspiration from poor people's fight against the mighty.

Arundhati, her Hindi peppered with English words, said, ''Gursharan showcased people's anger against anti-people regimes. There is dire need for thousands of small stones (people) to join together to form a formidable wall, which could not be torn apart by big concerns or regimes. And writers, people in art and culture could work as cement in the building of this wall.''

She said lakhs of people from Punjab to Kerala, and Chhattisgarh to Orissa, are undertaking different struggles for their survival and well-being. But a bigger, collective fight is needed.

Roy pointed out that Punjab has 30% dalit population, out of which and 90% are landless, but the leftist forces have failed to fight for their cause altogether.

Earlier, paying rich tributes to Gursharan Singh, Roy, Sangeet Natak Akademi and Sahitya Akademi award winner playwrights Atamjit, Ajmer Aulakh, Gursharan's daughter Areet, Desh Bhagat Yadgar hall committee member Amolak Singh, playwrights Kewal Dhaliwal, Sahib Singh and others stressed on the need to carry forward Gursharan's legacy.


Sunday, 9 October 2011

Roy joins in, slams govt over land row

Stating that only people should have the right to decide whether to sell their land or not, Booker prize winning author and activist Arundhati Roy slammed the Punjab government for forcibly acquiring land at Gobindpura near Mansa. The author was in Kussa village in Moga on Sunday where a function was held to pay tribute to theatre activist Gursharan Singh who died last week.

Addressing a huge gathering Roy said: “ The state government does not have any right to forcibly remove people from the land in which people earn their livelihood. This land (Gobindpura) belongs to the farmers and they should decide whether they want to sell it or not”. Roy also hit out at the Centre’s policies. “In Punjab land holdings are dwindling and in a situation like this the state government should ensure that the land stays with the farmers and not acquire land from them. It is sad to see that a nation where a large majority is poor and marginalised, the policies and welfare schemes are made for a small minority. This skewed vision of the central government has created a huge divide between the haves and the have nots,” she went on to add.

Meanwhile farmers, writers, civil society groups and artistes paid rich tributes to theatre activist Gursharan Singh who passed away on September 28 after a prolonged illness. Paying homage to Singh, Roy said: “ Gursharan was not merely a theatre personality but an activist who bonded art with the social sentiments of the people”.

Dr Areet, Gursharan Singh’s daughter also paid a tearful tribute to her father. “My father educated and inspired the people to fight for their rights through theatre at the village level that touched the common masses to a great extent”, Areet said.


Saturday, 8 October 2011

Bookclub: Arundhati Roy on The God of Small Things - Radio4 Extra Blog

Arundhati Roy with Jim and the Bookclub audience

I do hope those of you who have heard the Arundhati Roy discussion on The God of Small Things enjoyed it. There are very few books of this kind that come our way, so it was a natural for us. Sooner or later we had to come to it. Listen to it HERE

The God of Small Things is unusual in so many ways. As Arundhati Roy puts it, the story begins at the end and ends in the middle, and she is determined that she was never going to write a linear story.

In our discussion she made it clear that the feeling of a book that has a circular wholeness, so that you can start the story almost anywhere with the same effect, springs from that part of her mind that made her want to be an architect, which is how she was trained.

The result is that the book's power comes not so much from the development of a story along conventional lines - a beginning in the first pages, and an end on the last page - but from the conception of the world in which the action (concentrated in a few days) is happening around you.

The book that obviously springs to mind is Ulysses, but I find it hard to think of settings that are more different than James Joyce's Dublin and Roy's Kerala, where the texture of life is built up of an impossible vast range of smells, colours, tiny objects and competing cultures and religions. Your senses are assailed by the vividness of the world she describes.

And of course it is a story of love and loss, and therefore tragedy. But when we asked her if it was therefore a pessimistic novel, she said that she thought that the fact the kind of love she describes could have come about in a feudal society was in itself "a fantastically hopeful thing".

At the centre of the story, recollected by Rahel as an adult woman, is the love between her Christian mother and a carpenter who, by the rules of caste, is an Untouchable.

In her conversation, especially when we asked her why she had not written another novel since The God of Small Things was first published in 1997, Arundhati Roy revealed the depth of her political commitments: the extent to which she wants her story to reveal not just the intoxicating feel of India, and the way that the mystical and the practical are woven together in everyday life, but the unfairness and cruelties of a system that pitches different religions and cultures against each other.

Since she wrote the book, which became a worldwide bestseller and won prizes, including the Booker, she's devoted most of her energy to various campaigns which she feels to be more important that the writing of another story.

She told us: "I hope I will return to fiction. I don't want to write books because that's what the world expects me to do. I want to write a book when I have a book that needs to be written or wants to be written; not just because that's a profession." That moment has not yet come.

About her writing technique, which has dazzled so many critics and readers, she says that she knows no rules. She thinks or herself neither as a linear nor hierarchical thinker, and in describing the way she tried to capture the society in which her characters were caught, and the way they lived their lives, it became clear that she wanted to paint a picture of how difficult it is to pursue love - which always produces, she believes, vulnerability - in a society where class and caste impose rigid boundaries and exert hard punishment on anyone who tries to stray across them.

Just as she says that pessimism and optimism aren't in a binary relationship - being opposites between which you have to choose - so she sees the pain of love as something that's inevitable if the joy of it is going to be appreciated. She refused to choose between gloom and hope: they're both there in the book.

I suspect that the reason why it was such a success is that the style in which she tells the story - its layers, the overlapping of time, the back-and-forth twists of the narrative, the idea of the compression of a long story into a brief moment in history - is utterly original.

When you put that together with the sheer exultation in the physical presence of India - especially the smells and the colours - you have a powerful mix.

One of our readers who had grown up in India said that when he read the passages in the pickle factory it made him want to go and wipe his hands afterwards.

The emotions in the book are very powerful - it deals with death, love that has to struggle to be fulfilled, and a touch of incest (because of a shared feeling of desolation) - yet they seem to sit naturally in a society where the natural world always seems about to overwhelm the people, and the rules that are forced upon them are often impossible to obey.

I'm glad we have come to The God of Small Things because in the end I think we had to.


Thursday, 6 October 2011

Arundhati Roy: Walking with the Comrades, followed by a discussion with David Harvey


Walking with the Comrades

Deep in the forests, under the pretense of battling Maoist guerillas, the Indian government is waging a vicious total war against its own citizens—a war undocumented by a weak domestic press and fostered by corporations eager to exploit the rare minerals buried in tribal lands. Chronicling her months spent living with the rebel guerillas in the forests, Roy addresses the much larger question of whether global capitalism will tolerate any societies existing outside of its colossal control.

A reading by

Arundhati Roy

Followed by a discussion with David Harvey

Arundhati Roy (c) Sanjay Kak
Arundhati Roy (c) Sanjay Kak

Wednesday November 9th 2011

7.00 PM – 9.00 PM
The Proshansky Auditorium
Cuny Graduate Center
365 Fifth Ave at 34th Street
Free and open to the public

Arundhati Roy was born in 1959 in Shillong, India. She studied architecture in New Delhi, where she now lives. She has worked as a film designer and screenplay writer in India. Roy is the author of the novel The God of Small Things, for which she received the 1997 Booker Prize. The novel has been translated into dozens of languages worldwide.
She has written several non-fiction books, including The Cost of Living, Power Politics, War Talk, An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire, and Public Power in the Age of Empire. Roy was featured in the BBC television documentary Dam/age, which is about the struggle against big dams in India. A collection of interviews with Arundhati Roy by David Barsamian was published as The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile. Her recent work includes Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers, and a contribution to the forthcoming anthology Kashmir: The Case for Freedom. Her latest book, Walking with the Comrades was just published by Penguin Books. Roy is the recipient of the 2002 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Prize.

David Harvey, a leading theorist in the field of urban studies whom Library Journal called “one of the most influential geographers of the later twentieth century,” earned his Ph.D. from Cambridge University, was formerly professor of geography at Johns Hopkins, a Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics, and Halford Mackinder Professor of Geography at Oxford. His reflections on the importance of space and place (and more recently “nature”) have attracted considerable attention across the humanities and social sciences. His highly influential books include The New ImperialismParis, Capital of ModernitySocial Justice and the CityLimits to CapitalThe Urbanization of Capital;The Condition of PostmodernityJustice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference;Spaces of Hope; and Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography. His numerous awards include the Outstanding Contributor Award of the Association of American Geographers and the 2002 Centenary Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for his “outstanding contribution to the field of geographical enquiry and to anthropology.” He holds honorary degrees from the universities of Buenos Aires, Roskilde in Denmark, Uppsala in Sweden, and Ohio State University.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Arundhati Roy discusses The God of Small Things on Bookclub (BBC Radio4)

Arundhati Roy talks to James Naughtie and readers about her Booker prize winning novel The God of Small Things. Roy's first and so far only book of fiction, it took the literary world by storm, winning the Booker Prize in 1997.


Monday, 3 October 2011

Into the Woods

By Arundhati Roy and Parul Sehgal

In Walking with the Comrades, novelist and activist Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things) travels into the forest with India’s Maoist indigenous communities at war with the government.
How did you earn the guerrillas’ trust?
When the Indian government declared war against the Maoists, Indian liberals, for the most part, took a very safe, neutral position: “The government is bad, the Maoists are bad, the poor people are sandwiched in the middle.” I am no Maoist, but I thought that was a profoundly dishonest position. It elided the fact that the government had secretly sold lands belonging to indigenous tribes to mining and infrastructure companies. This is illegal and unconstitutional, and yet it was being done brazenly. Hundreds of thousands of paramilitary police were closing in on forest villages to clear the land for the corporations. About 600 villages had been emptied; some 300,000 people had fled their homes and had either moved to police camps or were hiding, terrified, in the forest. Many had joined the guerrilla army and were fighting back. The government and the media, campaigning for corporations, labeled them terrorists and called for them to practice Gandhian nonviolence. I wrote that Gandhian nonviolence was political theater that could be effective provided it had a sympathetic and empowered audience; how could people in remote forest villages, far from the gaze of the media or a hostile middle class be Gandhian while they were being raped and murdered? How could the starving go on hunger strike? How could those with no money boycott goods? My writings made their way into the forest, and one day a note was slipped under my door, inviting me to walk with the comrades.
What surprised you most about them?
I believed that when people take up arms, the violence would inevitably turn against the women in the community. In the forest I was disabused of this notion—45% of the Peoples Liberation Guerrilla Army is made up of women. Many of them joined after watching the brutal attacks of the police and the government sponsored vigilante groups on their villages. Others joined to escape the patriarchal practices of their own tribal society. The Maoist party has been a very patriarchal organization; the women within it still have major battles to fight (like women everywhere), but in the forest, I was in complete awe of the women I met. There was a lovely moment when I went down to a river with some women guerillas to bathe, while others kept guard. I remember thinking to myself, “Look at the women in this river—writers, guerrillas, farmers—how very wonderful.”
You write about India’s poor and disenfranchised, but you do so in English (and with a fairly sophisticated style, to boot)? Who do you write for?
Language is such a volatile and political issue in India. We have hundreds of languages and each has its own history of oppression and exclusion. So whatever language you write in, you're excluding the majority of people in the country. Yes, I write in English, but my writing is immediately translated into Hindi, Bengali, Odiya, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam. Still, it is a huge irony to be a writer, in any language, in a country where so many are illiterate. Who do I write for? For everybody and nobody. I write when my body cannot accommodate my silence any more. I do what I can to use language and not let it use me.
One of the pleasures of reading your writing is your irreverence and exuberance—a tone not commonly found in analyses of this sort. Is this a voice that you’ve had to hone?
I don’t spend a moment thinking about my style. But I do spend a fair amount of time structuring the argument and narrative. It takes a few drafts for me to moderate the fury I feel. As for irreverence, I've always found so much laughter, so much cutting humor amongst people even in the most deadly moments. When I think back on my time in the forest, more than anything else I remember laughing till tears were streaming down my face. You invite our admiration for how “the poorest people in the world have managed to stop some of the richest corporations in their tracks.” How can readers support these communities? The Maoists are only the militant end of a bandwidth of resistance movements in India—all of them are posing a radical challenge to accepted ideas of what constitute progress, “development,” and civilization itself. The main thing readers can do is to not think of this conversation as a conversation about others, but to look at their own “civilizations” and ask: “What can we do to help ourselves, to open our imaginations to another way of thinking?”


Saturday, 1 October 2011

The intellectual social

Arundhati Roy "No novel will change the world." "In the new book I describe the days and nights running with the Maoists in the jungle." Interview Indian author who left the writings of fiction for complaint

Arundhati Roy is the author of The God of Small Things, international bestseller. And it is the same as when he won a Booker Prize in 35 years, thanks to that book, then spent the next fifteen to act as a critical conscience in the face of global disasters imperialism in India (Bhopal, large dams, the curse for the poor which is the other side of the Silicon Valley of the East). So from 1996 is repeated the same question: why choose to abandon the commitment to dedicate the novels? Why, back in the most recent book, Broken Republic, just published in English met by fierce controversy and interest and being published in Italian by Guanda, tell the world with painful involvement of bauxite ore to the assault of a mountain that costs life and freedom to a tribe, a political crime in Andhra Pradesh, the Maoist guerrillas of bizarre and ferocious "Naxalites" which has gone for a week to live and walk in the jungle? Roy has over fifteen years in any case have learned patience, because it still shows the beautiful smile when he explained the first time that no, he was not going to become just "a nice lady who writes novels." And he kept his word.

Why, in short, just write essays of complaint and controversy?
"The best answer is that I had, I have not, your choice. As the writers do not choose their stories but they are, myself included, chosen by them, so the reality in a country where democracy is a theater behind which flares up the brutality, injustice, and puts you ahead of situations that call for a voice to be told. I write, as I have done for many years and many books, when I can not remain silent. And to do it using all the skills at my disposal, that of the storyteller and the intellectual who needs to understand how things really are. To oversimplify, without telling what it is not easy. "

Have you ever said that making fiction is like dancing, non-fiction is like walking ...

"I said, about the pace. But in fact, "On the road with his companions," the central chapter of the new book, where days and nights running account with the Maoists in the jungle, was a little 'dance. There is also the fear, the emotion, hope, and of course the violence of warfare. "

Before which expresses this time more questions than convictions, as has been reprimanded. He writes in part: "one who dies of hunger can not propose a hunger strike to protest."
"It's impossible to sympathize entirely with certain groups like the Maoists and their methods. But it is also true that after a long and spectacular success of the nonviolent movement, we have many things have worsened. More and more police, more and more violence and destruction, more and more radical opposition between the interests of the few and the lives of many. All this has changed me? Maybe. But I think we have changed things more than me. "

In Europe and America's commitment, the decline of traditional ideologies, has a predominantly humanitarian. In Italy there is a special case of commitment, even at great cost, and malfeasance against the Mafia.
"I know and understand the case Saviano. But in the West people have a relationship "civilized" with democracy, not question it poses to its limits. One reason, I remember, most of the end of ideologies, is that the free market price is paid, especially in other parts of the world. "

What do you think of a vocation to the commitment of so many Western intellectuals and personalities?

"I distinguish. Tomorrow in Ferrara will speak at the meeting of the International Festival of commitment and writing with John Berger, who is for me a friend and an example of searching for truth in the language of the narrative. And then there are the celebrities who line up for "social work". But it's different when you deploy "for cause" as if I did for a product. And there is a foolproof system to distinguish, just check the system for your "endorsement" is comfortable, or makes them uncomfortable. In India there is a steel plant which penetrates the mountains and destroy entire populations, but also promotes a program to protect tribal crafts .... "

It seems that globalization, rather than unite, to expel ...
"Globalization is an ambiguous word. It also contains September 11 which left the United States weakened, the international economic collapse makes it more unstable the Western world. There is food for thought, rather than face this Indian elites are increasingly blindly devoted to the free market. "

Will that also seems to us that there growth is unstoppable ...

"Do not forget to add" but only for the elite. " Much depends on the distance from the fact that it is impossible for me not to see it and not cry. "

Say it with empathy of the narrative, even in the case of his debut novel, seemed formidable a shortcut between cultures and continents. The direct involvement in the complaint is not likely to be a longer way to communicate?
"It may seem so, if the goal is to convince someone or many. But the urgency to intervene where and when drama and tragedy is happening is completely different, do not have the time of the creation and circulation of literature that changes public opinion. For me it's too hard to be there and do not act now. Silenced in these cases, is to betray oneself. Maybe even the return time to choose how to say things. "


*This is an article translated from Italian to English, any mistakes made are because of the loss in translation.