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Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy

Indian author

Suzanna Arundhati Roy (born 24 November 1961) is an Indian author best known for her novel The God of Small Things (1997), which won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1997 and became the best-selling book by a non-expatriate Indian author. She is also a political activist involved in human rights and environmental causes.

The secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably... in the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn't. And yet you want to know again.

That's what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.

To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.

Dams are the temples of secular India and almost worshipped. They are huge, wet cement flags that wave in our minds. They're the symbol of nationalism to many.

I can't be a part of the large convoy because it's not a choice that you can make. The fact that I'm an educated person means that I can't be on that convoy. I don't want to be on it. I don't want to be a victim. I don't want to disappear into the darkness.

My writing is translated into every Indian language, it's distributed in pamphlets, in little private video things, it's everywhere. So it's a lovely pastime for the middle class to think of itself as the whole nation.

The strange thing about Roman soldiers in the comics was the amount of trouble they took over their armor and their helmets, and then, after all that, they left their legs bare. It didn't make any sense at all. Weatherwise or otherwise.

When she looked at herself in her wedding photographs, Ammu felt the woman that looked back at her was someone else. A foolish jewelled bride. Her silk sunset-coloured sari shot with gold. Rings on every finger. White dots of sandalwood paste over her arched eye-brows. Looking at herself like this, Ammu's soft mouth would twist into a small, bitter smile at the memory - not of the wedding itself so much as the fact that she had permitted herself to be so painstakingly decorated before being led to the gallows. It seemed so absurd. So futile. Like polishing firewood.

There's no division on my bookshelf between fiction and nonfiction. As far as I'm concerned, fiction is about the truth.

I really worry about these political people that have no personal life. If there's nothing that's lovely, and if there's nothing that's just ephemeral, that you can just lie on the floor and bust a gut laughing at, then what's the point?

So far as we are concerned, there is not one word in the statements that I have made in this council which can be interpreted to mean that we will not honour international obligations. I want to say for the purpose of the record that there is nothing that has been said on behalf of the Government of India which in the slightest degree indicates that the Government of India or the Union of India will dishonour any international obligations it has undertaken.

I hope that that the people in the Occupy movement are politically aware enough to know that their being excluded from the obscene amassing of wealth of US corporations is part of the same system of the exclusion and war that is being waged by these corporations in places like India, Africa and the Middle East.

To understand history,' Chacko said, 'we have to go inside and listen to what they're saying. And look at the books and the pictures on the wall. And smell the smells.

If you are happy in a dream, Ammu, does that count? Estha asked. "Does what count?" "The happiness does it count?". She knew exactly what he meant, her son with his spoiled puff. Because the truth is, that only what counts, counts....."If you eat fish in a dream, does it count?" Does it mean you've eaten fish?

The only good thing about nuclear war is that it is the single most egalitarian idea that man has ever had. On the day of reckoning, you will not be asked to present your credentials. The devastation will be indiscriminate.

Wars are never fought for altruistic reasons.

One beach-colored. One brown. One Loved. One Loved a Little Less.

Madness slunk in through a chink in History. It only took a moment.

He walked on water. Perhaps. But could he have *swum* on land? In matching knickers and dark glasses? With his Fountain in a Love-in-Tokyo? In pointy shoes and a puff? Would he have had the imagination?

It is only now, these years later, that Rahel with adult hindsight recognized the sweetness of that gesture. A grown man entertaining three raccoons, treating them like real ladies. Instinctively colluding in the conspiracy of their fiction, taking care not to decimate it with adult carelessness. Or affection. It is after all so easy to shatter a story. To break a chain of thought. To ruin a fragment of a dream being carried around carefully like a piece of porcelain. To let it be, to travel with it, as Velutha did, is much the harder thing to do.

Old. A viable die-able age.

Let's leave one alive so that it can be lonely.

I think many people were surprised by the victory of the Congress, because it was really hard to see beyond the sort of haze of hatred that the Hindu nationalists had been spreading.

corporate globalization is being relentlessly and arbitrarily imposed on an essentially feudal society, tearing through its complex, tiered social fabric, ripping it apart culturally and economically.

Humbling was a nice word, Rahel thought. Humbling along without a care in the world

We're told, often enough, that as a species we are poised on the edge of the abyss. It's possible that our puffed-up, prideful intelligence has outstripped our instinct for survival and the road back to safety has already been washed away. In which case there's nothing much to be done. If there is something to be done, then one thing is for sure: those who created the problem will not be the ones who come up with a solution.

Stable markets, unstable world. Efficiency. Everybody hears about it. It's enough to make you want to be pro-inefficiency and pro-corruption.

As a writer, I've often said that, among the other things that we need to reclaim, other than the obscene wealth of billionaires, is language. Language has been deployed to mean the exact opposite of what it really means when they talk about democracy or freedom.

Poverty is a crime and the poor are terrorists

Look at the Israel-Palestine conflict, for example. If you look at a map from 1947 to now, you'll see that Israel has gobbled up almost all of Palestinian land with its illegal settlements. To talk about justice in that battle, you have to talk about those settlements. But, if you just talk about human rights, then you can say, "Oh, Hamas violates human rights," "Israel violates human rights." Ergo, both are bad.

The UID is a corporate scam which funnels billions of dollars into the IT sector

Because of who I am and what place I have now in India, I'm petitioned all the time to get involved. It's exhausting and very difficult to have to say, 'Look, I'm only one person. I can't do everything.' I know that I don't want to be worn to the bone where I lose my sense of humor.

I know that a world in which countries are stockpiling nuclear weapons and using them in the ways that India and Pakistan and America do to oppress others and to deceive their own people is a dangerous world.

When people stop some film from being shot or burn a book, it's not just that they are saying, this is against Indian culture. They are also saying, you Westernized, elite, English-speaking people are having too much of a good time. It's a very interesting phenomenon.

They all broke the rules. They all crossed into forbidden territory. They all tampered with the laws that lay down who should be loved and how. And how much. The laws that make grandmothers grandmothers, uncles uncles, mothers mothers, cousins cousins, jam jam, and jelly jelly. It was a time when uncles became fathers, mothers lovers, and cousins died and had funerals. It was a time when the unthinkable became thinkable and the impossible really happened.

It was a grand old house, the Ayemenem House, but aloof-looking. As though it had little to do with the people who lived in it. Like an old man with rheumy eyes watching children play, seeing only transience in their shrill elation and their whole-hearted commitment to life.

I stand by what I write and follow through on what I write.

I need fiction like you need to eat or exercise.

I am an artist and a writer, and I do think that one always places oneself in the picture to see where one fits. I left home when I was sixteen and lived in places where it was very easy for me to have fallen the other way. I could have been on the large convoy because I was a woman and I was alone. In India, that's not a joke. I could have ended up very, very badly. I'm lucky that I didn't.

It's very easy for me to begin to believe the publicity about myself, whether for or against. It can give you an absurd idea of yourself. I know that there's a fine balance between accepting your own power with grace and misusing it. And I don't ever want to portray myself as a representative of the voiceless. I'm scared of that.

Your short-term gains are the rest of the world's long-term disasters - for everybody, including yourselves. And, I'm sorry, I've been saying you and the United States or America, when I actually mean the US government. There's a difference. Big one.

A sparrow lay dead on the backseat. She had found her way through a hole in the windscreen, tempted by some seat-sponge for her nest. She never found her way out. No one noticed her panicked car-window appeals. She died on the backseat, with her legs in the air. Like a joke.

Snowden is the thoughtful, courageous saint of liberal reform. And Julian Assange is a sort of radical, feral prophet who has been prowling this wilderness since he was 16 years old.

Pointed in the wrong direction, trapped outside their own history and unable to retrace their steps because their footprints had been swept away.

Margaret Kochamma's tiny, ordered life relinquished itself to this truly baroque bedlam with the quiet gasp of a warm body entering a chilly sea.

Public support in the U.S. for the war against Iraq was founded on a multitiered edifice of falsehood and deceit, coordinated by the U.S. government and faithfully amplified by the corporate media.

The U.S. corporate media, otherwise known as the "free press," is that hollow pillar on which contemporary American democracy rests.

When the United States invaded Iraq, a New York Times/CBS News survey estimated that 42 percent of the American public believed that Saddam Hussein was directly responsible for the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And an ABC news poll said that 55 percent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein directly supported al-Qaeda. None of this opinion is based on evidence (because there isn’t any).

One of the reasons some people get so angry with me is because I have the space now that a lot of others who think like me don't.

We're supposed to forget whatever happened in the past because 9/11 is where history begins. Okay, since 2001, how many wars have been started, how many countries have been destroyed? So now ISIS is the new evil - but how did that evil begin? Is it more evil to do what ISIS is doing, which is to go around massacring people - mainly, but not only, Shi'a - slitting throats? By the way, the US-backed militias are doing similar things, except they don't show beheadings of white folks on TV.

They would grow up grappling with ways of living with what happened. They would try to tell themselves that in terms of geological time it was an insignificant event. Just a blink of the Earth Woman's eye. That Worse Things had happened. That Worse Things kept happening. But they would find no comfort in the thought.

It's so frightening, the nationalism in the air.

In a way, writing is an incredible act of individualism, producing your language, and yet to use it from the heart of a crowd as opposed to as an individual performance is a conflicting thing. I do stand alone, and yet it's not about being an individual or being ambitious.

Some writers like to boil down headlines of liberal newspapers into fiction, so they say there shouldn't be communal riots, everybody should love each other, there shouldn't be boundaries or fundamentalism. But I think literature is more than that; these are political views which most of us hold anyway.

He could do only one thing at a time. If he held her, he couldn't kiss her. If he kissed her, he couldn't see her. If he saw her, he couldn't feel her.

After using the 'good offices' of UN diplomacy (economic sanctions and weapons inspections) to ensure that Iraq was brought to its knees, its people starved, half a million of its children killed, its infrastructure severely damaged, after making sure that most of its weapons have been destroyed, in an act of cowardice that must surely be unrivalled in history, the 'Allies' / 'Coalition of the Willing' (better known as the Coalition of the Bullied and Bought) - sent in an invading army!

They looked at each other. They weren't thinking anymore. The time for that had come and gone. Smashed smiles lay ahead of them. But that would be later. Lay Ter.

His gratitude widened his smile and bent his back.

Here they learned to Wait. To Watch. To think thoughts and not voice them.

If you are religious, then remember that this bomb is Man's challenge to God. It's worded quite simply: We have the power to destroy everything that You have created. If you're not religious, then look at it this way. This world of ours is 460,000,000 years old. It could end in an afternoon.

You begin to realize that hypocrisy is not a terrible thing when you see what overt fascism is compared to sort of covert, you know, communal politics which the Congress has never been shy of indulging in.

People say to me, Oh, it's so wonderful that you're writing about real things, and that it's a political thing to do, and I say, look-to be in my position and not say anything is a hell of a political thing. You need to think politically, otherwise you'll be one of these people who says, Oh, this person's saying this and that person's saying that, and I'm confused. And I say, yeah, because you want to be confused.

Some things come with their own punishments. Like bedrooms with built-in cupboards. They would all learn more about punishments soon. That they came in different sizes. That some were so big they were like cupboards with built-in bedrooms. You could spend your whole life in them, wandering through dark shelving.

Three-quarters of India lives on the edge of the market economy. You can't tell them that only those who can afford water can have it.

Because of the caste system, because of the fact that there is no social link between those who make the decisions and those who suffer the decisions, the Indian government just goes ahead and does what it wants. The people also assume that this is their lot, their karma, what was written. It's quite an efficient way of doing things. Therefore, India has a very good reputation in the world as a democracy, as a government that cares, that has just got too much on its hands, whereas, in fact, it's actually creating the problems.

The Indian government has managed to turn the concept of nonviolence on its head. Nonviolent resistance and nonviolent governance. Unlike, say, China or Turkey or Indonesia, India doesn't mow down its people. It doesn't kill people who are refusing to move. It just waits it out. It continues to do what it has to do and ignores the consequences.

As I keep saying, fiction is truth. I think fiction is the truest thing there ever was.

I'm an activist; I have to be angry all the time. That's what we do!

It is curious how sometimes the memory of death lives on for so much longer than the memory of the life that is purloined.

I think that I was quite a grown-up child, and I have been a pretty childish adult.

Flat muscled and honey coloured. Sea secrets in his eyes. A silver raindrop in his ear.

When she listened to songs that she loved on the radio, something stirred inside her. A liquid ache spread under her skin, and she walked out of the world like a witch.

Smells, like music, hold memories. She breathed deep, and bottled it up for posterity.

May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees. Red bananas ripen. Jackfruits burst. Dissolute bluebottles hum vacuously in the fruity air. Then they stun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, fatly baffled in the sun.

Our tragedy today is not just that millions of people who called themselves communist or socialist were physically liquidated in Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, not just that China and Russia, after all that revolution, have become capitalist economies, not just that the working class has been ruined in the United States and its unions dismantled, not just that Greece has been brought to its knees, or that Cuba will soon be assimilated into the free market - it is also that the language of the Left, the discourse of the Left, has been marginalised and is sought to be eradicated.

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