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.
HappinessIf 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?
HappinessI do believe that fundamental to any real hope is that we do need to reconstitute what has been generally handed out as the recipe for "happiness" for the human race, and what has generally been decided counts as "progress." People arrive at a different understanding of happiness, however fragile it is. They find it in unexpected ways, in the most unexpected of places.
FearImpelled by feelings that were primal yet paradoxically wholly impersonal. Feelings of contempt born of inchoate, unacknowledged fear--civilization's fear of nature, men's fear of women, power's fear of powerlessness. Man's subliminal urge to destroy what he could neither subdue nor deify.
FearHe folded his fear into a perfect rose. He held it out in the palm of his hand. She took it from him and put it in her hair.
ArtUse your art to fight.
BeautyAs she watched him she understood the quality of his beauty. How his labor had shaped him. How the wood he fashioned had fashioned him. Each plank he planed, each nail he drove, each thing he made molded him. Had left its stamp on him. Had given him his strength, his supple grace.
BeautyWhen I'm outside the cities I do feel optimistic. There is such grandeur in India and so much beauty.
WarWars are never fought for altruistic reasons. They're usually fought for hegemony, for business. And then of course there's the business of war.
WarThe 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.
WarPublic 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.
WarIt's being made out that the whole point of the war was to topple the Taliban regime and liberate Afghan women from their burqas, we are being asked to believe that the U.S. marines are actually on a feminist mission.
WarTalk loud enough about human rights and it gives the impression of democracy at work, justice at work. There was a time when the United States waged war to topple democracies, because back then democracy was a threat to the Free Market. Countries were nationalising their resources, protecting their markets.... So then, real democracies were being toppled. They were toppled in Iran, they were toppled all across Latin America, Chile.
WarThe war in Afghanistan was fought for feminist reasons, and the Marines were really on this feminist mission. But today, all the women in all these countries have been driven back into medieval situations. Women who were liberated, women who were doctors and lawyers and poets and writers and - you know, pushed back into this Shia set against Sunnis. The U.S. is supporting al-Qaeda militias all over this region and pretending that it's fighting Islam. So we are in a situation that is psychopathic.
WarI think it was 50 million people across the world who marched against the war in Iraq. It was perhaps the biggest display of public morality in the world - you know, I mean, before the war happened. Before the war happened, everybody knew that they were being fed lies.
WarNothing mattered much. Nothing much mattered. And the less it mattered the less it mattered. It was never important enough. Because Worse Things had happened. In the country that she came from poised forever between the terror of war and the horror of peace Worse Things kept happening
WarIraq was only the latest in a succession of countries. Earlier, there was Cuba, Nicaragua, Libya, Granada, Panama. But this time it wasn't just your ordinary brand of friendly neighborhood frenzy. It was frenzy with a purpose. It ushered in an old doctrine in a new bottle: the doctrine of preemptive strike, also known as the United States can do whatever the hell it wants, and that's official. The war against Iraq has been fought and won, and no weapons of mass destruction have been found, not even a little one.
WarThere is a war that makes us adore our conquerors and despise ourselves.
WarAnd when we look in through the windows, all we see are shadows. And when we try and listen, all we hear is a whispering. And we cannot understand the whispering, because our minds have been invaded by a war. A war that we have both won and lost. The very worst sort of war. A war that captures dreams and re-dreams them. A war that has made us adore our conquerors and despise ourselves.
WarThe trouble is that once America goes off to war, it can't very well return without having fought one. If it doesn't find its enemy, for the sake of the enraged folks back home, it will have to manufacture one. Once war begins, it will develop a momentum, a logic and a justification of its own, and we'll lose sight of why it's being fought in the first place.
WarMao said he was prepared to have millions of Chinese people perish in a nuclear war as long as China survived... I'm beginning to find it more and more sick that only humans make it into our calculations... Annihilate life on earth, but save the nation... what's the subject heading? Stupidity or Insanity?
WarEver since the Great Depression, we know that one of the key ways in which the US economy has stimulated growth is by manufacturing weapons and exporting war to other countries.
WarThe invasion of Iraq will surely go down in history as one of the most cowardly wars ever fought. It was a war in which a band of rich nations, armed with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world several times over, rounded on a poor nation, falsely accused it of having nuclear weapons, used the United Nations to force it to disarm, then invaded it, occupied it, and are now in the process of selling it.
WarIn 2001, we were told that the war in Afghanistan was a feminist mission. The marines were liberating Afghan women from the Taliban. Can you really bomb feminism into a country? And now, after 25 years of brutal war - 10 years against the Soviet occupation, 15 years of US occupation - the Taliban is riding back to Kabul and will soon be back to doing business with the United States.
WarI'm not ambitious. I don't want to get anywhere, I don't want anything more. I sometimes think that for me that is the real freedom, that I don't want anything. I don't want money or prizes. I want people to know that a war is going to be fought.
DivorceWomanMenI am a woman who is a granddaughter of a lady who used to be beaten on the head by her husband, of a mother who went through hell because she was divorced and had to bring up these kids. And I can take 10 men out to lunch and pay the bill, and nobody even thinks twice about it. So don’t mess with me.
LoveThe 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.
LoveThat's what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.
LoveTo 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.
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.
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.