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Bookended by her two award-winning novels, The God of Small Things (1997) and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017), My Seditious Heart collects the work of a two-decade period when Arundhati Roy devoted herself to the political essay as a way of opening up space for justice, rights, and freedoms in an increasingly hostile world. Taken together, the essays speak in a voi Bookended by her two award-winning novels, The God of Small Things (1997) and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017), My Seditious Heart collects the work of a two-decade period when Arundhati Roy devoted herself to the political essay as a way of opening up space for justice, rights, and freedoms in an increasingly hostile world. Taken together, the essays speak in a voice of unique spirit, marked by compassion, clarity, and courage. Radical and superbly readable, they speak always in defense of the collective, of the individual and of the land, in the face of the destructive logic of financial, social, religious, military, and governmental elites.


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Bookended by her two award-winning novels, The God of Small Things (1997) and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017), My Seditious Heart collects the work of a two-decade period when Arundhati Roy devoted herself to the political essay as a way of opening up space for justice, rights, and freedoms in an increasingly hostile world. Taken together, the essays speak in a voi Bookended by her two award-winning novels, The God of Small Things (1997) and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (2017), My Seditious Heart collects the work of a two-decade period when Arundhati Roy devoted herself to the political essay as a way of opening up space for justice, rights, and freedoms in an increasingly hostile world. Taken together, the essays speak in a voice of unique spirit, marked by compassion, clarity, and courage. Radical and superbly readable, they speak always in defense of the collective, of the individual and of the land, in the face of the destructive logic of financial, social, religious, military, and governmental elites.

30 review for My Seditious Heart: Collected Non-fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    The breadth of subjects covered in these pieces is breathtaking; written across the ‘00s and ‘10s, the essays and articles collected here trek about India’s social and political life, considering everything from the rise of Hindu nationalism to the insidious workings of NGOs. Roy’s a sharp thinker, and her work breaks down complex history in a clear way.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    Compilation of Roy’s best nonfiction over 20 years… I’m all caught up! --Well, what can I say. With the best books, I always feel humbled experiencing the mental tapestry crafted over many years by the author, a synthesis of lineages of thoughts culminating in a work of many lifetimes. It is a wondrous moment where we transcend the dimensions of time and our own brief dance with it. --Roy has expressed her joy of writing fiction (which I have not yet read; yes, I do neglect fiction), while she tr Compilation of Roy’s best nonfiction over 20 years… I’m all caught up! --Well, what can I say. With the best books, I always feel humbled experiencing the mental tapestry crafted over many years by the author, a synthesis of lineages of thoughts culminating in a work of many lifetimes. It is a wondrous moment where we transcend the dimensions of time and our own brief dance with it. --Roy has expressed her joy of writing fiction (which I have not yet read; yes, I do neglect fiction), while she treats nonfiction as urgent arguments. These topics are indeed urgent and grim, and yet Roy’s words and wit cut through all obstacles to find the humanity in the struggles. --The title essay “My Seditious Heart” (2016) reviews the rise of Hindu fascism and concludes with the conflicts and resistance in the higher education system, where student activists are building new anti-caste, anti-capitalist alliances inspired by B.R. Ambedkar, Birsa Munda, Jyotirao Govindrao Phule, Bhagat Singh, etc. --I’ve reviewed the rest separately: -1999 The Cost of Living (on India’s nuclear weapons): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... -1999 The Greater Common Good (on India’s mega dam displacements): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... -2002 Power Politics (start of War On Terror): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... -2002 Algebra of Infinite Justice: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... -2003 War Talk: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... -2004 An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... -2009 Field Notes on Democracy (on genocide): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... -2011 Walking with the Comrades (on India’s Maoists): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... -2014 Capitalism A Ghost Story (on India’s corporate jobless growth): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... -2016 The End of Imagination: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... -2017 The Doctor and the Saint (on Gandhi/Ambedkar/India’s independence): https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karthik

    The most amazing fact about the book is that the essays in this book which are said to have been written from 2000s almost project the image of present India. Arundhati Roy is a writer who has been gifted with a rare level of clairvoyance that she has been able to perfectly see it through time. A book every logical indian should read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Meghavarshini Krishnaswamy

    The timing of the release is sobering. Forgotten crises, forgotten people and forgotten policies. A grim reminder.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Farhana

    Oh, to date this is my best book gift and also one of the right kinds that I would actually choose to read! My heart literally leapt for joy at the sight of it 🤗 Somewhere down the line it reminds me of Coldplay's "Trouble in Town" music video featuring Orwell's "Animal Farm". There's this interesting scene on television screen where pig-headed politicians engage in a debate that soon escalates into verbal abuse and physical fight! "And I get no shelter, and I get no peace And I never get released Oh, to date this is my best book gift and also one of the right kinds that I would actually choose to read! My heart literally leapt for joy at the sight of it 🤗 Somewhere down the line it reminds me of Coldplay's "Trouble in Town" music video featuring Orwell's "Animal Farm". There's this interesting scene on television screen where pig-headed politicians engage in a debate that soon escalates into verbal abuse and physical fight! "And I get no shelter, and I get no peace And I never get released" I think every land kinda enforces & sets up its own Animal Farm and every passing year would resemble 1984 more and more either sooner or later. Now, coming back to this book, while reading it I really wanted to draw some parallels in the context of my own country - which took me on a detour of reading about neoliberalism in Bangladesh. So, how does this book feel like and what does Arundhati Roy offer us? There's always this insignificance of self, brutality of life, but if you intend to listen and do not look away, then you may hear the Grasshopper's choir - pulsating, buzzing, hymning with resilience, strength, and full of life's beauty and vulgarity! Arundhati's writing is so full of strength, vitality ~ It's so soulful in the scorching Summer heat, brings you closer to the Earth, humans, and Nature that would immediately help you seek the roots, find, and forge a connection that you might be able to value! 🙂

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kshitij Chaurel

    Arundhati Roy - the writer with guts. This collected nonfiction written between the time period of publication of her two fictions reflects her intellectual and personal growth as a writer and a concerned citizen. On the other hand, this book depicts the transformation of India (the world too) from a form of 'democracy' to aristocracy and fascism. Though she denies to be a voice of the voiceless but her writings and actions provide a ray of hope for Muslims, Adivasi, 'untouchables', women, and o Arundhati Roy - the writer with guts. This collected nonfiction written between the time period of publication of her two fictions reflects her intellectual and personal growth as a writer and a concerned citizen. On the other hand, this book depicts the transformation of India (the world too) from a form of 'democracy' to aristocracy and fascism. Though she denies to be a voice of the voiceless but her writings and actions provide a ray of hope for Muslims, Adivasi, 'untouchables', women, and other minorities. One may disagree with her radical and revolutionary voice but one can't deny the influence of her writing power, dedication towards people and anti establishment standpoint. Her non-fictions contain the poetic language with persuasive power.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    "Civil unrest has begun to erupt in the global village. In countries like Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, and India, the resistance movements against corporate globalization are growing. To contain them, governments are tightening their control. Protesters are being labelled ‘terrorists’ and then being dealt with as such. But civil unrest does not only mean marches and demonstrations and protests against globalization. Unfortunately, it also means a desperate downward spiral into crime and c "Civil unrest has begun to erupt in the global village. In countries like Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, and India, the resistance movements against corporate globalization are growing. To contain them, governments are tightening their control. Protesters are being labelled ‘terrorists’ and then being dealt with as such. But civil unrest does not only mean marches and demonstrations and protests against globalization. Unfortunately, it also means a desperate downward spiral into crime and chaos and all kinds of despair and disillusionment, which, as we know from history (and from what we see unspooling before our eyes), gradually becomes a fertile breeding ground for terrible things – cultural nationalism, religious bigotry, fascism, and of course terrorism." I'd been meaning to read this for ages, but it was so intimidating - more than 1000 pages of political essays, many of them dealing with politics familiar on the subcontinent, but less to me. Then I bought and started on a whim - one essay a day, a month and a half. Some were longer, some were shorter. All combine Roy's transcendent prose with a breathtaking incisiveness. It is however, her prescience that kills. The quote that starts this review is from more than 15 years ago, a time when few could see what is now unavoidable. This very incisiveness makes it tough going. Roy does not shrink from hard truths: "Then there are those fighting formal and brutal neo-colonial occupations in contested territories whose boundaries and fault lines were often arbitrarily drawn last century by the imperialist powers. In Palestine, Tibet, Chechnya, Kashmir, and several states in India’s north-east provinces, people are waging struggles for self-determination. Several of these struggles might have been radical, even revolutionary, when they began, but often the brutality of the repression they face pushes them into conservative, even retrogressive spaces where they use the same violent strategies and the same language of religious and cultural nationalism used by the states they seek to replace."  The longer essays, one of which I had read before, are richest in musing. I devoured the introduction to Ambedkar's work, which discusses Gandhi's relationship with the Dalit leader. It is a balanced look, accepting of nuance, which doesn't stop her probing like: "Gandhi always said that he wanted to live like the poorest of the poor. The question is, can poverty be simulated? Poverty, after all, is not just a question of having no money or no possessions. Poverty is about having no power." Much of it though I found hard. Over the years, few of the causes she advocates for are successful - dams are built, innocent men executed, and the world gets slowly or not so slowly) more dominated by sectoral violence, inequity and prejudice. The bright optimism in her voice gets slightly dulled, joy moves to the act of resistance, to living truth. The outrage never dulls, but a weariness creeps in. Or maybe that is me. There were, of course, bits that made me cry: " Our amazing intelligence seems to have outstripped our instinct for survival. We plunder the earth hoping that accumulating material surplus will make up for the profound, unfathomable thing that we have lost." Here's hoping the next collection has the same transcendent style, with more wins.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ayesha

    Should a book on politics of a country, by a writer who is renowned for her craft, be a balanced, non-judgemental, factual piece instead of it being an opinion piece imbued with all the emotions the author feels? *Shrugs* For better or for worse, this IS a collection of her speeches and essays over a span of two decades, this IS her opinion, this IS a fight she aligns herself with. To call Arundhati a Maoist because she is sympathetic towards a cause, to call her a terrorist because she screams h Should a book on politics of a country, by a writer who is renowned for her craft, be a balanced, non-judgemental, factual piece instead of it being an opinion piece imbued with all the emotions the author feels? *Shrugs* For better or for worse, this IS a collection of her speeches and essays over a span of two decades, this IS her opinion, this IS a fight she aligns herself with. To call Arundhati a Maoist because she is sympathetic towards a cause, to call her a terrorist because she screams her bias (no matter how good or ill-intentioned it is), to term her an anti-national because she sympathises with those the government hasn't sympathised with IS proving her whole point in the book. I kept aside all her personal opinions - her sympathies, her frustrations, her anger YET what stood out was what she has mentioned in the speeches and essays has happened. These are not conjured up scenarios she's writing about. Even as a silent bystander, I can see that the incidents that have shaped recent India aren't in alignment with Democracy as a concept. And that's why it's important to read My Seditious Heart. If you can't hear a different opinion than the one that is ingrained in your conscience, she wins. That's the point she's trying to make. On a different note politics aside, she looks at the world through her artist's glasses. If you truly understand what she's saying you'll know that she isn't trying to speak against someone or for someone. She's simply saying, put people first. Stop the caste/religion/region based atrocities on them. She's saying governments should not be dictatorial (she's included the left and right wing in this). Though idealistic, though having its feet in a mystical world rather than in the real one, she has a point. If you can silence your own objections long enough to listen, she might just make some sense. About the structure of the book - since it's a collection of her work over the years, there's a lot of information that will feel repetitive, but since it was supposed to be an update on the previously spoken /written about issues, it makes sense if you read it as such. That's one part that got tedious for me, otherwise, if you can read with an open mind, I'd suggest you give it a try. If only to counter her.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

    I became uncomfortable with her talk of the evils of Hinduism but considering she grew up as a religious minority and that 79.8% of the population in India is Hindu is it any worse than religious minorities or nonbelievers lambasting Christianity in the US?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Nishanth

    The inimitable Arundhati Roy at her best.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Taruna

    I haven't read all the essays yet. I plan to finish reading them over a longer course of time. I love how Arundhati Roy writes, but these five stars are not only about the writing. I admire her ability to see deeply through the politics that transpires in India, tie it back to a time when it had just started brewing, and consequently envisage a future that the events of the present are bound to bring. The older essays are particularly striking since a lot of what is imagined has occurred all too I haven't read all the essays yet. I plan to finish reading them over a longer course of time. I love how Arundhati Roy writes, but these five stars are not only about the writing. I admire her ability to see deeply through the politics that transpires in India, tie it back to a time when it had just started brewing, and consequently envisage a future that the events of the present are bound to bring. The older essays are particularly striking since a lot of what is imagined has occurred all too bluntly in recent years in India. These essays are educating and revealing, challenging the so-called "saviours" of the country, they fill me up with a wish to delve further into the history of Indian politics. The offered perspective is something I needed in these particular years in my life.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Samir

    A must read for every Indian, who is still an Indian and has not fallen in trap of being a political party loyalist or a leader-worshipper... A must read for every human being who is still human in these times of bigotry... 'My Seditious Heart' is a reminder to introspect every time you find yourself going with the flow of popular single dimensional views, with no appetite to see a problem from all sides... This is a book not to be missed... A must read for every Indian, who is still an Indian and has not fallen in trap of being a political party loyalist or a leader-worshipper... A must read for every human being who is still human in these times of bigotry... 'My Seditious Heart' is a reminder to introspect every time you find yourself going with the flow of popular single dimensional views, with no appetite to see a problem from all sides... This is a book not to be missed...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Keen

    “The American Way of Life is simply not sustainable. Because it doesn’t acknowledge that there is a world beyond America.” Where I find that Roy stands out from so many other contemporary political writes is her talent for clarity and concision on most matters, this allows her message to be so much more compelling and relatable. She is a bold and brave campaigner and activist as well as writer, and hailing from a country where millions of women are too often viewed closer to property and in some “The American Way of Life is simply not sustainable. Because it doesn’t acknowledge that there is a world beyond America.” Where I find that Roy stands out from so many other contemporary political writes is her talent for clarity and concision on most matters, this allows her message to be so much more compelling and relatable. She is a bold and brave campaigner and activist as well as writer, and hailing from a country where millions of women are too often viewed closer to property and in some cases below cattle in the pecking order, her voice is all the more vital. “According to the State, when victims refuse to be victims they become terrorists and are dealt with as such.” Political greed and corruption take up most of Roy’s energy here, but she also gives plenty of air time to Kashmir, Islamophobia and the Dalits and Ambadkar. There were many areas which really drew me in, but one of her more impressive pieces, was surely her tackling the myth and revisionism surrounding Gandhi. “At no point in his political career did he ever seriously criticize or confront an Indian industrialist or the landed aristocracy.” She states and goes to add some other little nuggets such as his belief that Indians should be treated better than the natives when he was living in South Africa. She makes a point of reminding us that he was sponsored by a mill owner too, as well as many other memorable and bizarre quotes which throw-up many questions and contradictions. “Almost unconsciously, we begin to think of justice for the rich and powerful and human rights for the poor.” India is a nation which has more poor people than 26 of Africa’s poorest countries put together and yet it still managed to spend around $2 billion on an election. Something somewhere has clearly gone very wrong. “To produce 1 ton of aluminum, you need about 6 tons of bauxite, more than 1,000 tons of water, and a massive amount of electricity…Last of all-the big question-what is the aluminum for? Where is it going? Aluminum is the principal ingredient in the weapons industry.” She focuses much attention on the Hindu right and the relentless avarice that drives them, the millions of displaced minorities and the oppressive conditions which keep them down, and how so many have to suffer or die in order for the corporations and conglomerates to chase gross profits at any cost, tearing up huge amounts of land and polluting vast areas of it too. “Free Speech has been substituted by the doctrine of Free If You Agree Speech.” At one point when talking about the extremist violence in India, she refers to religion as the lowest common denominator, adding, “Being made to feel proud of something. Not something they have striven for or achieved, not something they can count as a personal accomplishment, but something they just happen to be” “Let’s all suffer forever. Let’s buy expensive guns and explosives to kill each other with. Let the British arms dealers and the American weapons manufacturers grow fat on our spilled blood.” “Come September” builds a great case against US foreign policy and the narcissism of the US She touches upon their troubling support of Israel, which as well as supporting them politically, it also supplies several billions of dollars every year. “When Israel attacks Palestine, it is American missiles that smash through Palestinian homes.” “Why do we tolerate them? Why do we tolerate the men who use nuclear weapons to blackmail the entire human race?” Roy certainly never shies away from telling it like it is, and there are many truly disturbing accounts retold in here, as offensive and barbaric as anything you’ll read from any war or genocide. The sheer inhumanity and horror that so many have inflicted upon their fellow countrymen is terrifying. It is even more disturbing when we realise how often the guilty get away with and profit from them. “Palestine and Kashmir are imperial Britain’s festering blood-drenched gifts to the modern world. Both are fault lines in the raging international conflicts of today.” Criticisms I would level at this collection, would be the occasional repetition of articles, stories or themes which gets annoying, but this tends to be a common problem with anthologies like this. Also if like me, you don’t have a first rate grasp of contemporary Indian politics and most of the main players, parties and sagas and dramas they have been involved in, then this can feel hard to get into in parts. But aside from these two gripes this remains a stand-out collection and illustrates why Roy remains one of the most vital and compelling voices out there today and in her stronger moments she shows flashes of brilliance, cutting wit and a vast intellect. We see many disturbing examples of how India can be one of the most brutal, savage and unforgivable places on earth. One thing is for sure that after reading this you cannot and will not be able to look at India and its politics in quite the same way again. A.A. Gill once wrote that to be born an Italian man was to have won the lottery of life or words to that effect…I wonder what he would say about what it means to be born a woman into the Indian Sub-continent?...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rajdeep

    Wow wow wow wow wow! A thoroughly depressing book about the various social injustices of the past two decades. The depth of evidence she provides in her essays is absolutely astounding and that makes it such a compelling read. Stylistically, her writing is similar to Chomsky, and like Chomsky, she is very clever at putting the pieces together and deducing a pattern from them. Our institutions are severely coerced by major corporations and all this is happening under the cloak of democracy. The 'fr Wow wow wow wow wow! A thoroughly depressing book about the various social injustices of the past two decades. The depth of evidence she provides in her essays is absolutely astounding and that makes it such a compelling read. Stylistically, her writing is similar to Chomsky, and like Chomsky, she is very clever at putting the pieces together and deducing a pattern from them. Our institutions are severely coerced by major corporations and all this is happening under the cloak of democracy. The 'free market' conditions set up by neoliberalism are no different from those in the colonial times. The Indian elite have swooped the positions held by the British imperialists while the poor still remain in the servile state. This has been achieved by design and not by chance. I'm reminded when Chomsky said that Kissinger knows what's up and there is no point barking the truth at him. What we can do is provide evidence to the people so they could see the truth and this book does that brilliantly.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nausheen

    A thorough look, since 1998 and before, at what is happening in India today, how it started, and how it's been supported by the US. "There will not always be spectacular carnage to report on. Fascism is also about the slow, steady infiltration of all the instruments of state power. It's about the slow erosion of civil liberties, about unspectacular day-to-day injustices." A thorough look, since 1998 and before, at what is happening in India today, how it started, and how it's been supported by the US. "There will not always be spectacular carnage to report on. Fascism is also about the slow, steady infiltration of all the instruments of state power. It's about the slow erosion of civil liberties, about unspectacular day-to-day injustices."

  16. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Really opened my eyes to the atrocities governments still commit on people. A troubling book that is best read in small doses.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A vital read. Written with the incisive force of an investigative citizen journalist intimately connected to the groundwork of facts, tangled as they are with the global currents which operate upon them, invisible to most, from the stratosphere. Penned with the urgency of love and despair, and couched in the deconstructing oratorical power of poetry. If your interest is in the politics and ethics of nationalism, globalisation, ecology and its ruination against the false binary of progress, read A vital read. Written with the incisive force of an investigative citizen journalist intimately connected to the groundwork of facts, tangled as they are with the global currents which operate upon them, invisible to most, from the stratosphere. Penned with the urgency of love and despair, and couched in the deconstructing oratorical power of poetry. If your interest is in the politics and ethics of nationalism, globalisation, ecology and its ruination against the false binary of progress, read the entire book. If you have any interest in biographical art in which the lives and stories of people are 'translated' to book or screen, read the last two essays on the film Bandit Queen and the person - Phoolan Devi - whose story it claims to narrate. You may quibble at the repetitions inevitable in a collection of essays which span years and were published individually into different papers and collections for audiences continents apart. Roy herself acknowledges this shortcoming, and explains that a key decision was to leave the works unedited despite the passing decades since their authorship. The original nature of each essay only adds to the sense of necessity of reading them now. Their impact is undiminished. They shock with the alarm of the relevant, not the morbid curiosity of the past.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    Já li os romances, e leio pela primeira vez os artigos, muito por causa de Gandhi. É desassombrada, coloca em causa os pressupostos de um Estado indiano que é, afinal, uma continuação da exploração de recursos colonialista, que tornou normal o sistema desigual das castas. Fez-me lembrar Angela Davis, pois a sua luta de tornar o mundo mais democrático.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Carla Coelho

    Um conjunto de ensaios bem pensados e documentados sobre a vida política e social da Índia nos últimos anos. Com grande coragem, Arundhati Roy, aclamada pelo seu romance O Deus das pequenas coisas, apresenta temas como o percurso político de Gandhi, as propostas de um outro político dele contemporâneo e seu opositor político para acabar com as castas, Ambedkar, os custos políticos, sociais e económicos da manutenção daquelas, o investimento em energia nuclear, o conflito em Caxemira, a resistênc Um conjunto de ensaios bem pensados e documentados sobre a vida política e social da Índia nos últimos anos. Com grande coragem, Arundhati Roy, aclamada pelo seu romance O Deus das pequenas coisas, apresenta temas como o percurso político de Gandhi, as propostas de um outro político dele contemporâneo e seu opositor político para acabar com as castas, Ambedkar, os custos políticos, sociais e económicos da manutenção daquelas, o investimento em energia nuclear, o conflito em Caxemira, a resistência e a violência que perpassa a vida de muitos indianos. São textos que não são sentimentais, mas que não deixam quem os lê indiferente. Roy mostra a sua mestria como escritora e ensaísta, a sua sensibilidade e o seu sentido de justiça. A comparação com Antígona (feita na capa da edição portuguesa) é inteiramente justa. Fala com coragem por aqueles que não têm voz.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Abhishek Singh

    This one is the latest addition in the Arundhati Roy book collection. This book consists of essays of the journey of Arundhati Roy from winning the Booker prize for The God of Small Things to the amazing book The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. This book consists of 20 years of Arundhati Roy. Checkout this article i found online about 10 Best Arundhati Roy Books. https://dailybugle.in/best-arundhati-... This one is the latest addition in the Arundhati Roy book collection. This book consists of essays of the journey of Arundhati Roy from winning the Booker prize for The God of Small Things to the amazing book The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. This book consists of 20 years of Arundhati Roy. Checkout this article i found online about 10 Best Arundhati Roy Books. https://dailybugle.in/best-arundhati-...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anamitra Roy

    Arundhati Roy - Myth and Truth She is fantastic writer. with a great play of words. I learnt a lot, some of the words i learnt from this book are Lebensraum, Paroxysm, Acccretion, prescience, primogeniture, solatium, Incubus etc amongst many. She has a cult following bth for and against in India. I tried to list some of her Images and beliefs and how I view them after reading the book. Myth 1 – Activist for Narmada Dam Andolan. Narmada Dams have displaced around 50 Million people over the past 3 Arundhati Roy - Myth and Truth She is fantastic writer. with a great play of words. I learnt a lot, some of the words i learnt from this book are Lebensraum, Paroxysm, Acccretion, prescience, primogeniture, solatium, Incubus etc amongst many. She has a cult following bth for and against in India. I tried to list some of her Images and beliefs and how I view them after reading the book. Myth 1 – Activist for Narmada Dam Andolan. Narmada Dams have displaced around 50 Million people over the past 30 years. Most have been Adivasis or indigenous tribes, only 1 major historic 800 year old city was submerged. The Dams have not yielded any benefits so far. The Canals have not been built to increase agricultural productivity. Water flow in Narmada has been decreasing. Medha Patekar had been one of the chief activist for this cause, Arundhati roy added to this cause, I feel it was a good cause. Full support to her Myth 2 - activist for Indigenous tribes in Central area. Dandtewad region, what is known as the Maoist zone. The danger area. India’s tribes like Gond, Bhil , Santhaletc. Some of these have ancestry of over 50,000 years. True they do not have any documentation. Their right to land is as strong as ambani’s is over his Antilla. Who will fight for them. The Corporations like Cosco, Adani, Vedanta, Reliance etc all want the minerals. The hills of India is full of them, the forests are rich in minerals. Who owns them, the Govt of India or the Indigenous people of this region. This is an absolutely right Question for all of us to ask. Myth 3 – The Gujrat Massacre of 2000 Muslims by Modi , Amit Shah and BJP party. She believes total injustice has been done to the people of Gujrat, similar massacre has taken place during the anti Sikh riots of 1983 and no accountability. Her sympathy is not misplaced however no mention of the anti Hindu riots in Kashmir and other places does create a striking discord. She seems to be an out an out hindu baiter. Her divorced hindu fathers background does come into play at times. Myth 4 – Untouchability, Mahatma Gandhi and his South African stint and Bhimrao Ambedkar. She has done immense research on both. She brings out how Gandhiji was sympathetic towards caste boundaries, how his South Africa protests were more towards Indian rights as british nationals and upper-class rights rather than an anti-race fight, He was actually anti black africans. This is not projected any where. He was steam rolled by the Birlas for his ashrams, satyagraha’s and anti British movement. She infact calls Gandhi as India’s first “corporate agent” Without the Birla financial support he would not have been able to survive. Then his fight against Ambedkar, how tried to bring about caste equality in india, his fight against the discrimination. His ultimate conversion to Buddhism. The fact that both Gandhi and Ambedkar died a better man, dreams unfulfilled. She brings to light that Mandell , Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luthar kings vision were all destroyed in the end. Myth 5 – Phoolan Devi, how she was humiliated in the movie, the movie by Shekhar Kapoor did grave injustice to her and was far from the truth, it became a trial by media. She deserved to be protected, her rights as a human being and as a woman was gravely violated in this movie. She feels Phoolan Devi was an extraordinary woman. Myth 6 – Support of the Kashmir Extremists. She does create a case for excessive armed suppression of rebellion, not only in Kashmir, but across India, Manipur. Nagaland, Chootanagpur Tribal areas, Dantewada, Naxalites, Christian Missionaries across the tribal belt. Assam Nellie Massacre etc. Her argument is that the strong Indian Army has been used not only against the Indian own people but mostly against non-Hindu population. Her support of the Kashmiris is more highlighted though her support for the others no less. She does not align with Kashmir or Indian position, what she wants to highlight is that Indian armed forces are using excessive weapons and military power, which in the end can never win, Peace is an alternative, and she will probably be neutral if we talk peace. She is not fixated over any specific topic, however she remains committed to her cause to help the weak.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dilip

    this is more like a rant of of a Self declared maoist painting a picture of despair and doom an alien visiting the earth with no prior contact to humans would be made to believe maoists are the pure of heart.luckily for us mere mortals this is a laughing stock.the sole group she can relate to are ..you guessed it right ...maoists the narmada bachao andolan can be understood and there is definitely merit in her stand.but it ends there.her sympathy for terrorists induces vomit below are some of the c this is more like a rant of of a Self declared maoist painting a picture of despair and doom an alien visiting the earth with no prior contact to humans would be made to believe maoists are the pure of heart.luckily for us mere mortals this is a laughing stock.the sole group she can relate to are ..you guessed it right ...maoists the narmada bachao andolan can be understood and there is definitely merit in her stand.but it ends there.her sympathy for terrorists induces vomit below are some of the cringe worthy statements in her magnum opus: Naxals make mistakes are not looked upon for number os people they let go but by ones they kill...hmmm naxals keep dreams alive for all apparently lalu prasad praised for anti hindutva is laughable..same person who stole cattle fodder from the masses godhra massacre is lacking evidence but not the post godhra riots these riots were genocide but kashmiri pandits episode were not a genocide but exodus suicide bombing is act of personal despair...wth many parts of india are not under government control she cherishes iraqi museum loot that happened post saddam 'sz fall is part is part of people acting irresponsible.taliban had destroyed buddha statues in the same fashion......see a connection? Army is made of poor people is her observation she asks out aloud....What needs to be done and answers it herself "terrorism doesn't work.". advocating terrorism eh? electoral democracy has become a process of cynical manipulation people trapped between terrorists and security forces per her.what is the recommendation let terrorists have their way? afzal guru was a pawn per her and was needed to be uncover other details per her..terrorism is part of life? her musings about a dead terrorist while she has condemned a single language initiative i couldn't help laugh a praise of maoists who talks Hindi among themselves as they speak various languages Hindi, Malayalam.etc. arguing for the sake of it and having a different set of principles for her comrades is one thing arundhati is adept at.this book is more like a dictionary of twisted facts for budding maoists!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Hornthesecond

    I feel I've learned a lot from reading this book, although, of course, all from the perspective of a single author. At the start I would probably have been surprised if you'd told me that I would read 860+ pages of essays about the political situation in India since about 2000 and still be interested to read more. I would be especially interested to read an update, by the same author, on the situations and cases documented in the essays. I also wish I'd written down more quotations on the way th I feel I've learned a lot from reading this book, although, of course, all from the perspective of a single author. At the start I would probably have been surprised if you'd told me that I would read 860+ pages of essays about the political situation in India since about 2000 and still be interested to read more. I would be especially interested to read an update, by the same author, on the situations and cases documented in the essays. I also wish I'd written down more quotations on the way through. Both the subject matter covered and the style with which Roy writes were of great interest to me. In places the writing is really quite beautiful even though there didn't seem to be all that much good news in the essays. In other places the criticism of politicians is concise but effective. Humour is sometimes used to excellent effect in criticism. Some of the essays felt a bit like a masterclass in how to present a political argument. The political perspective feels very consistent given the length of time over which the essays were written. Mostly the writing seemed to be documenting and protesting injustices or bad situations - so maybe not a book to read if you're depressed or just low. The essay comparing Dr. Ambedkar and Mohandes Gandhi was particularly interesting. Other highlights for me were the essays about: the threat of nuclear war between India and Pakistan after Indian nuclear tests; time spent in the forest getting to know Maoist rebels; and the attack on the Indian Parliament and the subsequent miscarriage of justice. I think readers who enjoyed Roy's novels and who are curious about India, and particularly Indian politics, should certainly try reading this book. Those with very right-wing political views and/or strong supporters of recent Indian governments might find it a challenging read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ankita

    Well, this is a deceptive book; prima facie, it appears like a never-ending rant about everything the author could spot. However, a closer inspection along with a serious reading reveals that she actually uncovers sinister secrets and untold facts deliberately hidden from the public view. This is not a fun book full of purple prose; the sarcastic and incisive writing betrays the deep resentment of the author and her fury towards a constant and ruthless exploitation of the poor people and that of Well, this is a deceptive book; prima facie, it appears like a never-ending rant about everything the author could spot. However, a closer inspection along with a serious reading reveals that she actually uncovers sinister secrets and untold facts deliberately hidden from the public view. This is not a fun book full of purple prose; the sarcastic and incisive writing betrays the deep resentment of the author and her fury towards a constant and ruthless exploitation of the poor people and that of natural resources by those in power and those funding those in power. It directly attacks governments, left, right and center and the huge MNC cartels hell bent on usurping poor man's land and food. There are many articles about Narmada Andolan, Enron and other issues. 'The Great Indian Rape Trick- I & II' describes the obnoxiousness and selfishness of Bollywood bigwigs when it comes to selling a personal tragedy in the form of a movie. I felt really bad for Phoolan Devi. The author analyzes Shekhar Kapoor's 'Bandit Queen' in a whole new light. My suggestion is that everyone must read this book. It strips all the pleasant lies and shows how ugly the real face of our system has become. Kudos to Ms. Roy for writing such a book with an admirable honestly and bravery! she has always been my fav!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Since these essays weren't originally intended to be read together, this is a little tough to get through. There's so much repetition that it feels like you're reading several rough drafts of each essay before getting to the final one, with a lot of them not just covering the same ideas but even using nearly identical talking points. In some ways that can be kind of interesting, seeing how she makes improvements, evolves over the years or adjusts her talks for different audiences, but it's just Since these essays weren't originally intended to be read together, this is a little tough to get through. There's so much repetition that it feels like you're reading several rough drafts of each essay before getting to the final one, with a lot of them not just covering the same ideas but even using nearly identical talking points. In some ways that can be kind of interesting, seeing how she makes improvements, evolves over the years or adjusts her talks for different audiences, but it's just such a waste of paper for someone who cares so much about saving forests, not to mention the waste of time for those of us who decide to read it. It's really hard for me to overlook that. This is what happens when you're an important writer though. Eventually people want to study you as much as your ideas (when talking about Gandhi she mentioned that he's got 50,000 pages worth of crap to read, a lot of it contradicting itself, which might at least make it less repetitious than this if nothing else). There is still a good 400-500 pages worth of stuff here. Walking with the Comrades is my favorite book of hers and that entire thing is in here (minus the photographs, unfortunately). That alone makes it hard for me to give this a bad rating, and that's not even 25% of it!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jedd Ong

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Beautiful, heartbreaking, uplifting read. Densely packed in equal measure with legalese, government statistics, bureaucratic hems and haws, and unflinching tales of struggle and survival amongst India's indigenous communities, human rights activists, revolutionaries, etc. Not by any means an academic book, nor a definitive "People's History" of India. Perhaps the best way to appreciate this collection of essays is to understand it in terms of the margins — of the plays (re)-enacted by the Naxali Beautiful, heartbreaking, uplifting read. Densely packed in equal measure with legalese, government statistics, bureaucratic hems and haws, and unflinching tales of struggle and survival amongst India's indigenous communities, human rights activists, revolutionaries, etc. Not by any means an academic book, nor a definitive "People's History" of India. Perhaps the best way to appreciate this collection of essays is to understand it in terms of the margins — of the plays (re)-enacted by the Naxalite-affiliated and mining company-afflicted indigenous tribes, of the stories and characters behind the slogans in the Narmada Valley, young comrades sheepishly eating bananas in the shade, eagerly awaiting the appearance of journalists to whom they can share their homes and histories with, Ambedkar's three piece suits. "When I looked back, they were still there. Waving. A little knot. People who live with their dreams, while the rest of the world lives with its nightmares.” (Arundhati Roy, "Walking with the Naxalites").

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cody

    A lyrical and incisive cataloging of progress, oppression, and nationalism, Arundhati Roy has spent the past 25 years tracing the rise of a global fascism cloaked by the "free" market. If only more of us had been listening. So, what is to be done? We can follow Roy's lead, tirelessly bearing witness, gathering evidence, and speaking out. And let's not forget to celebrate the "small" things, for in these local, hand drawn, and often messy and imperfect expressions, interactions, experiences, and A lyrical and incisive cataloging of progress, oppression, and nationalism, Arundhati Roy has spent the past 25 years tracing the rise of a global fascism cloaked by the "free" market. If only more of us had been listening. So, what is to be done? We can follow Roy's lead, tirelessly bearing witness, gathering evidence, and speaking out. And let's not forget to celebrate the "small" things, for in these local, hand drawn, and often messy and imperfect expressions, interactions, experiences, and artifacts are to be found true meaning, wonder, and freedom. At a time when opportunism is everything, when hope seems lost, when everything boils down to a cynical business deal, we must find the courage to dream. To reclaim romance. The romance of believing in justice, in freedom, and in dignity. For everybody.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eric Rickert

    The clarity, the gravity, the studiousness, and the holism of Roy's writing is staggering. Every essay in this book is so sobering, and yet the sentence by sentence assemblage is almost effervescent. Here's a surmised gem from the most well-known (IMO) essay: "The only dream worth having: to dream that you will live while you’re alive and die only when you’re dead. To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of li The clarity, the gravity, the studiousness, and the holism of Roy's writing is staggering. Every essay in this book is so sobering, and yet the sentence by sentence assemblage is almost effervescent. Here's a surmised gem from the most well-known (IMO) essay: "The only dream worth having: to dream that you will live while you’re alive and die only when you’re dead. To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and 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."

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marisa Martins

    Obra de não ficção, este livro reúne seis textos maravilhosos de Arundhati. Não é uma leitura fácil e os assuntos oscilam entre o sistema de castas na Índia e as injustiças inerentes, assim como palavras e ações de pessoas que as condenam, a construção de barragens e como estas afectam não só a população, mas também a floresta e o ambiente como um todo, a guerra nuclear e o medir de forças dos países, os ataques de ‪11 de Setembro‬ e a mania de superioridade dos americanos, etc. Um livro cheio de Obra de não ficção, este livro reúne seis textos maravilhosos de Arundhati. Não é uma leitura fácil e os assuntos oscilam entre o sistema de castas na Índia e as injustiças inerentes, assim como palavras e ações de pessoas que as condenam, a construção de barragens e como estas afectam não só a população, mas também a floresta e o ambiente como um todo, a guerra nuclear e o medir de forças dos países, os ataques de ‪11 de Setembro‬ e a mania de superioridade dos americanos, etc. Um livro cheio de informação, de reflexão e de muitas referências, em forma de livros ou artigos on-line a seguir (estão todas no final do livro o que acaba por complicar um bocado mais a leitura).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rashmikanta mantry

    Finally finished this mammoth book after a long time. This book is worth the time and effort. It made me think about a lot of things that I take for granted as a Hindu upper caste financially well backgrounded male in Indian society. It enabled me to look at things in a different way or I say it helped me to break my bubble a little bit. Recommended to everyone.

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