I can’t pretend to be an expert in Arundhati Roy. Or to be widely read in her work. I’m struggling to read her novels, The God of Small Things and The Ministry of Happiness. But there’s something about her political writings and her presence in interviews that I find compelling, provocative, and transformative.
Azadi is a collection of her most recent political writings mostly about India but not exclusively. “And what of my country, my poor-rich country, India,” she writes in the essay ‘The Pandemic is a Portal’, “suspended somewhere between feudalism and religious fundamentalism, caste and capitalism, ruled by far-right Hindu nationalists?”
Indeed, what of India a fascinating but terrifying country that Roy writes so profoundly about.
We can choose to walk through it [the pandemic portal], dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.