Written by Umang Saini
RoarkSome quotes taken from NYTimes profile of Arundhati Roy - Not-so-Reluctant Renegade -
"In an essay titled, “The End of Imagination,” Roy accused supporters of the tests of reveling in displays of military power — embracing the jingoism that had brought the B.J.P. to power for only the second time since independence — instead of addressing the abysmal conditions in which a majority of Indians lived."
"In 2010, after a series of massive protests during which teenage boys faced off against soldiers, Roy publicly remarked that “Kashmir was never an integral part of India.” In suggesting that the state of India was a mere construct, a product of partition like Pakistan, she had crossed a line. Most progressives in India haven’t gone that far."
"Roy was born Suzanna Arundhati Roy in 1959 in Shillong, a small hill town in the northeastern fringes of India. Her mother, Mary, was from a close-knit community of Syrian Christians in Kerala. Her father, Rajib, was a Bengali Hindu from Calcutta, a manager of a tea plantation near Shillong and an alcoholic."
"Roy chose architecture because it would allow her to start earning money in her second year, but also out of idealism. In Kerala, she met the British-born Indian architect Laurie Baker, known for his sustainable, low-cost buildings, and was taken with the idea of doing similar work. But she soon realized she wouldn’t learn about such things at school. “They just wanted you to be like a contractor,”.
For her final project, Roy refused to design a building and instead wrote a thesis, “Postcolonial Urban Development in Delhi.” “I said: ‘Now I want to tell you what I’ve learned here. I don’t want you to tell me what I’ve learned here.’ "
"Roy’s essay on the film, “The Great Indian Rape Trick,” published in the now-defunct Sunday magazine, eviscerated the makers of “Bandit Queen,” pointing out that they never even bothered to meet Phoolan Devi or to invite her to a screening."
"Once in Srinagar, the capital, Roy was stopped often by Kashmiris who wanted to thank her for speaking up against the Indian state. They also hoped she would agree to have her picture taken with them. She usually did."
Roy began by asking audience members to discuss what was on their minds. A young lawyer who grew up in a village about 30 miles from Srinagar told a story of two women, who, after being raped by soldiers, spent the night shivering in separate bathing cabins, too ashamed to go home, hearing only each other’s weeping.
“The slogan that cut through me like a knife,” she read in a quiet, clear voice, “was this one: Nanga bhooka Hindustan, jaan se pyaara Pakistan” — India is a naked, starving country; Pakistan is more precious to us than life itself. “In that slogan,” she said, “I saw the seeds of how easily victims can become perpetrators.”
"In 2002, when Roy received a Lannan Foundation award, she donated the $350,000 prize money to 50 small organizations around India. Finally, in 2006, she and her friends set up a trust into which she began putting all her nonfiction earnings to support progressive causes around the country. "
Here's one of her recent interview -