On Arundhati Roy, from the writer of Love’s Garden….
It was a while ago. I was just starting to write my novel, Love’s Garden. In 2004, two years after the Godhra, Gujarat Massacre.
She’s written so much more since then. So beautifully, defiantly, forcefully.
And recently I’ve been teaching, reading and thinking about another phenomenal Indian writer’s work: Megha Majumdar’s A Burning. That’s how I came again upon this talk Roy gave in 2004, at Aligarh Muslim University.
I’m sharing it. Because every word in it is true and every concern has become more critical in India today. Megha Majumdar’s A Burning is further proof of that if any were needed. For instance, Roy wrote two years after the genocidal massacre of Muslims in Godhra, Gujarat: “The targets of the dual assault of communal fascism and neo-liberalism are the poor and the minority communities (who, as time goes by are gradually being impoverished.) As neoliberalism drives its wedge between the rich and the poor, between India Shining and India, it becomes increasingly absurd for any mainstream political party to pretend to represent the interests of both the rich and the poor, because the interests of one can only be represented at the cost of the other.”
Sounds familiar? Sounds true? Like what she says in the video below?
Yesterday I invited you to read and review my debut novel Love’s Garden for free on NetGalley at
Life is nothing but a Story of Journeys. And Stories are Journeys in visiting Lives like ours and not like ours. Understand — in Megha Majumdar’s A Burning the choice of ‘pidgin’ as the denigrated register in which English is spoken, thought and dreamed among the poor and the dispossessed in India is not cutesy ‘verisimilitude.’ Rather, it’s a weapon called language — that arises from chasms of despair we often skirt in our stories, journeys and lives — aimed at obscene sign-boards that say “India is Shining.”