Unique Thinkers United

Arundhati Roy

23/09/2011 14:16

The Indian novelist, activist and a world citizen, Arundhati Roy is known worldwide for her contribution to many issues from environment to women's rights to other social issues. She is renowned for her novel "The God of Small Things" which also won her the Booker Prize. 

Born to a Keralite Syrian Christian mother and a Bengali Hindu father on November 24, 1961, Roy spent her childhood in Aymanam, in Kerala, schooling in Corpus Christi. She left Kerala at the age of 16 to move to Delhi. Here, she had to take-up the life of a homeless, staying in a small hut with a tin roof within the walls of Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla. She made a living of selling empty bottles. From here she then proceeded to study architecture at the Delhi School of Architecture (where she met her first husband, the architect Gerard Da Cunha).

"The God of Small Things" is the only novel written by her. After the success of the book people anticipated about what the author would write next, when she surprised everyone by concentrating on political issues. She started writing about the Narmada Dam project, India's Nuclear Weapons, corrupt power company Enron's activities in India. She has now become a figure-head of the anti-globalization/alter-globalization movement and a vehement critic of neo-imperialism. 

Roy was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in May 2004 for her work in social campaigns and advocacy of non-violence. She was also awarded the Sahitya Akademi award for her collection of essays, 'The Algebra of Infinite Justice' in January 2006, however she declined to accept it.

Apart from a book and political writing, Roy has also written movie scripts. She wrote and starred in "In Which Annie Gives it Those Ones", and wrote the script for Pradip Kishen's Electric Moon. She drew media attention when she spoke out in support of Phoolan Devi who she felt had been exploited by Shekhar Kapur's film Bandit Queen. 

Her strong presence over women issues is usually credited to her upbringing by her mother Mary Roy, the woman whose court case changed the inheritance laws in favour of women. According to her "a feminist is a woman who negotiates herself into a position where she has choices." 

Roy is the first non-expatriate Indian author and also the first Indian woman to have won the Booker prize. 

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