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Arundhati Roy

  • It is curious how sometimes the memory of death lurks on for so much longer than the memory of life that it purloined.

  • The only good thing about nuclear war is that it is the single most egalitarian idea that man has ever had. On the day of reckoning, you will not be asked to present your credentials. The devastation will be indiscriminate.

    • Arundhati Roy,
    • in Frontline, India's National Magazine ()
  • Making bombs will only destroy us. It doesn't matter whether we use them or not. They will destroy us either way.

    • Arundhati Roy,
    • in Frontline, India's National Magazine ()
  • There's no division on my bookshelf between fiction and nonfiction. As far as I'm concerned, fiction is about the truth.

    • Arundhati Roy,
    • in The Ecologist ()
  • Terrorism is the symptom, not the disease.

    • Arundhati Roy,
    • in The Guardian ()
  • The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling — their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them. Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

    • Arundhati Roy,
    • speech to the World Social Forum ()
  • Nationalism of one kind or another was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century.

  • As for justice — I'm told it's on offer too. You can get the best that money can buy.

  • In the 'free' market, free speech has become a commodity like everything else — justice, human rights, drinking water, clean air. It's available only to those who can afford it. And naturally, those who can afford it use free speech to manufacture the kind of product, confect the kind of public opinion, that best suits their purpose. (News they can use.)

  • Every strategy for real social change — land reform, education, public health, the equitable distribution of natural resources ... — has been cleverly, cunningly, and consistently scuttled and rendered ineffectual by those castes and that class of people which has a stranglehold on the political process.

  • ... corporate globalization is being relentlessly and arbitrarily imposed on an essentially feudal society, tearing through its complex, tiered social fabric, ripping it apart culturally and economically.

  • Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and when people boycott the economic outposts of empire that are strung across the globe.

    • Arundhati Roy,
    • speech to American Sociological Association ()
  • Of course, there's an alternative to terrorism: it's called justice.

    • Arundhati Roy,
    • speech to American Sociological Association ()
  • There can be no real peace without justice. And without resistance there will be no justice.

    • Arundhati Roy,
    • Sydney Peace Prize acceptance speech ()
  • The people who created the crisis in the first place will not be the ones that come up with a solution.

    • Arundhati Roy,
    • in The Guardian ()
  • It was raining when Rahel came back to Ayemenem. Slanting silver ropes slammed into loose earth, plowing it up like gunfire.

  • Smells, like music, hold memories. She breathed deep, and bottled it up for posterity.

  • And the air was full of Thoughts and Things to Say. But at times like these, only the Small Things are ever said. Big Things lurk unsaid inside.

  • Change is one thing. Acceptance is another.

  • This was the trouble with families. Like invidious doctors, they knew just where it hurt.

  • ... they broke the Love Laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much.

  • Some things come with their own punishments.

  • ... the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don't deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don't surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover's skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don't. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won't. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn't. And yet you want to know again. That is their mystery and their magic.

  • To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the 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.

  • Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

  • Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people's minds and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.

  • It's odd how those who dismiss the peace movement as utopian don't hesitate to proffer the most absurdly dreamy reasons for going to war: to stamp out terrorism, install democracy, eliminate fascism, and most entertainingly, to 'rid the world of evil-doers.'

Arundhati Roy, Indian writer, political activist


Full name: Suzanna Arundhati Roy.