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A Writer's Place in Politics

Program #ROYA001. Recorded in Amherst, MA on February 15, 2001.

Enron is the Houston-based energy corporation that has had the biggest meltdown in U.S. history. Its takeover of part of India's energy sector created a scandal. Allegations of improprieties abound. India, with its burgeoning population of 1 billion, is an epicenter of opposition to U.S.-led globalization. When it comes to international commerce the U.S. plays hardball. One of its trade officials threatened to break open India's markets with a crowbar if it did not accede to American demands. Indians have been through this before with the East India Company and British colonization. The sahibs, with their laptops, cell phones and power plays, are back. In India and elsewhere, the question arises about what role writers should play in society. Are they merely disengaged artists? Some, like Thoreau, Orwell, Camus and Neruda felt the need to be politically active. Arundhati Roy is in that tradition.

Speaker(s):

Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy is a world-renowned writer and global justice activist. The New York Times calls her, "India's most impassioned critic of globalization and American influence." Among her many honors are the Lannan Foundation's Cultural Freedom Award and the Sydney Peace Prize. She is the author of many books including The God of Small Things, The Checkbook & the Cruise Missile, Field Notes on Democracy, Walking with the Comrades and Capitalism A Ghost Story. Her introductory essay to B.R. Ambedkar's Annihilation of Caste is "The Doctor and the Saint."

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