A Writer’s Place in Politics
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. She gave the Eqbal Ahmad lecture at Hampshire College.
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.” She is the author of the novels The God of Small Things, for which she received the Booker Prize, and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Her book of interviews with David Barsamian is The Checkbook & the Cruise Missile. Her essay books My Seditious Heart and Azadi are both published by Haymarket.