Writer Arundhati Roy has been in the limelight since her debut novel The God of Small Things won the Booker Prize in 1997. But the critically-acclaimed book remains, to date, her only novel.
All of Ms. Roy’s writing since then has focused on political issues — from the Maoist movement to capitalism. The author, however, is now working on her second novel.
“I have been working on it for some time now. I keep getting diverted,” she says. “But I’m working on something else as well and that is coming up soon,” she says mysteriously.
Ms. Roy was in the city to attend the book release of the Malayalam translations of two of her books — The Broken Republic and The Shape of the Beast — at the DC Books International Book Fair here. Both books discuss the pervasive power of large multi-national corporations. Ms. Roy had come under severe fire for her stand against mining corporations in Chhattisgarh. “The mining companies also own media houses. It’s very hard to have a discussion about some of these issues. The whole paradigm of discussion is owned by corporations. The terms of the debate are set by them,” she says.
Government-corporate nexus exposed
However, she says that the events of the last few years, like the Niira Radia tapes and the Snowden leaks, have demonstrated the nexus between corporates, governments, and the media the world over. “One thing has changed for the better because of these things. At one time, it seemed as though only lunatics talked about it. A few years ago, when I spoke about the connection between forest mining and land grabbing, people looked at me like I was crazy. But now we’ve seen what happened,” she says.
With the parliamentary elections coming up soon, Ms. Roy believes that the corporate houses are trying to influence the polls too. “The corporates are backing whoever seems the most militaristic and aggressive, which at the moment is Narendra Modi. I’ve been asked many times what I would feel if Modi were to become the Prime Minister. But I say that the tragedy has already happened. The tragedy is that such a man was nominated to become the Prime Minister,” she says.