Corporate propaganda for globalization in India is adequately represented by the all-singing shit-film Slumdog Millionaire, but the reality of most of India is much more accurately described by the great novelist and activist Arundhati Roy.
The publication of The God of Small Things catapulted Arundhati Roy to instant international fame. It received the 1997 Booker Prize for Fiction and was listed as one of the New York Times Notable Books of the Year for 1997. It reached fourth position on the New York Times Bestsellers list for Independent Fiction. From the beginning, the book was also a commercial success: Roy received half a million pounds as an advance; It was published in May, and the book had been sold to eighteen countries by the end of June.
The God of Small Things received stellar reviews in major American newspapers such as The New York Times (a “dazzling first novel,” “extraordinary,” “at once so morally strenuous and so imaginatively supple”) and the Los Angeles Times (“a novel of poignancy and considerable sweep”), and in Canadian publications such as the Toronto Star (“a lush, magical novel”). By the end of the year, it had become one of the five best books of 1997 by TIME.
Since The God of Small Things Roy has devoted herself mainly to nonfiction and politics, publishing two more collections of essays, as well as working for social causes. She is a spokesperson of the anti-globalization/alter-globalization movement and a vehement critic of neo-imperialism and of the global policies of the United States.
She also criticizes India’s nuclear weapons policies and the approach to industrialization and rapid development as currently being practiced in India, including the Narmada Dam project and the power company Enron’s activities in India.
About the Narmada Dam, a truly monstrous construction which was gradually elevated to a height of 400 feet and displaced hundreds of thousands of villagers along the Narmada River, Ms. Ray wrote…
Big Dams are to a Nation’s ‘Development’ what Nuclear Bombs are to its Military Arsenal. They’re both weapons of mass destruction. They’re both weapons Governments use to control their own people. Both Twentieth Century emblems that mark a point in time when human intelligence has outstripped its own instinct for survival. They’re both malignant indications of civilisation turning upon itself. They represent the severing of the link, not just the link – the understanding – between human beings and the planet they live on. They scramble the intelligence that connects eggs to hens, milk to cows, food to forests, water to rivers, air to life and the earth to human existence.
Official India was so delighted to have its own nuclear weapon that it made Prof. Dr. Abdul Kalam President of India in 2002, while Arundhati Roy was marginalized by Indian media for her opposition.
And even after India had already exploded an actual nuclear weapon at Pokhran, official India still claimed that even their 12 kiloton bomb wasn’t really a “nuclear weapon,” and their nuclear program was intended for peaceful purposes only!