Born 24th November 1961, Arundhati Roy, the best-selling author and Man Booker Prize Winner shows what it means to use words as a sword. After surprising the world with a profound book like ‘The God of small things’, she waited twenty years before coming out with ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.’ Meanwhile, her essays, articles and activism kept her in the hearts and minds of people in India.
Whether it is her letter to jailed Bangladeshi photographer Shahidul Alam ‘The Tide Will turn‘ on Pen International’s ‘Day of Imprisoned Writer’ or her opinion article ‘A perfect day for democracy‘, she forced people to think and see the world with open eyes.
On the occasion of her birthday, here are some of her quotes and excerpts from her book:
“At magic hour, when the sun has gone but the light has not, armies of flying foxes unhinge themselves from the Banyan trees in the old graveyard and drift across the city like smoke. When the bats leave, the crows come home.
Not all the din of their homecoming fills the silence left by the sparrows that have gone missing, and the old white-backed vultures, custodians of the dead for more than a hundred
million years, that have been wiped out. The vultures died of diclofenac poisoning. Diclofenac, cow-aspirin, given to cattle
as a muscle relaxant, to ease pain and increase the production of milk, works – worked – like nerve gas on white-backed vultures. Each chemically relaxed, milk-producing cow or
buffalo that died became poisoned vulture-bait. As cattle turned into better dairy machines, as the city ate more ice cream, butterscotch-crunch, nutty-buddy and chocolatechip, as it drank more mango milkshake, vultures’ necks
began to droop as though they were tired and simply couldn’t stay awake. Silver beads of saliva dripped from their beaks, and one by one they tumbled off their branches, dead.
Not many noticed the passing of the friendly old birds. There was so much else to look forward to.”