Comfortably Numb

Sheila Kumar's Storehouse

Published on: 10/5/20 6:14 AM

Book review: Azadi by Arundhati Roy

This is more a brief take than a review.

AZADI by Arundhati Roy. Penguin Books.

This one`s a keeper. Roy touches on all the old familiar topics: Kashmir; communal rioting; lynchings including lynchings-by-TV; the manipulation of the populace for electoral gains; rape and other attacks on the weak, the marginalised, the ghettoised; the less than ideal situation  of having strongmen as leaders of countries comprising chaotically different states; how virile national pride has more to do with hate than love; how Hindi is unable to score a straight- up linguistic victory because its enemies are dead poets who have  a habit of refusing to really die;  how the list of anti-nationals has become so long, there`s a good chance that it might soon overtake the list of patriots;  the art of compiling a national register of citizens.

And,most chillingly, how for the sake of credibility and good manners, we groom the creature that has sunk its teeth into us—we comb out its hair and wipe its dripping jaw to make it more personable in polite company.

Roy stresses the need to treat the current pandemic as a portal to another,  better world. As to that last hope, all this reader can say is: if only.







Arundhati RoyAzadibook reviewpolitical essays

Sheila Kumar • October 5, 2020

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