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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Friday's Connector: Arundhati Roy

May 18th, 2010
02:14 PM ET

When "The God of Small Things" first hit bookshelves in 1997, Indian born author Arundhati Roy was instantly catapulted to global fame.

Arundhati Roy is your Connector of the Day.

Arundhati Roy is your Connector of the Day.

Her debut novel shot up the "New York Times" bestsellers list and snapped up the coveted Booker Prize for Fiction.

Roy was no stranger to success -– she’d already won a National Film Award for Best Screenplay - but even she was shocked at the amount of international attention.

Roy has continued to hold the spotlight thanks to tireless political activism on issues as far-ranging as India’s nuclear weapons, Enron and the war on terror.

Her efforts were finally recognized in 2004 when she was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize.

Roy’s not afraid to speak her mind about the social causes close to her heart, even if it means getting criticized in the process or even being sent to jail.

Currently, Roy has a new book of essays out called "Field Notes on Democracy".

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Prashanth Rao

    Do you sometimes doubt your stand? If so, what is the other angle of your thoughts?

    I am writing from NY.

    May 18, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  2. Jurgen R. Brul

    Hello Suzanna Arundhati Roy and CNN friends,

    I would like an answer from Suzanna Arundhati Roy to the following questions:
    – In what way has the Sydney Peace Prize change your life as Indian author?
    – How will “The God of Small Things” really connect India and Pakistan just as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Hindi: मोहनदास करमचंद गाँधी, Gujarati: મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી) also known as Mahatma Gandhi (Sanskrit: महात्मा) would wanted it to be?
    – What needs to be done to really Stop Terrorists, Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass destruction Worldwide?
    – How has the famous Indian writer Mallanaga Vātsyāyana, also a well know Indian author of the Kama Sutra, inspired you to fight for Peace Worldwide?
    – What can we expect from you in 2010?
    – How are you inspiring people all over the world to make our world a Better Healthier and Beautiful Place?

    I am awaiting Suzanna Arundhati Roy’s replies.

    Jurgen R. Brul
    Hometown: Paramaribo
    Country: Suriname

    May 18, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Reply
  3. Donald Veach Cambridge Massachusetts


    I met you in Cambridge after your talk at Harvard and did not think to ask the following. I realize that you are "your own moible republic" as you say, however as I said to you have done so much for so many, There is so much work to be done. Could you not associate yourself with some institution such as the United Nations and set your self to the task of improving it? Again, I thank you for all that you have done.

    May 19, 2010 at 11:00 am | Reply
  4. arvind nath pathak

    hi ms rai,i belive in equitable opportunity to utilize earth and it's resources by homosapiens and other species of flora fauna.the only animal who kills not for hunger is we the humans,just 200and 500 plus yrs ago australia and usa were colonized.when goods fm south east asia can enter why not burgeoning population of it.norhwestern hemisphere with good water resources and resultant prosperity is occupied and zealously guarded by colonizers.world order needs 2change to deal with challenge of21cen.

    May 19, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  5. Ahmad K

    when can we expect another novel?

    May 19, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  6. Ali

    Enjoyed reading your recent essay on the Maoists in India. You call them "Gandhians with guns" – How do you think they reconcile Gandhian ideology with extreme violence?

    May 19, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  7. Kay


    "The God of Small Things" was some of your earliest fiction, and a massive success. How did you react to that international acclaim?

    Do you think "the small things" in life can have the biggest impact?

    Your are an Indian author writing in English, and this has become increasingly the norm - where do you stand on Indian authors writing in their local languages?

    Cambridge, England

    May 19, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  8. Kuldeep Singh Chandi

    What are your views on the Naxal problem?
    You have professed your support for the Maoists in the past. Do you still hold the State responsible for the conflict or are your sympathies wavering (in light of the recent attacks against CRPF and Civilians)?
    Finally if you were asked to devise a solution, what would it be?

    May 19, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  9. Dan Freeman

    Ms. Roy

    I have been a fan for years now. Not only of your writings but your activities as well. I wanted to ask if you would be appearing in America any time soon. Is there a website where I may find out when and where you will be appearing? I really appreciate your actions and struggles for humanity. May you have a long and prosperous life.


    Dan Freeman
    South Carolina

    May 19, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  10. kanchan mirchandani idnani


    Whats' your next book going to be about? As topical as The God of Small things?
    As that is the expected norm now....
    Huge Fan
    St.Thomas, U.S.V.I

    May 19, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  11. Ruwani Kumarasinghe

    I just loved God of Small Things... It spoke to me like no other work of fiction. I tasted, smelt, lived every moment of your story. It's one of those books I cannot help re-reading. Should I get my hopes up and expect to see it on the big screen? 🙂
    CT, USA

    May 19, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  12. Faten

    Hi Arundhati,
    Would you consider visiting Pakistan?
    Epsom, England

    May 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  13. MR piush patel

    Do you have any favourite charity in India and if so what is your contrbution to it?I am in the U.K.

    May 19, 2010 at 2:53 pm | Reply
  14. G. Venkatesh

    Dear Ms. Arundhati Roy,

    I read your essay 'Gandhians with Guns' in the 'Outlook' Magazine. In fact, I have read almost every word and every essay written by you over the years, including your novel 'God of Small things'.

    I have great respect for you for being a very talented, lyrical and courageous writer and an ardent supporter of the poor and the downtrodden.

    I felt thankful to read your essay 'Gandhians with Guns', for enabling me to be educated about the sufferings of the lonely and lost tribals in the neglected regions of India.

    But as an individual of good conscience, would you kindly intervene to end the bloodshed and killing of the innocents, ( tribals and security forces) on both sides of the divide. Can you please mediate courageously (for which you are famed) for a non-violent and bloodless resolution of this insurmountably grave social and economic problem.

    Your ardent readers and principled admirers the world over have great expectations from you in this regard and you can use your national and international standing and credibility as a courageous writer of conscience and campaigner for universal justice, to find an amicable and peaceful solution to this burning issue of much needed social and economic justice.

    My question to you is, will you initiate a personal peaceful mediation, to stop the violence emnating from both the sides to the issue?

    I am writing from Doha, Qatar.

    May 19, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Reply
  15. Susan

    Arundhati, everything you wrote about in your book "War Talks" prior to the war came true and your essay delivered in the basement of a New York church a few years ago was fantastic. The God of Small Things was extremely touching and informative. So, I am looking forward to your next book. I believe Chomsky is 84, so it is wonderful that the 'torch' will be carried.

    May 19, 2010 at 3:24 pm | Reply
  16. Rajesh

    Dear Arundhati,

    First, you have made us proud, both as Indians and as human beings. Keep it up.

    Second, I have seen your stance on Kashmir, what India should do with Kashmir and feel that you have not been informed well about Kashmir. That is not the question I want to ask you.

    The question is aligned to above which is have you used your platform and stature in highlighting how Kashmiri Pandits became migrants in their own country, their rights, health of women, culture, etc...the main themes which you use to often for many other topics. For a minute if you forget whom does Kashmir go to finally, there are 500,000 Kashmiri Pandits who have lost their homes and roots. When CNN, BBC etc can raise it, why didn't you ever raise it? Or is it not something which gives publicity?

    Keep doing what you are doing and maybe it will help some people who need help. God Bless

    Best regards,

    May 19, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  17. Keira

    Hello & hola to all,

    I'd like to know what is the smallest thing that has had the biggest impact on your life?

    Thanks much!


    May 19, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  18. Thara Junaid

    Dear Arundhati,

    I would like to thank you for bringing such an amazing book into our lives. It inspired so many of us, on so many levels. Thank you.
    The word Naley is forever in my thoughts. And it is such a good word to have swimming about.

    Thank you also for the phrase 'shuffle the rubble.' You have summed up so many issues, wars, 'righteous causes' with those three words. I am re-reading the article 'The algebra of infinite justice' all over again.

    With many many thanks,

    May 20, 2010 at 3:39 am | Reply
  19. Krishna Kumar

    Dear Ms. Roy:

    Despite many problems and issues that remain, don't you think India's economic liberalization in the 1990s and its integration with the global economy has improved the conditions of India's poor and lifted millions out of poverty? Fifty years of socialism did little for India's grinding poverty. Given this, isn't it a bit hypocritical and irresponsible of many Indian social activists, often highly educated and sometimes in the West, who enjoy a metropolitan lifestyle or have the option of one, to perpetuate the myth and romanticism of rural Indian life thereby relegating millions to continuing poverty?

    Thank you.

    Krishna Kumar

    May 20, 2010 at 6:15 am | Reply
  20. Praveen Nigam

    Ms Arundhati
    You sympathize greatly with the naxalites, owing to the fact that they picked up guns to fight the police atrocities.But do you think those tribal are now being wielded by outer enemies of the country and that their struggle aims no more at attaining justice but to spread terror in the country, as the sophisticated weapons they use, hard for tribals to acquire, hints towards this.

    May 20, 2010 at 6:28 am | Reply
  21. Praveen Nigam

    Ms Arundhati
    You sympathize greatly with the naxalites, owing to the fact that they picked up guns to fight the police atrocities.But do you think those tribal are now being wielded by outer enemies of the country and that their struggle aims no more at attaining justice but to spread terror in the country, as the sophisticated weapons they use, hard for tribals to acquire, hints towards this.

    Thank You

    Praveen Nigam

    May 20, 2010 at 6:29 am | Reply
  22. Nitin Chaudhary

    Why did you not write any other story after The God of small Things. Did you run out of stories or were you worried of failing in the second attempt?

    Malmo, Sweden

    May 20, 2010 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  23. Idrees

    Ms Arundhati – you are a glowing beacon not just in this part of the world but internationally, and not just for your gender but all right thinking persons. You are considered goddess of big things. Now, your works are essentially humanistic and challenging the existing national structures in some important ways. Why not raise an international forum of writers/intellectuals to provide a guide map into the future along with fighting the causes impacting adversely on peace. Best wishes for your efforts and commending you in the care of One who helps the good to succeed.

    May 21, 2010 at 7:20 am | Reply

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