Arundhati Roy quotes

  • That's what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Love You #People #Littles

  • From being a dream, dams have become a very cynical corrupt enterprise; a way of letting governments lay their hands on huge sums of money; a way of centralizing resources; a way of snatching rivers away from the poor and giving them to the rich. And so in a sense they've become monuments to corruption.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Letting Go #Dream #Government

  • To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Life #Romantic #Lost Love

  • People who promote the free market and growth are far more romantic, and far more ideologically driven and blinded by their vision than somebody who goes in and comments about the beauty of a forest or the stars in the sky.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Stars #Sky #People

  • He folded his fear into a perfect rose. He held it out in the palm of his hand. She took it from him and put it in her hair.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Hair #Hands #Perfect

  • My writing is translated into every Indian language, it's distributed in pamphlets, in little private video things, it's everywhere. So it's a lovely pastime for the middle class to think of itself as the whole nation.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Writing #Thinking #Class

  • There's really no such thing as the 'voiceless'. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Feminist #Voiceless #Unheard

  • I feel ashamed that the new, nuclear, neo-liberal India thinks of itself as a 'natural ally' of Israel. Ever since India began to call itself an emerging superpower, it has become a slavish, groveling satellite state of the US.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Thinking #Israel #Allies

  • Colorful demonstrations and weekend marches are vital but alone are not powerful enough to stop wars. Wars will be stopped only when soldiers refuse to fight, when workers refuse to load weapons onto ships and aircraft, when people boycott the economic outposts of Empire that are strung across the globe.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Powerful #War #Fighting

  • In a country like India, the British were only able to rule the country because it had completely co-opted the elite of the country, who did their work for them.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Country #India #Able

  • Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Faith #Optimistic #Breathing

  • The genocide will not necessarily take the form of war, or death camps. Most likely it will take the form of ecocide, in which landscapes are devastated and the populations that live there slowly starve or turn upon each other savagely because there isn't enough food or water to go around.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #War #Water #Population

  • Capitalism’s real “grave-diggers” may end up being its own delusional Cardinals, who have turned ideology into faith. Despite their strategic brilliance, they seem to have trouble grasping a simple fact: Capitalism is destroying the planet. The two old tricks that dug it out of past crises-War and Shopping-simply will not work.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Real #War #Past

  • India lives in several centuries at the same time. Every night outside my house I pass a road gang of emaciated laborers digging a trench to lay fiber optic cables to speed up digital revolution. They work by the light of a few candles.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Night #Light #House

  • The only thing worth globalizing is dissent.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Dissent

  • I can't be a part of the large convoy because it's not a choice that you can make. The fact that I'm an educated person means that I can't be on that convoy. I don't want to be on it. I don't want to be a victim. I don't want to disappear into the darkness.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Mean #Choices #Darkness

  • The mullahs of the Islamic world and the mullahs of the Hindu world and the mullahs of the Christian world are all on the same side. And we are against them all.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Christian #Islamic #World

  • I am an artist and a writer, and I do think that one always places oneself in the picture to see where one fits.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Artist #Thinking #Fit

  • It's odd how those who dismiss the peace movement as utopian, don't hesitate to proffer the most absurdly dreamy reasons for going to war: to stamp out terrorism, install democracy, eliminate fascism, and most entertainingly, to "rid the world of evil-doers.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Peace #War #Evil

  • Dams are the temples of secular India and almost worshipped. They are huge, wet cement flags that wave in our minds. They're the symbol of nationalism to many.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Mind #India #Flags

  • If you're happy in a dream, does that count?
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Dream #Doe

  • As a woman who grew up in a village in India, I've spent my whole life fighting tradition. There's no way that I want to be a traditional Indian housewife.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Fighting #India #Village

  • To call someone 'anti-American', indeed, to be anti-American, is not just racist, it's a failure of the imagination.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Imagination #Racist #Anti-american

  • May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees. Red bananas ripen. Jackfruits burst. Dissolute bluebottles hum vacuously in the fruity air. Then they stun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, fatly baffled in the sun.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Air #Rivers #Long

  • Nothing mattered much. Nothing much mattered. And the less it mattered the less it mattered. It was never important enough. Because Worse Things had happened. In the country that she came from poised forever between the terror of war and the horror of peace Worse Things kept happening
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Country #War #Forever

  • Fiction and non-fiction are only different techniques of story telling. For reasons I do not fully understand, fiction dances out of me. Non-fiction is wrenched out by the aching, broken world I wake up to every morning.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Morning #Broken #Technique

  • Every people, every society, needs a culture of resistance, a culture of being difficult and disobedient, that is the only way they will ever be able to stand up to the inevitable abuse of power by whoever runs the state apparatus, the capitalists, the communists, the socialists, the Gandhians, whoever.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Running #People #Abuse

  • He held her as though she was a gift. Given to him in love. Something still and small. Unbearably precious.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Given #Stills

  • To annihilate indigenous populations eventually paves the way to our own annihilation. They are the only people who practice sustainable living. We think they are relics of the past, but they may be the gatekeepers to our future.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Past #Thinking #Practice

  • It was a time when the unthinkable became the thinkable and the impossible really happened
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Impossible #Unthinkable #Thinkable

  • NGOs are dangerous. They do what the missionaries used to do in Colonial times. They are Trojan Horses. The worse the situation, the more the NGOs.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Horse #Used #Trojans

  • See, ma'am, frankly speaking this problem can't be solved by us police or military. The problem with these tribals is they don't understand greed. Unless they become greedy there's no hope for us. I have told my boss, remove the force and instead put a TV in every home. Everything will be automatically sorted out.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Military #Home #Greed

  • The time has come for everybody -capitalists, communists, socialists- to ask themselves what 'civilization' really means. If not, whether a country calls itself capitalist or communists, in the pursuit of 'progress' , it will visit genocide either on its own people or on another people whose country must be plundered for resources to feed the Progress industry.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Country #Mean #Civilization

  • It is after all so easy to shatter a story. To break a chain of thought. To ruin a fragment of a dream being carried around carefully like a piece of porcelain. To let it be, to travel with it, as Velutha did, is much the harder thing to do.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Life #Dream #Stories

  • Many people have accused me of having a romantic view, whereas I personally I feel sorry for those who have lost romance in their lives.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Sorry #Views #People

  • People rarely win wars, governments rarely lose them. People get killed. Governments moult and regroup, hydra-headed. They use flags first to shrink-wrap people's minds and smother thought, and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury their willing dead.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #War #Winning #Government

  • When you say things like, 'We have to wipe out the Taliban,' what does that mean? The Taliban is not a fixed number of people. The Taliban is an ideology that has sprung out of a history that, you know, America created anyway.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Mean #Numbers #America

  • Change is one thing. Acceptance is another.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Healing #Acceptance #Teens

  • This was the trouble with families. Like invidious doctors, they knew just where it hurt.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Family #Hurt #Doctors

  • And there it was again. Another religion turned against itself. Another edifice constructed by the human mind, decimated by human nature.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Mind #Human Nature #Humans

  • Things can change in a day.
    -- Arundhati Roy

  • Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Jail #Justice #Silence

  • Sometimes I think the world is divided into those who have a comfortable relationship with power and those who have a naturally adversarial relationship with power.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Relationship #Thinking #World

  • Memory was that woman on the train. Insane in the way she sifted through dark things in a closet and emerged with the most unlikely ones - a fleeting look, a feeling. The smell of smoke. A windscreen wiper. A mother's marble eyes. Quite sane in the way she left huge tracts of darkness veiled. Unremembered.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Mother #Memories #Eye

  • It is true that success is the most boring thing, it is tinny and brittle, failure runs deeper. Success is dangerous. I have a very complicated relationship with that word.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Running #Complicated Relationship #Boring

  • That it really began in the days when the Love Laws were made. The laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Law #Made #Should

  • But what was there to say? Only that there were tears. Only that Quietness and Emptiness fitted together like stacked spoons. Only that there was a snuffling in the hollows at the base of a lovely throat. Only that a hard honey-colored shoulder had a semicircle of teethmarks on it. Only that they held each other close, long after it was over. Only that what they shared that night was not happiness, but hideous grief. Only that once again they broke the Love Laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Grief #Night #Law

  • As Estha stirred the thick jam he thought Two Thoughts and the Two Thoughts he thought were these: a) Anything can happen to anyone. and b) It is best to be prepared.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Two #Jam #Be Prepared

  • Nationalism of one kind or another was the cause of most of the genocide of the twentieth century. Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people's minds and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Government #People #Mind

  • You have come to a stage where you almost have to work on yourself. You know, on finding some tranquility with which to respond to these things, because I realize that the biggest risk that many of us run is beginning to get inured to the horrors.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Running #Risk #Quiet

  • The way her body existed only where he touched her. The rest of her was smoke.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Romantic Love #Romance #Body

  • Some things come with their own punishments.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Punishment

  • The invasion of Iraq will surely go down in history as one of the most cowardly wars ever fought. It was a war in which a band of rich nations, armed with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world several times over, rounded on a poor nation, falsely accused it of having nuclear weapons, used the United Nations to force it to disarm, then invaded it, occupied it, and are now in the process of selling it.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #War #Iraq #World

  • The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling - their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability. Remember this: We be many and they be few. They need us more than we need them.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Positive #War #Ideas

  • Being with him made her feel as though her soul had escaped from the narrow confines of her island country into the vast, extravagant spaces of his. He made her feel as though the world belonged to them- as though it lay before them like an opened frog on a dissecting table, begging to be examined.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Country #Space #Islands

  • I do what I do, and write what I write, without calculating what is worth what and so on. Fortunately, I am not a banker or an accountant. I feel that there is a time when a political statement needs to be made and I make it.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Writing #Political #Bankers

  • Writers imagine that they cull stories from the world. I'm beginning to believe that vanity makes them think so. That it's actually the other way around. Stories cull writers from the world. Stories reveal themselves to us. The public narrative, the private narrative - they colonize us. They commission us. They insist on being told. Fiction and nonfiction are only different techniques of story telling. For reasons that I don't fully understand, fiction dances out of me, and nonfiction is wrenched out by the aching, broken world I wake up to every morning.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Morning #Believe #Thinking

  • Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness — and our ability to tell our own stories. Stories that are different from the ones we’re being brainwashed to believe. The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling — their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Art #War #Believe

  • The trouble is that once you see it, you can't unsee it. And once you've seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There's no innocence. Either way, you're accountable.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Political #Way #Saying Nothing

  • Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted. Suddenly, they become the bleached bones of a story.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Events #Ordinary #Stories

  • There is a war that makes us adore our conquerors and despise ourselves.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #War #Despise #Adore

  • Soviet-style communism failed, not because it was intrinsically evil, but because it was flawed. It allowed too few people to usurp too much power. Twenty-first century market capitalism, American-style, will fail for the same reasons. Both are edifices constructed by human intelligence, undone by human nature.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #People #Evil #Style

  • Perhaps it's true that things can change in a day. That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of a burned house---the charred clock, the singed photograph, the scorched furniture---must be resurrected from the ruins and examined. Preserved. Accounted for. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstitutred. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #House #Events #Ordinary

  • The people who created the crisis will not be the ones that come up with a solution
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #People #Come Up #Crisis

  • Our dreams have been doctored.We belong no where. We sail unanchored on troubled seas.We may never be allowed ashore. Our sorrows will never be sad enough. Our joys never happy enough. Our dreams never big enough. Our lives never important enough. To matter..
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Dream #Sea #Joy

  • People always loved best what they identified most with.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #People

  • Old. A viable die-able age.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Age #Able

  • He could do only one thing at a time. If he held her, he couldn't kiss her. If he kissed her, he couldn't see her. If he saw her, he couldn't feel her.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Kissing #Saws #Feels

  • When she looked at herself in her wedding photographs, Ammu felt the woman that looked back at her was someone else. A foolish jewelled bride. Her silk sunset-coloured sari shot with gold. Rings on every finger. White dots of sandalwood paste over her arched eye-brows. Looking at herself like this, Ammu's soft mouth would twist into a small, bitter smile at the memory - not of the wedding itself so much as the fact that she had permitted herself to be so painstakingly decorated before being led to the gallows. It seemed so absurd. So futile. Like polishing firewood.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Memories #Eye #Sunset

  • The strange thing about Roman soldiers in the comics was the amount of trouble they took over their armor and their helmets, and then, after all that, they left their legs bare. It didn't make any sense at all. Weatherwise or otherwise.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Soldier #Armor #Legs

  • To call someone 'anti-American', indeed, to be anti-American, (or for that matter anti-Indian, or anti-Timbuktuan) is not just racist, it's a failure of the imagination. An inability to see the world in terms other than those that the establishment has set out for you: If you're not a Bushie you're a Taliban. If you don't love us, you hate us. If you're not Good you're Evil. If you're not with us, you're with the terrorists.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Hate #Imagination #Evil

  • If he touched her, he couldn't talk to her, if he loved her he couldn't leave, if he spoke he couldn't listen, if he fought he couldn't win.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Winning #Forbidden Love #Spokes

  • To understand history,' Chacko said, 'we have to go inside and listen to what they're saying. And look at the books and the pictures on the wall. And smell the smells.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Wall #Book #Smell

  • Humbling was a nice word, Rahel thought. Humbling along without a care in the world
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Nice #World #Care

  • ...As the disparity between the rich and the poor grows, the fight to corner resources is intensifying. To push through their "sweetheart deals," to corporatize the crops we grow, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the dreams we dream, corporate globalization needs an international confederation of loyal, corrupt, authoritarian governments in poorer countries to push through unpopular reforms and quell the mutinies. Corporate Globalization-or shall we call it by its name?-Imperialism-needs a press that pretends to be free. It needs courts that pretend to dispense justice.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Dream #Country #Fighting

  • How carelessly imperial power vivisected ancient civilizations. Palestine and Kashmir are imperial Britain's festering, blood-drenched gifts to the modem world. Both are fault lines in the raging international con�icts of today.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Blood #Civilization #Kashmir

  • Of course, there's an alternative to terrorism: it's called justice.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Justice #Alternatives #Terrorism

  • They were not friends, Comdrade Pillai and Inspector Thomas Matthew, and they didn't trust each other. But they understood each other perfectly. They were both men whom childhood had abandoned without a trace. Men without curiosity. Without doubt. Both in their own way truly, terrifyingly, adult. They looked out into the world and never wondered how it worked, because they knew. They worked it. They were mechanics who serviced different parts of the same machine.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Men #Childhood #Doubt

  • The NGO-ization of politics threatens to turn resistance into a well-mannered, reasonable, salaried, 9-to-5 job. With a few perks thrown in. Real resistance has real consequences. And no salary.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Jobs #Real #Salary

  • Acceptance spells death to a writer.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Acceptance

  • We need a new kind of politics. Not the politics of governance, but the politics of resistance. The politics of opposition. The politics of joining hands across the world and preventing certain destruction.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Hands #Needs #Joining

  • Wars are never fought for altruistic reasons. They're usually fought for hegemony, for business. And then of course there's the business of war.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Business #War #Hegemony

  • After using the 'good offices' of UN diplomacy (economic sanctions and weapons inspections) to ensure that Iraq was brought to its knees, its people starved, half a million of its children killed, its infrastructure severely damaged, after making sure that most of its weapons have been destroyed, in an act of cowardice that must surely be unrivalled in history, the 'Allies' / 'Coalition of the Willing' (better known as the Coalition of the Bullied and Bought) - sent in an invading army!
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Children #Army #Usa

  • Excitement always leads to tears.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Tears #Excitement

  • It is such a supreme folly to believe that nuclear weapons are deadly only if they're used. The fact that they exist at all, their presence in our lives, will wreak more havoc than we can begin to fathom. Nuclear weapons pervade our thinking. Control our behavior. Administer our societies. Inform our dreams. They bury themselves like meat hooks deep in the base of our brains. They are purveyors of madness. They are the ultimate colonizer. Whiter than any white man that ever lived. The very heart of whiteness.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Dream #Believe #Heart

  • Here they learned to Wait. To Watch. To think thoughts and not voice them.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Thinking #Voice #Waiting

  • But can we, should we, let apprehensions about the future immobilize us in the present?
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Fear #Should #Apprehension

  • It is such a supreme folly to believe that nuclear weapons are deadly only if they're used.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Believe #Nuclear #Weapons

  • His gratitude widened his smile and bent his back.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Gratitude #His Smile #Bent

  • Some writers like to boil down headlines of liberal newspapers into fiction, so they say there shouldn't be communal riots, everybody should love each other, there shouldn't be boundaries or fundamentalism. But I think literature is more than that; these are political views which most of us hold anyway.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Thinking #Views #Political

  • NGOs have a complicated space in neoliberal politics. They are supposed to mop up the anger. Even when they are doing good work, they are supposed to maintain the status quo. They are the missionaries of the corporate world.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Space #World #Complicated

  • What came for them? Not death. Just the end of living.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Ends

  • They looked at each other. They weren't thinking anymore. The time for that had come and gone. Smashed smiles lay ahead of them. But that would be later. Lay Ter.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Thinking #Would Be #Gone

  • Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people’s brains and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead. When independent-thinking people (and here I do not include the corporate media) begin to rally under flags, when writers, painters, musicians, film makers suspend their judgment and blindly yoke their art to the service of the “Nation,” it’s time for all of us to sit up and worry.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Art #Independent #Thinking

  • Flat muscled and honey coloured. Sea secrets in his eyes. A silver raindrop in his ear.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Eye #Sea #Secret

  • In a way, writing is an incredible act of individualism, producing your language, and yet to use it from the heart of a crowd as opposed to as an individual performance is a conflicting thing. I do stand alone, and yet it's not about being an individual or being ambitious.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Heart #Writing #Ambitious

  • The Congress has historically played covert communal politics in order to create what in India we call vote banks where you pit one community against another and so on in order to secure votes.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Order #Community #India

  • So here we have it. The equivocating distinction between civilisation and savagery, between the "massacre of innocent people" or, if you like, "a clash of civilisations" and "collateral damage". The sophistry and fastidious algebra of infinite justice.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #People #Justice #Damage

  • A sparrow lay dead on the backseat. She had found her way through a hole in the windscreen, tempted by some seat-sponge for her nest. She never found her way out. No one noticed her panicked car-window appeals. She died on the backseat, with her legs in the air. Like a joke.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Air #Car #Legs

  • Pointed in the wrong direction, trapped outside their own history and unable to retrace their steps because their footprints had been swept away.
    -- Arundhati Roy

    #Steps #Footprint #Swept Away