The Algebra of Infinite Justice
Author: Arundhati Roy
Publisher: Penguin Books, Flamingo (re-published)
Publication Date: 2001, 2002 (re-published)
Pages: 251 pages
Cost: Rs. 107.69 (Kindle edition)
A collection of political essays, this book discusses many issues on which Arundhati Roy has been very vocal. She expresses her views on nuclear disarmament, globalization and terrorism very blatantly here. Roy does not force her views and opinions here, though she does make sure that the reader develops an opinion of his own.
Some of the notable essays covered in this book are: ‘Democracy: Who’s She When She’s at Home’, which examines the horrific communal violence in Gujarat, ‘War Talk: Summer Games with Nuclear Bombs’, about the threat of nuclear war and more.
The book discusses several issues from fields as diverse as the political euphoria in India over its successful nuclear bomb tests. She discusses the power generating companies of the world manipulating the laws and policies of the many power-deprived nations.
The official introduction to the book by Penguin India is :
A few weeks after India detonated a thermonuclear device in 1998, Arundhati Roy wrote ‘The End of Imagination’. The essay attracted worldwide attention as the voice of a brilliant Indian writer speaking out with clarity and conscience against nuclear weapons. Over the next three and a half years, she wrote a series of political essays on a diverse range of momentous subjects: from the illusory benefits of big dams, to the downside of corporate globalization and the US Government’s war against terror.
In ‘The Algebra of Infinite justice’, Roy divulges in the political arena. She argues, discusses, challenges, uplifts, provokes you to open your eyes and see the dichotomy of political tornado going around and that existed for years which is sucking our blood like a leach.
Arundhati Roy wrote the essay "The End of Imagination," in which she said: "My world has died. And I write to mourn its passing." One can feel the emotive power she exerts through her words. She does not sanitises the pitiful and horrible incidents. Like for example take this excerpt:
She tells the tale of a father, displaced from his old home by the building of a dam, holding his sick baby in his arms while he tells Roy how many kinds of fruit he used to pick in the forest. "He counted 48 kinds. He told me that he didn't think he or his children would ever be able to afford to eat any fruit again. Not unless he stole it."
She doesn’t hold back to show the view of human tragedy to make her readers more aware of the scene of politics. She wants people to stop building barriers across rivers, to stop killing one another, to stop making bombs, to stop dropping bombs. In a nutshell, she just wants us to take clear view of the world presently and the horrible things happening to it.
Mithu C Banerji reflected on Roy’s book:
“Roy's writing reflects her fiction, and meanders between polemic and sentiment. Yet whether she is talking about the 'death of my world' or about 'one country's terrorist being another's freedom fighter', she is always passionately intense.”
About the Author:
Arundhati Roy is an Indian writer who is also an activist who focuses on issues related to social justice and economic inequality. She won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things, and has also written two screenplays and several collections of essays.
For her work as an activist, Arundhati received the Cultural Freedom Prize awarded by the Lannan Foundation in 2002.