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Now in paperback, with a new introduction by the author discussing the election of India's new prime minister Narendra Modi. This series of essays examines the dark side of democracy in contemporary India. It looks closely at how religious majoritarianism, cultural nationalism, and neo-fascism simmer just under the surface of a country that projects itself as the world's largest democracy. She describes the systematic marginalization of religious and ethnic minorities, the rise of terrorism, and the massive scale of displacement and dispossession of the poor by predatory corporations. Field Notes on Democracy tracks the fault-lines that threaten to destroy India's precarious democracy and send shockwaves through the region and beyond.

Arundhati Roy is a world-renowned Indian author and global justice activist.

Book review: Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy - The Scotsman

From her celebrated Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things to her prolific output of writing on topics ranging from climate change to war, the perils of free-market development in India, and the defense of the poor, Roy's voice has become indispensable to millions seeking a better world. I read this book directly after 'Democracy: A Life' by Paul Cartledge and the comparison is interesting at least, I think so! I would imagine that Arundhati Roy would freely accept that Professor Cartledge is a more learned source upon the subject of democracy: certainly, the Prof's book is filled with far more facts and statistics.

It is, however, totally devoid of the chief ingredient of Mr. Roy's opus: passion. The prof tells us, Mr Roy lets us share his emotions. Roy's book is made up of a collection of essays upon the subject of Indian democracy: an institution which so many right wing Brits are proud to say, that we gave to them. Reading this work makes it clear how many similarities there are between the two systems. Roy bemoans the distant nature of India's ruling class; the fact that politicians are a weak bunch who cannot help themselves when faced with corruption. This is surely true of the bigger guns within British politics too and, probably inevitable from any system that passes its ruling down from above.

Everybody wishing to climb the greasy pole must kowtow to those higher up. This is a series of polaroid photographs of democracy, Indian style; don't look for the quick solution: vote for X and all our problems will be over, but, like a photograph of a disfigured face, we may stare, without embarrassment and the imperfections are clear to all.

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A thoroughly thought provoking book. Here at Walmart. Your email address will never be sold or distributed to a third party for any reason. Due to the high volume of feedback, we are unable to respond to individual comments.

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Love her or hate her, but you cannot ignore her. Arundhati Roy!! View all 6 comments. Roy is an engaged intellectual, a rare breed these days--an Indian Noam Chomsky, one might say. And her anti-globalization, basically left-wing take on politics aligns her very much with Chomsky. There is however a fundamental difference: Roy is a great writer and a truly formidable polemicist. One can disagree with her positions, and on occasions I do, but no one can question her intelligence, passion, and capacity for mixing detailed data and first-rate prose. This book is largely, but by no m Roy is an engaged intellectual, a rare breed these days--an Indian Noam Chomsky, one might say.

This book is largely, but by no means solely, about India.

In fact, one wonders how a writer with such views manages to stay alive and out-of-prison amidst the political corruption and violence she describes. Like other radical intellectuals in the past, her fame protects her, I suppose. If India is a democracy, as its government so proudly trumpets, then perhaps, Roy argues, democracy itself should be rethought. The power of the Indian government to oppress, even practice genocide against its own people, and yet go largely unquestioned and unchallenged is astounding. The examples she provides are numerous and force one to reevaluate the "shining India" of "breathtaking economic development," Bollywood and much Anglo-American literature that gets so much attention these days.

But Roy spares no one, and any American reader is sure to bristle when he reads her descriptions of genocide against the Indians in this country and her arguments that it was our former president's "war on terror" that sanctioned violence against Moslems all over the world, including the slaughter of innocent Moslems in Gujarat in , a crime for which no one has been punished. At the heart of this book, and the message I sympathize with most, is an attack on the "purist politics" that characterize so much government rhetoric these days.

Put slightly differently, as soon as a government comes to be dominated by purists who have the "only right religion" or the "only right ideology," bad things are bound to happen. For those of us who still believe in pluralism and think our greatest danger comes from those "who know the truth," this book, so hard-edged and caustic at times, is a much-needed reassurance! Oct 01, Vazir Singh rated it it was amazing Shelves: owned. Labelling Arundhati leftist,anti-national,anti-american,anti-hindu,anti-progess is obviously reducing her.

Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers

Truth knows no boundaries. Her compassionate writing is like the voice of conscience. This is a collection of essays, articles and lectures by the authors written over a period of time and after certain events in recent history. All of them are connected via a common underlying theme which Roy brings out in her usual brilliant writings.


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The main takeaway from this book is that her's is a voice that needs to be heard when we talk about modern Indian history and where it is leading us. One might not agree with her views, even might be opposing to all that she says and what she stand This is a collection of essays, articles and lectures by the authors written over a period of time and after certain events in recent history. One might not agree with her views, even might be opposing to all that she says and what she stands for, but one shouldn't disregard what she says. Even I don't see eye-to-eye with some of the views she holds but I am willing to read what her understanding of things are and where she is coming from.

It's easy to disregard her as being an anti national, leftist, "activist", but it would be counterproductive. In fact this book does a great job at explaining her stand on things as might even surprise some of the people who hate her because it goes against the popular perception and her image that has been built in mainstream political discourse. While she doesn't hold back any punches and minces no words when coming down hard against right-wing communal politics, she recognises the mistakes, the atrocities and the faults of the other side too.

She doesn't appear appeasing to anyone in particular and some of the things she says make way too much sense and makes you feel why we don't hear more from her. Sadly she has been muffled because of the harsh reality that she brings to the table and that makes a lot of people very uncomfortable. She could very well have been the voice of a nation that has been played by the politicians and the media for far too long, it needs the will of the people to see beyond the decisive plays at work, to see their collective interest in mind, but sadly it's human nature to be manipulated.

Certainly, Arundhati Roy is one of the genuine champions of human rights, Justice and truth. Listening to Grasshoppers restores my faith in the courageously- spirited voice of a writer whose sole purpose and mission is to be the voice of the voiceless.


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  5. Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy, by Arundhati Roy - The Globe and Mail.

This book is strongly recommended for those readers who want to understand the essence of democracy, particularly the vibrant and the shining Indian democracy. Roy raises some scathing questions about the spirit of democratic project. For instance Certainly, Arundhati Roy is one of the genuine champions of human rights, Justice and truth. For instance, What have we done to democracy? What have we turned it into? What happens once democracy has been used up? When it has been hollowed out and emptied of meaning? What happens when each of its institutions has grown into something lethal?

Each time you defend the right of an institution, any institution including the Supreme Court , to exercise unfettered, unaccountable powers that must never be challenged, you move toward fascism. There is no terrorism like state terrorism. It's been nearly a decade since Roy collated these writings, and I have to wonder, while she was putting together her vicious satire 4.

It's been nearly a decade since Roy collated these writings, and I have to wonder, while she was putting together her vicious satire of Bush's visit to India, she could have foreseen a US president so vitriolic, so inept, so swelled up by the smell of his own perfumed and fascist asshole that he would make war criminal Bush look like a well educated Franciscan monk.

God knows I never saw it coming, but I was young in , smack dab in the midst of the transition between high school and college, and back then my hell holes functioned on a much smaller scale than afforded by imperialism, fascism, and genocide.

Politics Book Review: Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers by Arundhati Roy

And yet, no small thanks to said Antifa violence and none at all to state bankrolled pigs in uniform, the damage has been contained and combated more than I could have hopped for. There's still a bigoted mess just outside my door, but Roy helps me create the language and call to action necessary to fight it, and while she's not perfect, she's a fuckton better than most.

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