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Book cover for Azadi
April 2024


By Arundhati Roy
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'Startling ... Azadi is the outcome of a life of writing from the frontline of solidarity and humanism, and from a writer who is perhaps only now reaching the height of her literary powers' Guardian

'An eloquent and scorching indictment of the growing authoritarianism of Hindu nationalism ... A tour-de-force'i

'A deeply-committed literary artist’s vision of what is wrong with our world today and a heartfelt appeal to join together to try and heal the wounds before it is too late' Telegraph India

The chant of 'Azadi!' – Urdu for 'Freedom!' – is the slogan of the freedom struggle in Kashmir against what Kashmiris see as the Indian Occupation. Ironically, it also became the chant of millions on the streets of India against the project of Hindu Nationalism.

Even as Arundhati Roy began to ask what lay between these two calls for Freedom – a chasm or a bridge? – the streets fell silent. Not only in India, but all over the world. Coronavirus brought with it another, more terrible understanding of Azadi, making a nonsense of international borders, incarcerating whole populations, and bringing the modern world to a halt like nothing else ever could.

In this series of electrifying essays, Arundhati Roy challenges us to reflect on the meaning of freedom in a world of growing authoritarianism.
The essays include meditations on language, public as well as private, and on the role of fiction and alternative imaginations in these disturbing times. The pandemic, she says, is a portal between one world and another. For all the illness and devastation it has left in its wake, it is an invitation to the human race, an opportunity, to imagine another world.

Arundhati Roy is the author of The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize in 1997 and has been translated into more than forty languages, and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, which was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2017. Her non-fiction includes The Algebra of Infinite JusticeListening to Grasshoppers and Broken Republic. She lives in Delhi.


Originally published by Penguin Books

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