The Cost of Living
The Greater Common Good and The End of Imagination

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Two passionate, persuasive, rousing bulletins from India from the author of The God of Small Things.

`The Greater Common Good’ is Arundhati Roy’s stirring and flabbergasting tale of governmental (and international-agency) arrogance, high-handedness, corruption and idiocy. The Narmada Valley in north-western India is home to 25 million people (i.e. half the population of Britain), and over the last twenty-plus years successive federal and state governments have been intent on forcibly evicting these people, flooding the land they’ve farmed for generations in order to build a series of giant dams that will, notionally, then allow irrigation to bring water to those who need it in the region’s cities, allow the land to bear different crops and improve the region’s economy. That local villages and farmers suspected that none of this would follow; that their resistance obliged the World Bank, finally, to commission an independent report that damned the entire project as naïve, incompetent and ill-considered; that each of the goals can be readily proved to be inachievable: none of this has dissuaded the dismissive and disdainful state government (of Gujarat) from pursuing the benighted project to its end, irrespective of the misery already delivered to millions by its botched progress so far.

Arundhati writes about the whole sorry story with her customary agility and articulacy, and with real, undiluted anger. She writes in similar fashion also about India’s fateful decision to ‘join the nuclear club’ with its testing of devices (in ping-pong with Pakistan) in `The End of Imagination’. It examines, ruefully, India’s abandonment of the third way it had followed for decades having set out on the path to civil disobedience and pacifism Gandhi laid down for the sub-continent.

Unspoiled by fame and wealth, Arundhati is using her celebrity to sponsor righteous causes, to oppose the corruption and arrogance of governments, bureaucracy and industry in her county, to great effect. She does this in India, and outside its borders. She is, in our sense, untouchable there now. All this activism may be at the expense of fiction, but it’s marvellous to watch a writer use success as a weapon for the voiceless and disadvantaged.

AuthorArundhati Roy
Language TypePublished
Number Of Pages176
Product GroupBook
Publication Date1999-11-15
Sales Rank367644

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