Woman of the Day – Arundhati Roy

Green Party Women Celebrating Women’s History Month
Day 19: Woman of the Day, Arundhati Roy

In March 2017 Arundhati Roy’s second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness was published. The novel was highly anticipated, as it came twenty years after her debut novel and garnered significant attention from readers and critics alike.

Arundhati is a prominent Indian author, activist, and public intellectual known for her powerful writing and fearless advocacy on a range of social, political, and environmental issues. Her multifaceted career spans literature, journalism, and activism, making her a significant voice in contemporary global discourse.

Early life

Arundhati was born on November 24, 1961, in Shillong, India. Her mother Mary Roy, was a women’s rights activist and father Rajib Roy a tea plantation manager. Both her parents were progressive and involved in social causes, which greatly influenced Arundhati’s worldview from an early age.

Whilst pursuing studies in architecture at the Delhi School of Architecture, Arundhati developed a passion for writing. Her early writings consisted of screenplays and essays on various topics, showcasing her diverse interests and talents.

The God of Small Things

In 1997, Arundhati burst onto the literary scene with her debut novel, The God of Small Things. The novel explores themes of love, caste, politics, and social injustice and received widespread critical acclaim. She won the prestigious Man Booker Prize, propelling her to international fame.

The award carried a prize of approximately US$30,000. Arundhati donated the prize money she received, as well as royalties from her book to human rights causes. Her second novel, the afore mentioned Ministry of Utmost Happiness, was also nominated for the Man Booker prize.


Following the success of The God of Small Things, Arundhati continued to write fiction whilst also devoting herself to activism and political commentary. She has been an outspoken critic of the Indian government, globalisation, corporate power, environmental degradation, and social inequality.

Her non-fiction books and essays, The Algebra of Infinite Justice (2002), An Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire (2004), and Capitalism: A Ghost Story (2014) delve into a wide range of topics, from the impact of neoliberal policies on marginalised communities to the struggle for environmental justice in the face of corporate exploitation.

Arundhati’s activism has often placed her at odds with the Indian government and other powerful interests. She has faced backlash, censorship, and legal challenges for her outspoken views and advocacy work. Despite these obstacles, she remains steadfast in her commitment to speaking truth to power and amplifying the voices of the marginalised and oppressed.

“…a political struggle that does not have women at the heart of it, above it, below it, and within it is no struggle at all.”






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