Arundhati Roy’s writing consistently alters and advances the world it is given to. Azadi is no different. Through this collection of essays, Roy interrogates, illuminates, and inspires worlds to come—deliberately dissecting our world’s underbelly, Roy leaves nearly nothing untouched and everything expanding. She writes of the ongoing pandemic, the continuing struggles for freedom in Kashmir, and what can, does, and will exist in the spaces between freedom. Azadi, meaning freedom in Urdu, feels a little closer after reading this book.— Citlalli
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. The 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.