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Azadi: Fascism, Fiction, and Freedom in the Time of the Virus

Arundhati Roy

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Completed on 23 May 2022
ISBN : 9781642597066

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. 


A very informative book and highly recommended. The slogan of the freedom movement in Kashmir against what Kashmiris regard as the Indian Occupation is "Azadi!" (Urdu for "Freedom!"). Ironically, it also became the refrain of many people protesting Hindu nationalism on the streets of India. The streets became silent as Arundhati Roy started to ponder whether there was a gulf or a bridge connecting these two pleas for freedom. not just in India, but everywhere. Another, even worse concept of Azadi was brought about by the coronavirus, which rendered international boundaries meaningless, imprisoned entire communities, and brought the contemporary world to a standstill unlike anything else ever could. Arundhati Roy pushes us to consider what freedom means in a society full of restrictions in this collection of enthralling articles.

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