Arundhati Roy, the recipient of the 2023 European Essay Award from the Charles Veillon Foundation, expresses her delight in being honored for her literary work. She reflects on her 25-year journey of writing essays that have chronicled India’s shift toward majoritarianism and fascism. In India, elections have become a season of violence and discrimination, particularly against Muslims and Christians. Roy notes that not only leaders but also a segment of the population now perpetuates this bigotry, leading to the normalization of evil.
She highlights the erosion of India’s democracy, where the Constitution is disregarded, and the Indian Penal Code is being rewritten. The prospect of a new Constitution looms if the current regime secures a majority in the 2024 elections. Roy warns of the potential for further division and unrest, especially if constituency boundaries are redrawn to favor certain states.
Roy acknowledges that receiving a lifetime achievement award makes her feel old but stresses that the time for warnings has passed. She sees a different phase of history unfolding and hopes that her writing will bear witness to India’s dark chapter. Roy underscores the need for literature that provides shelter and speaks to the experiences of those suffering under the current regime.
Re-reported from the article originally published in The Scroll