Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy


Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy (2009) is a collection of essays written by Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy. Written between 2002 and 2008, the essays have been published in various left-leaning newspapers and magazines in India. The first edition of the book consists of eleven essays with an introduction by Roy was published by Hamish Hamilton in India. The official introduction to the book in the publisher's website is as below: ‘What happens once democracy has been used up? When it has been hollowed out and emptied of meaning?’Combining brilliant political insight and razor-sharp prose, Listening to Grasshoppers is the essential new book from Arundhati Roy. In these essays, she takes a hard look at the underbelly of the world’s largest democracy, and shows how the journey that Hindu nationalism and neo-liberal economic reforms began together in the early 1990s is unraveling in dangerous ways.Beginning with the state-backed killing of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, she writes about how ‘progress’ and genocide have historically gone hand in hand; about the murky investigations into the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament; about the dangers of an increasingly powerful and entirely unaccountable judiciary; and about the collusion between large corporations, the government and the mainstream media.The collection ends with an account of the August 2008 uprising in Kashmir and an analysis of the November 2008 attacks on Mumbai. ‘The Briefing’, included as an appendix, is a fictional text that brings together many of the issues central to the collection.
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date of publication: 2009

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