The God of Small Things: An Analysis from ‘Green Studies’ Perspective



In spite of an awakening in respect of environment which
has given rise to a number of organisations including
political parties popularly known as Greens in the west, it
has not found an organized expression in India. In such a
state, Arundhati Roy has shown her serious commitment
with her writings and activities by joining like-minded
people on vital issues related to environment. In 1998 she
participated in a seminar on the Hiroshima Day and
presented a paper where she said, “If there is a nuclear
war, our foes will not be China or America or even each
other. Our foe will be the earth herself. The very
elements- the sky, the air, the land, the wind and waterwill
all turn against us. Their wrath will be terrible…” 1
She showed her solidarity with the Chaliyar Human
Rights Samithi fighting against pollution caused by
Grasim industry at Mavoor in Kojhikode, Kerala. She
opposed “a new development plan for the Panchmarhi
area in which hotel building would be allowed at the cost
of despoiling the beauty and sylvan backdrop of” 2 the hill
station. She also associated herself with the Narmada
Bachao Andolon considering the adverse effect of the
Narmada valley development project which “will alter
the ecology of the entire river basin of one of India’s
biggest rivers. For better or for worse, it will affect the
lives of twenty five million people living in the valley. It
will submerge and destroy 4000 square kilometers of
natural deciduous forest.” 3 With all these activities
regarding environmental issues “Arundhati Roy will
continue to stir the world’s conscience” 4 as hoped by the
Veteran Gandhian social workers. She did it perfectly
which is evident from the bitter criticism against her for
developing a social conscience suddenly by the central
government, the state governments of Madhya Pradesh,
Gujarat, and Maharashtra and their supporters. She
brilliantly answered these critics in an interview
published in the Frontline: “Is it a crime to develop
suddenly a social conscience? ...But the critics you
mention should take a look at my earlier work- for
instance they could begin by reading The God of Small
Things.” 5 Her suggestion certainly indicates that she has
delineated environmental issues in this novel to stir the
conscience of human beings in Indian society and to make
Indian readers realise their sensitivities about the
importance of preserving the harmonious relationship
between the people and the physical environment.

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