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Personality of Arundhati Roy

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Personality Traits of

Suzanna Arundhati Roy
A prominent social leader

Submitted to
Prof. Rajesh Kumar

Submitted by GROUP-7
Kumar Priyank(60020) Kunal Pahuja(60022) Laloo Prasad(60023) Mobashir Ahmad(60024) Sonia (60037) Surabhi Maheshwari (60040)

Chandragupt Institute of Management Patna
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We take this opportunity to express our profound gratitude and deep regards to our guide Prof. Rajesh Kumar for his exemplary guidance, monitoring and constant encouragement throughout the course of this project. The blessing, help and guidance given by him from time to time shall carry us a long way in the journey of life on which we are about to embark. Last but not the least; we would appreciate the guidance given by all the other groups which have helped us in the successful completion of this project. Group-7

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Through this project we would like to throw light on different personality attribute of Arundhati Roy which shaped her life as a social change maker and we will also focus on the patterns of thoughts, feelings, behaviors and experiences that make her unique and socially relevant to the society. The above quote aptly depicts the thought process of Arundhati Roy, her fearless and dauntless attitude, her spirit to fight, and above all her love for nature and people.

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This quote of Arundhati Roy has been taken from her book “The Cost Of Living” which explains to the world that everyone must spread and seek love. One must never forget about its own existence and always believe in oneself. An individual must never kneel down to violence, and injustice. Life has different shades and it needs courage to stand for truth. Life is beautiful and the best way to live it full is to seek happiness in all of its shades. She believes, we human often tend to make things difficult by changing it because of our dissatisfaction towards it. There are things that are simple and need not to be complicated and vice versa. Strength is a form which can bring a positive change in the society therefore we must always put an emphasis on strength. Society is a fabric and we all are thread. We must always strive forward keeping our eyes wide open and trying to understand, and differentiate between truth in fallacy, justice and injustice, freedom and oppression. Looking away from a problem is an easy way out. Rational people get on their knees, get all their strength together and fight for justice irrespective of the consequences. Leaders don’t show their back, they lead and never ever have an element of fear within them because life is a gift and its sole purpose is to influence life around. One must always remember what they have been through, what they have faced and struggle done, injustice faced, oppression witnessed and battle fought and lessons to be passed to the next generation so the world remembers there were people who stood against the army of fallacy, being fearless and won, and won it emphatically by just believing in their rights and standing by the side of truth.

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Arundhati Roy was born on 24 November 1961 in Shillong, Meghalaya, India, to Ranjit Roy, her father was Bengali Hindu tea planter and mother Mary Roy was a Malayali Syrian Christian. Later she shifted to Aymanam in Kerala where she spent her childhood, she didn’t get formal education in her early life, her mother homeschooled her until the age of ten, before she began attending regular classes and then went to school at Corpus Christi, Kottayam, followed by the Lawrence School, Lovedale, in Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. She left Kerala for Delhi at age 16, and embarked on a homeless lifestyle, staying in a small hut with a tin roof within the walls of Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla and making living selling empty bottles. She then proceeded to study architecture at the Delhi School of Architecture, where she met her first husband, the architect Gerard Da Cunha. She spent very little time with her father during her lifetime, Roy instead focused on her mother's influence in her life. Her mother Mary Roy was a political activist, won an unprecedented victory for women's rights in Kerala. Through her persistence, the Supreme Court granted Christian women in Kerala the right to have an inheritance.

  Though trained as an architect, Roy had little interest in design, she dreamed instead of a writing career. After graduating, Roy supported herself by teaching aerobics while honing her writing skills. She eventually wrote several film scripts, which are recognized for their complex structure and biting social commentary. She wrote and starred in the film In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones (1989), and she wrote the script for Electric Moon (1992), directed by her second husband, Pradip Krishen. (Her first husband was Gerard Da Cunha, whom she met in college.) Even when she was a low-profile writer, Roy began to assert her political opinions loudly. She rallied media support for Phoolan Devi, a politician and former criminal of Robin-Hood fame, whom she felt was being misrepresented by the film Bandit Queen (directed by Shekhar Kapur).

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She learnt lot of thing from her mother during her childhood. She raised her voice against injustice to the people.  In 1997 Roy published her debut novel, The God of Small Things to wide acclaim. The semiautobiographical work departed from the conventional plots and light prose that had been typical among best-sellers. Composed in a lyrical language about South Asian themes and characters in a narrative that wandered through time, Roy’s novel became the biggest-selling book and making Roy its first Indian woman and non-expatriate Indian recipient. In addition to her novelistic skills, Roy is widely known for political activism (perhaps along the lines of a Noam Chomsky). She has published many works of nonfiction including several essays as well as The End of Imagination (1998), The Greater Common Good (1999), The Cost of Living (1999), Power Politics (2002), War Talk (2003), The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile (2004, with David Barsamian), and An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire (2004). She took part in Narmada Bachao Andolan in 1994 with other personalities such as Megha Patkar and Aamir Khan. She won the Lannan Foundation’s Cultural Freedom Award in 2002 for her work regarding the civil societies that are adversely affected by the world’s most tyrannical governments and monopolies. She was awarded a special recognition as a Woman of Peace at the Global Human Rights Awards in San Francisco in 2003. She also took part in the June 2005 World Tribunal on Iraq. In January 2006 she was awarded the Sahitya Akademi award for her collection of essays, The Algebra of Infinite Justice, but she declined to accept it by saying she cannot accept the honor from an institution linked to government whose policies she opposes. She was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in 2004 for her efforts toward social justice and peaceful conflict resolution.

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NARMADA BACHAO ANDOLAN She took part in Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) and fought for the justice to the villagers who would be affected by the Narmada Dam project. This is about the creating a high-level of awareness about the environmental and rehabilitation and relief aspects of Sardar Sarovar and other projects on the Narmada. She contributed her whole money of Booker prize of worth $30000 (USD) and more to help the group. She even went to jail while the procession. INDIA'S NUCLEAR WEAPONISATION In response to India's testing of nuclear weapons in Pokhran, Rajasthan, Roy wrote The End of Imagination (1998), a critique of the Indian government's nuclear policies. It was published in her collection The Cost of Living (1999), in which she also crusaded against India's massive hydroelectric dam projects in the central and western states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. MAOISTS Arundhati has almost single-handedly changed the national discourse around the Maoists and to some extent, Kashmir. The Maoists were considered sub-human obstructionists, who needed to be cleared from their lands for India to develop. The Indian government was once even considering bombing them. But Arundhati's relentlessness forced the country to reconsider its stand. In the wake of the recent Maoist attack, the government seems to be creeping toward some form of fire from the air though.

In a 2001 opinion piece in the British newspaper The Guardian, Arundhati Roy responded to the US military invasion of Afganistan, finding fault with the argument that this war would be retaliation for the September 11 attacks: "The bombing of Afghanistan is not revenge for New York and Washington. It is yet another act of terror against the people of the world." According to her, US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were guilty of a Big Brother kind of double think: "When he announced the air strikes, President George Bush said: 'We're a peaceful nation.' America's favourite ambassador, Tony Blair, (who also holds the portfolio of prime minister of the UK), echoed him: 'We're a peaceful people.' So now we know. Pigs are horses. Girls are boys. War is peace."

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What does it mean to have a personality? What determines our personality? Or our personality is something we inherited or something we developed through our life experience. Social scientists have developed many theories to determine from where this personality comes from. Basically we have three major theories given by social scientist which is used to analyze personality. They are:    Psychoanalytic theory Humanistic theory Social cognitive theory

Psychoanalytic theory was developed by Sigmund Freud. It divides our psyche into three different sections; i.e. Id, Ego, Super Ego. The Id is the primitive part and is totally unconscious. The ego is the conscious part our personality. The super ego is the further development of the consciousness. Psychoanalysis stresses at the biological development of an individual. The humanistic perspective on personality emerged as a kind of reaction to the psychoanalytic theory. This theory emphasized on human potential along with self awareness and freewill. Rogers believe that we have three self: - Ideal self - Who we want to be - Self Image – Who we think we are - True Self – Who we actually are The social cognitive theory is a learning theory based on the idea that people learn by observing. It has its root in behaviorism. It also rely heavily on outcome expectancy. We will explore these theories by applying some of their aspect to Arundhati Roy. We would try to analyze that how does such an extraordinary personality developed. Arundhati Roy grew up in Kerala, spent 16 years of her life there experiencing many circumstances and events which we believe might have certain impact on her life in shaping up her personality. She grew up observing how different religion live together and how competing beliefs wear each other down. She learnt that to be a clever girl was a taboo. She had seen the oppression a female has to go through. She had grown up witnessing the inequality that is prevalent in the society. Later in her life she chose herself to become a prominent social activist and environmentalist apart from her passion of being a writer. Instead she chose to use her most powerful skill that is of writing to give voice to the unheard people of India.

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Was Arundhati Roy born to be the kind of person she is now or was it circumstances of her life that shaped her? It is important to consider both heredity and environment to analyze the personality and basically personality analyst across the world agreed that we are all born with some of the elements of personality but the rest of the elements of personality we learn through our interaction and environment. Arundhati Roy has been taught informally and the freedom from intellectual constraint allowed Roy to write from within, the ability to follow her inner voice, rather than having a set of restrictive rules ingrained in her has been an integral part of her accomplishments as an adult writer. At age sixteen, Roy left home, and eventually enrolled at the Delhi School of Architecture. This training, like her elementary education, proved instrumental in shaping her as a writer. The deep-seated nature of Roy's activism may also be traced back to her early years, and the rural beauty of the landscape in which she spent them, in one of the interview she said that, "I think the kind of landscape that you grew up in, it lives in you. I don't think it's true of people who've grown up in cities so much, you may love building but I don't think you can love it in the way that you love a tree or a river or the color of the earth, it's a different kind of love. I'm not a very well read person but I don't imagine that that kind of gut love for the earth can be replaced by the open landscape. There is no one theory that explains all the aspects of human personality. Every theory has its own strengths and weaknesses. The purpose of studying personality is to study individual differences. Psychoanalytic theory emphasizes that interaction with mother and father is very crucial in developing personality of a person. In an interview given to David Barsamian in the April 2001 issue she said that, my mother married a Bengali Hindu and, then divorced him, which meant that everyone was confirmed in their opinion that it was such a terrible thing to do in the first place. In Kerala, everyone has what is called a tharawaad [lineage]. If you don't have a father, you don't have a tharawaad. You're a person without an address. That's what they call you. I grew up in Ayemenem, the village in which The God of Small Things is set. Given the way things have turned out, it's easy for me to say that I thank God that I had none of the conditioning that a normal, middle class Indian girl would have. I had no father, no presence of this man telling us that he would look after us and beat us occasionally in exchange. I didn't have a caste, and I didn't have a class, and I had no religion, no traditional blinkers, and no traditional lenses on my spectacles, which are very hard to shrug off. I sometimes think I was perhaps the only girl in India whose mother said, "Whatever you do, don't get married"."It reflects she was distant from her father and probably has no influence of him on her personality except DNA cells. The interesting point is unlike most Indian mothers she allowed her to fly and live life on her own terms. This wasn’t just a verbal teaching; her mother practiced it and showed her
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path. In a process she also showed it’s not going to be a easy journey .It’s full of turns and holes, she got to be brave and ever ready to face thrashing from the society. Her mother had profound influence in her personality and the main thing which she related with her mother was a kind of a stubborn resistance to injustice. The humanistic theory emphasized a lot on fulfillment of person’s unique potential. Arundhati Roy is person who would trust her own judgment a lot. She won’t be looking to other people to know what makes sense. It was confident – and wise, too – to say she felt no obligation to write another novel. The work of producing the first one, she said, had been like four years in jail. "I didn't want to be like some factory producing novels, and I don't want to live my life as a project – in some ways I want to do as little as possible. I didn't mean to write my other books [her essay anthologies] either. There's so much noise in the world, so why add to it? In my case, I only write when I can't not." Not only did she give her Booker Prize money (about $30,000) to the NBA group, she has also protested many times with it, even getting arrested. She said that a good lifestyle as a writer could easily have been her way of living, too – as, for a short time, it was. Instead she has spent the last dozen years castigating the Indian state for all its sins and omissions: grandiose dams that displace the poor peasantry, mineral quarries that threaten to do likewise, nuclear weapons, the occupation of Kashmir. Carl Rogers felt that life put up road blocks or prevented us from growth and in the process correcting this we learn, “Unconditional positive regard”. Arundhati Roy had a very humanistic approach when she felt that everybody needs to be treated with dignity and in essence she is practicing unconditional positive regard. Social cognitive theory places more emphasis on learning and conscious cognitive process. The first step Arundhati Roy took towards making a difference in her own life was to skillfully use her celebrity status and her considerable writing gifts as a weapon for fighting injustice. Roy sees in her writing an Orwellian duty to bridge social distance, to bring home the truth about the poor and disaffected to the prosperous and content, and to realize their surroundings and situation as a good novelist would. The theory also suggests that once we develop standards we tend to do things that give us self satisfaction and self worth. Often our self side is conflicted with social pressure for the behavior and in such cases it is not unusual for people to endure hardships rather than see injustice prevailing. Same is the case with Arundhati Roy, she could not bear injustice prevailing and voices her opinion for the poor and in that process she had even gone to prison. Arundhati Roy’s ability to influence her environment even when she was in prison could be called as an example of reciprocal determinism.
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We would now analyze Arundhati Roy’s personality through the use of Big Five Personality Model by breaking her behavioral pattern down into a series of observable traits. The first is: EXTRAVERSION She stood against government over Narmada Dam issue, when almost whole nation kept mum. She believed that it would lead to thousands of people getting homeless and losing their land. At this time of crisis of others, she took a stand and spoke her mind out. Ever since then she has never turned her back and marched forward to seek justice and at least to speak on their behalf. AGREEABLENESS Whenever she puts forward her thoughts, media and critics start slamming her without giving a second thought to it. Emotions are always involved with her topic. Most people get hyper because of emotional content attached to it or couldn’t digest the other side of the story which she tends to show them. She is a rational person, one will find her warm and co-operative because her stands are backed up by solid logic and reasoning. It can be said that she is low on agreeableness because she act stubbornly on subject she believes in. CONSCIENTIOUSNESS Being an activist is a demanding job. There are lots of red-tapes to be cut. She constantly keeps her updated and makes rounds of government colliders. She is physically present at all the processions. She keeps her stuffs intact; it’s evident the way she prepared for the court trail. People whom she fought for came all the way long from Gujarat on her trial date because every single one of them believed that if she comes out their boat will reach safe shores. Interestingly she cried at seeing their overwhelming trust and tremendous support. EMOTIONAL STABILITY By all means she is calm and composed. She is high on self-confidence. She is emotionally stable. Losing a father at tender age, , living near walls Feroz Shah, Delhi, managing life post –divorce, getting her novel published without any formal education leave aside Bookers it received. All these show her confidence and determination to move forward in life which is roller-coaster journey. OPENNESS TO EXPERIENCE She is a writer which reflects her creativity. She has clear thought process. She is curious to learn, NBA wasn’t accidental .She read, analyzed and calculated all permutations and combinations, government statistics which was an eye –opener to her. People often term

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her as attention–seeker but she isn’t. Looking at her conferences, interviews and the way she carries herself one can easily be sure of her being cultured. When measured on the MBTI instrument we most likely related her to INFJ personality type i.e. (introversion, intuition, feeling, judging). These kind of people are concerned for others feelings and try to be gentle to avoid hurting anyone. They walk the path less taken and look past the surface for core meaning. They like to have things orderly and systematic, but at the same time they are entirely spontaneous. They help other people without getting noticed. If we introspect Arundhati Roy closely we would find all the characteristics of INFJ personality type in her. On various occasions she had shown these kinds of behavior and attitude that has led us to come to this conclusion. There are many cleverer people, just as concerned with injustices, which have more rounded and considered views. But there's nobody else who's as critically engaged with the state as she is and so willing to take it on. She is intensely readable – fluent, never solemn and always confident. She denies extraordinary self-belief, but it is only because she's never lived without it.

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In the form of Arundhati Roy we have got a person who critically engages the whole world with herself. Her opinions are direct and sharp and she doesn’t thinks twice before voicing it. She is the person who has the ability to connect the very smallest thing to the very biggest through her writings. She displays an honest and wildly creative expression of human yearning and joy. She has devoted whole of her life to fight for the injustice prevailing in India rejecting the peaceful life she could have got by simply being a writer. She has put her talent to use as an activist for several of the important issues facing India today. Her concern for the environment and for the people inhabiting it permeates her life, the social conscience that she exhibit may be read into her literature. In this project we have tried to show the personality traits of Arundhati Roy and the series of events that has led her to become the person she is now. The various personality traits which she holds can make any person to look forward to her. We tried to analyze her through various personality theories and tools. We tried to decipher what events and circumstances composed her life. It is evident that we can never answer the question, was nature or nurture more influential in her life but we can address through personality theories what roles do nature and nurture play in the development of a personality. One thing is for sure that Arundhati Roy’s place as a writer and social activist and that she was able to emerge as a person who could serve as medium for voicing the opinion of the oppressed is unquestionable.

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Cengage ORGB The God Of Small Things
DAM/AGE (documentary)

  displayType=interview

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