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The Ministry of Utmost
Happiness
By: Arundhati Roy
Department of English, MKBU
Presented on:- 29th January 2024
Presenters
- Drashti Joshi
- Payal Bambhaniya
- Hetal Pathak
- Insiyafatema Alvani
- Trushail Dodiya
- About Author
- Key Facts
- Important Characters
- Narrative Technique
- Plot overview
- Major Themes
- Symbols
- Research Articles
- References
About Author
- Born: November 24, 1959 in Shillong, Meghalaya, India
- Education: Studied architecture at Delhi School of Architecture and
Planning
- Career: Worked as a scriptwriter before publishing her first novel in 1997
- First novel: The God of Small Things (1997) - Won the Man Booker Prize
in 1997
- Literary style: Known for her poetic prose and unconventional narrative
style
- Political activism: Outspoken critic of India's social injustices, nuclear
policy, Kashmir conflict, environmental issues
- Major awards: Booker Prize (1997), Lannan Cultural Freedom Award
(2002), Sydney Peace Prize (2004), Sahitya Akademi Award (2006 -
declined)
- Major non-fiction works: The Cost of Living
(1999), Power Politics (2001), The Algebra of
Infinite Justice (2002), Listening to Grasshoppers
(2009)
- Social causes: Advocates for marginalized groups in
India, anti-globalization, environmentalist, human
rights activist
- Controversies: Faced arrests and contempt charges
for criticizing the Supreme Court and corruption
charges.
- Influence: One of India's most renowned
contemporary writers and activists. Voice for the
oppressed.
“I’ve always been slightly short with people who
say, ‘You haven’t written anything again,’ as if
all the nonfiction I’ve written is not writing,” -
Arundhati Roy(Deb)
“For me, everything I see and absorb, I
harness it, I turn it to my purpose which is to
tell stories.”
-Arundhati Roy (Barron)
Key Facts about Novel
- Full Title: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
- Where Written: Minnesota
- When Written: 2017
- When Published: 2017
- Literary Period: Contemporary Post Modern
- Genre: Postcolonial Literature, Magical Realism, Political Literature.
- Setting: India(2002)
- Total Pages: 449
- Narration: First and Third person Narration
- Antagonist: The Indian Government
- Climax: Tilo moves into jannat house funeral services to raise a baby
with Anjum
Drashti Joshi's learning outcome from the novel
'The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.
When I initially delved into the novel, my first thought was that I might not be able
to finish it, not due to its length but because of its complexity. After completing the
first 100 pages, I sensed a parallel between my diminishing happiness and Anjum's
struggles in accepting her own identity.
It felt like I was grappling with existential questions. Comparing Arundhati's novel
with works of other contemporary authors, such as Chetan Bhagat, highlights the
distinctiveness of their writing styles. Bhagat's novels can be consumed in a single
sitting, thanks to his straightforward style, whereas Arundhati's work demands a
more thoughtful and immersive reading experience.
Major Characters of the Novel:-
Part - I :- Khwabgah
■ Anjum/ Aftab - ( Son of Jahanara/ Hijra )
■ Mulaqat Ali - ( Father of Anjum )
■ Jahanara Begum - ( Mother of Anjum )
■ Alham Baaji - ( Midwife of Mulakat Ali )
■ Iman Ziauddin - ( Blind Imam )
■ Kulsumbi - ( Ustad of Khwabgah )
■ Nimmo Gorakhpuri
■ Bismillah - (Bimla )
■ Zainab - ( A Child ( Later on marries Saddam
Hussein ) )
■ Razia, Saeeda
■ Bombay Silk, Mary, Gudia & Bulbul
Part - II Graveyard/ Jannat
Guest House
■ Zakir Mian
■ Dr. Azad Bharatiya - ( One
from Protester )
■ Saddam Hussein - ( Dayachand
)
■ Sherawat
■ Mr. Agrwal
Part III - Kashmir and Dandakaranya
■ Biplav DasGupta ( IB )
■ Chitrarupa ( Wife of Biplav )
■ S. Tilottama ( Friend of Musa , Nagraj ( marries) Biplav )
■ Nagaraj Hariharan ( Journalism )
■ Musa Yeswi ( Terrorist )
■ Arifa Yeswi ( Wife of Musa )
■ Jebeen The First ( Died )
■ Captain Amrik Singh ( Officer )
■ Jalib Qadri ( Human Right Activist )
■ Loveleen Singh ( Wife of Amrik )
■ ACP Pinkey Sodhi ( Brutal Interrogator )
■ Balbir Sodhi ( Pinkey’s Brother)
■ Revathy ( Mother of Udaya )
■ Udaya ( Jebeen the Second )
Narrative Technique
■ The narrative uses foreshadowing and scattered techniques to connect the different
parts of the story. For example, Chapter 6 about the future of Miss Jebeen links
Anjum and Tilo's tales.
■ Different narrative techniques are used like third person omniscient narrator, first
person by Biplab Das, epistolary forms, news articles etc. This contributes to an
unreliable, biased narration at times.
■ There is extensive explanation and exposition, leaving little room for reader
interpretation. Character development is secondary to portraying the dystopia.
■ Autobiographical elements about Roy's own life are woven into Tilo's character. The
settings also mirror Roy's own home.
Learning Outcome
■ How to tell a shattered story?” “By slowly becoming everybody.
No. By slowly becoming everything.”
■ First of all I want to say that I like the storytelling, use of
multiple languages, and the beauty of Old Delhi.
https://youtu.be/zoEgc-OC9nk?si=vCC09hORuMfn6zIz
■ The novel deals with issues of religion, identities, caste and
political reality in contemporary india.
■ I feel deep empathy for some of the marginalised characters,
from the transgender Anjum to the lower caste Muslim Saddam
seeking freedom. Their stories may stir compassion for excluded
groups.
■ Anjum's story exemplifies claiming utmost happiness as an act of
resistance to assert one's humanity when systems fail to value a
person based on identity.
■ We may find happiness when someone gets justice, equality and
rights.
Plot overview :-
● In the novel five different worlds ; 1. Khwabgah 2. Jannat  Graveyard 3.
Jantar Mantar world 4. Kashmir and 5. Dandakaranya.
● The novel begins in Jannat Graveyard with a surreal image. ‘ she lived in a
graveyard like a tree.’ There is one character named imam Ziauddin who is an
old blind man became frequent companion of Anjum.
● In the second chapter of the novel, we enter khwabgah. Anjum was born as
Aftab to Jahanara begum and Mulakat Ali. Aftab had born with the genitals of
both male and female. The character of Ahlam Baiji , midwife of Mulakat Ali
announced that a boy child was born. Then the word ‘Hijra’ , ‘Kinnar’ was
there for the people like this child.
● Khwabgah means ‘Place of Dreams’ and Outside the Khwabgah means
‘Duniya wale.’ So, In the second chapter of the novel khwabgah world
introduced and the characters who are living there.
Further, Aftab in the market saw a beautiful lady and followed. That is how
reached khwabagh. Later on we came to know about the lady that she was
Bombay Silk. Begum Kulsoombi was the leader of this Khwabagh haveli
and she was very proud of the Hijra community.
Jahanara Begum taking Aftab to the Dargah of Hazrat sarmad. Then comes
the backstory of Hazrat sarmad that he came from the Iranian reign and in love
with the Abhaychand. He adopts islam language and also disowns it due to some
reasons. He used to roam naked in the time of king Aurangzeb.
Mulakat Ali is an Hakim who makes medicines. Both Jahanara Begum and
Mulakat Ali are not happy to live with a third - gender child. There comes a
backstory of Mulakat Ali as well as reference to changez khan. He was an anti-
islam. Along with that, the story of changez khan as a lover. His wife name was
Borte Khartum and he fought for his wife. Here, is a reference to Ramayana
also.
Aftab decides to live in khwabgah at the age of 15-16 and Anjum starts her own
life. One day when she visited to Jama Masjid found a baby of around three years
named zainab and brought her to khwabgah. slowly, Anjum becomes the mother
figure of Zainab.
There comes the character of saeed who is seen as Anti - Anjum or villain at
khwabgah. when Zainab reaches at the age when she is ready to go to school.
suddenly she suffered through ill health. so, Anjum decided to take her to Ajmer
sharif with zakir Mian. It was the period of 2002 and comes the scene of Godhra
kand. Riots were going on in which Zakir Mian was killed. ‘ Anjum was spared
because she was Hijra.’
After returning from Gujarat, Anjum completely changed. The effects of riots
changed her. she started flaunting himself as a man and also starts dressing zainab in
a boy’s dress. she left the world of Khwabgah and moves to Jannat / Graveyard.
Anjum built a house in graveyard and creates Jannat Guesthouse. Further, as the
story progress, Jannat guest house gets one permanent guest named Saddam Hussein.
He introduces himself working with the government hospital, which is near by
Graveyard. Saddam left his job and working as a security guard with private agency
handled by one of the character named sangeeta madam.
One day Saddam was caught lying that he is Muslim and it was caught by Anjum.
Then comes the backstory of saddam Hussein’s character and his real name was
Dayachand, a chamar from Haryana. In childhood, as a boy he witnessed his father’s
murder. so he thought that one day he will kill shehrawat, He has that desire of
revenge and deep hatred. He says that when he came Delhi, he saw America was
hanging Saddam Hussein that coming on T.v.
So, these visuals remains in the mind of Dayachand and that is why he adopted that
particular name thinking that one day he will take revenge.
Moving towards the world of Jantar Mantar, A group from Jannat guest house
decides to go to Jantar Mantar as there were lots of news about protests. But there are many
protests were going on. Like;
Mothers of the Disappeared [ Kashmiri Mothers]
Manipur Nationalists [ Women Against ARSPA]
Delhi Kabadiwala
Bhopalis - [ Fighting against union carbide]
At Jantar Mantar, one of the character Dr. Azad Bharti and has adopted the name ‘Azad’.
Suddenly a small baby was found on the footpaths. Anjum decides to take care of the baby
but some people said that they are Hijras so can’t take the baby. Then the character of Mr.
Agrawal comes and fights with Anjum. Between all these, suddenly the baby lost.
In the third part of the novel, it discuss about the world of kashmir. Here we find
the group of characters they are - Biplav Dasgupta , S. Tillotama, Nagraj
Hariharan and Musa Yeswi. - These four are college friends and story flashes back
to the college days and we come to know that all three characters like Biplav
Dasgupta, Nagraj or Naga and Musa attracted towards Tillotama during the college
days.
As the story moves, Biplav Dasgupta’s wife Chitrarupa and his two daughters Rabia
and Ania. The baby which was lost from Jantar Mantar was taken by Tillotama. Dr.
Azad Bharati is one such character who links all these characters and also suggests
Tillo that give the baby in Jannat’s guesthouse and that way all the characters get
connected with each other. The baby is known as Jebeen ( later Jebeen, the second).
The name of Musa’s wife arifa and their daughter lived in kashmir. In one of the
encounter, Musa’s wife and daughter killed accidentally and very tragic thing
happened. That leads Musa to be a terrorist.
Cap Amrik singh is a strict officer and somewhere believed that violence is
necessary while dealing with terrorists. Another character Jalil Qadri was caught and
his dead body was found. One day news came that captain Amrik singh killed his
family and did suicide. Everyone thought that it was Musa who went there and killed
them.
After seeing photos and documents Biplav came to know that Tillotama knows lot
many things. The character of Nagraj With an interview with Aijaz gets to know how
terrorist groups work. Almost all the characters are introduced in the novel except for
one that who is the mother of that baby named Jebeen second.
In the last 20 pages there is a long letter written by Revathy. The letter brings a
tragic story and Revathy was raped by six police officers and Udaya was the
daughter of 6 fathers and 3 mothers. ( Tilo, Revathy, Anjum). Udaya connects the
whole story.
The baby found at Jantar Mantar who was named Jebben, the second by S.
Tillotama in memory of his friend Musa and his wife Arifa. Later the baby was
known as Udaya Jebeen.
In the last scene of the novel Anjum was restless at night . Anjum and Udaya went
for a walk. In the ending part of the novel it seemed that he knew that everything will
end happily and beautifully as now the baby udaya Jabeen has come.
So, Ultimately Jebeen second is seen as the hope for everyone. The novel ends
hopefully.
Learning Outcome :-
❏ Multitude of Stories and characters
❏ Able to understand the back stories of all the characters
❏ Sort of Magic Realism - Arundhati Roy and Salman Rushdie
❏ Connecting the incidents and issues that we all are facing in
today’s time.
❏ Arundhati Roy’s use of satire through different characters.
❏ Political references - connecting the dots
Major Themes
■ Gender Identity, Social Division and Coexistence
■ Religion and Power
■ The Cost of Modernization
■ Social status in Contemporary India
■ How and Why Stories are Told
■ The Nature of Paradise
Gender Identity, Social Division and Coexistence
■ Anjum's trans experience shatters the limitations of binary gender norms,
showcasing the novel's exploration of a fluid and diverse spectrum of gender
identities.
■ Anjum navigates a society deeply divided by gender norms, facing discrimination
and exclusion throughout her life. Jannat Guest House offers a temporary haven,
albeit fragile, reflecting the challenges of coexistence in a fragmented society.
■ The lives of various characters, from Anjum to Tilo to Musa, showcase how
various identities like gender, religion, and social class intersect and influence
their experiences. Recognizing these interconnectedness is crucial for
understanding the complexities of social division and coexistence.
■ “Was it possible to live outside language?”.
■ “The fan had human qualities - she was coy, moody and unpredictable. She had a
name too, Usha.”
Religion and Power
■ The novel critiques the misuse of religion by powerful figures for political gain.
Gujarat ka Lalla's rise hinges on manipulating Hindu nationalism, demonizing
minorities and erasing their stories.
■ The novel criticizes both sides of religious extremism. Both Hindu nationalism,
seen in Gujarat ka Lalla's rise, and the hardline Kashmiri militants contribute to
violence and suffering, harming their own communities and weakening their
respective goals.
■ Novel warns us about the danger of mixing religion and politics. When religious
leaders gain political power, like some Hindu and Muslim figures in the novel, it
can fuel extremism and threaten our safety and freedom. Through portraying the
extremism of religiously affiliated political leadership among Hindus and
Muslims alike, Roy highlights the danger of lack of separation between church
and state poses to citizen safety and liberty.
The Cost of Modernization
■ The novel critiques rapid modernization, often seen as Westernization, occurring in
India during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. This "progress" is shown to be
destructive, particularly in its commercialization of culture and exploitation of
resources.
■ The costs of modernization fall heavily on those excluded from its benefits, including
farmers, beggars, and Kashmiris. These groups suffer literal and figurative deaths as
their lands, livelihoods, and even existence are threatened.
■ The Guest House symbolizes a space outside the norms of time and progress, offering
temporary solace from the harsh realities.
■ While India modernizes at a rapid pace, Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost
Happiness exposes the dark side of progress, highlighting the exploitation of
marginalized communities and the erosion of cultural identity for the sake of
economic gain.
Social status in Contemporary India
■ The novel highlights the plight of Dalits like Saddam Hussain, trapped in
a system relegating them to menial labor and excluded from full Indian
identity. Hindu nationalism intensifies this exclusion, viewing Dalits as
"traitors" due to their traditionally forbidden work.
■ India's Muslim community faces increased oppression as Hinduism aligns
with national identity. The incident at Jantar Mantar exemplifies
prejudices against Muslims, denying them basic human rights and Indian
belonging.
■ India’s progress comes at the expense of its poorest citizens, who are
forced to leave their homes or give up their land. These people simply
don’t “[count] as people”, and their entire existence is ignored or treated
as a problem by the Indian government.
How and Why Stories are Told
■ Stories serve purposes beyond truth, offering comfort, shaping identity, and
even potentially rewriting painful experiences like Anjum's "Flyover Story.”
In the novel visitor of Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed’s shrine comes up with their
own version of the story, “Sarmad’s spirit permitted those who came to him
to take his story and turn it into whatever they needed it to be.”
■ Powerful figures control narratives, erasing identities and histories like
Gujarat ka Lalla manipulating the Sound and Light show. Even stories are
commodified in "supermarkets of grief.”
■ The novel acknowledges the impossibility of one "true" story, demonstrating
this with conflicting accounts of Tilo's arrest. Embracing diverse
perspectives is crucial, avoiding the dangers of a single official narrative.
■ “If you like you can change every inch of me. I’m just a story”.
The Nature of Paradise
■ The title of the novel concerns on happiness, it .deals heavily with where
happiness can be found and what it consists of. Another way of putting this is
that the novel involves the search for paradise: a place of perfect pleasure and
contentment in the Abrahamic religions.
■ Khwabgah offers a glimmer of hope for marginalized Hijras, but it's more like
a beautiful dream than a real solution. Even though it welcomes people from
different backgrounds, it feels separate from the harsh realities of the outside
world. Its very name, "House of Dreams," reminds us that it's a temporary
escape, not a permanent fix to the problems faced by Hijras.
■ Jannat Guest House, literally meaning "Paradise," acts as a sanctuary for
outcasts. Yet, its location in a cemetery and fantastical elements suggest it's
both fragile and borders on the afterlife. The kind of paradise the novel
describes is one that exists alongside suffering and death.
Learning Outcome
■ Question of acceptance and discrimination for transgender in society exemplified by
the characters of Anjum’s struggle.
■ Narration technique intertwines the historical incident and poems for example by Mir
Taki Mir.
जिस सर को ग़ुरूर आि है य ाँ त ि-वरी क , कल उस पे यहीीं शोर है जिर नौह गरी क
The head which today proudly flaunts a crown Will tomorrow, right here, in
lamentation drow.
■ Diverse Narratives, Challenge One-sided Views, ‘The Only Story’.
■ Dangerous of blending religion and power, Maoism, Kashmir - relevance of
contemporary time.
■ Rooh Afza to Coca Cola Globalization.
● Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed
● The Old Man
● The Shiraz Cinema
● Motherhood
● Jannat Guest House and Funeral parlour
● Duniya and Jannat
● Bodies, Refuse and Internal Organs
● The Sound and Light Shaw
● Gujarat Ka Lalla
● The Color Saffron
● Vultures
● Gyuh Kyom, The Dung Beetle
Symbols
● Holy man in Indian Islamic tradition.
● Armenian Jew who converted to Islam, travelled to India in pursuit of a
Hindu man Abhay Chand
● Executed for apostasy due to religious doubts, refused to recite the Kalima
● Sarmad's shrine becomes a symbol of intense spirituality.
● Visitors are often unaware of the intricate details of his life.
● Shrine symbolizes love embracing diversity.
● Celebrates spirituality, simplicity, and ecstatic love.
● Sarmad and his shrine symbolize the acceptance of diverse forms of love.
● Reflects the novel's broader theme of celebrating differences and
individuality.
Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed
The Old Man
● Gains fame for a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar
● Symbolizes contemporary India's impasse.
● Hunger strike against corruption.
● Temporarily unites people of different beliefs and backgrounds in
a "happy meadow."
● Represents hope but manipulated by the elite.
● Protest loses substance, becomes about thrill.
● Hindu nationalists take control of the entire protest.
● Highlights tension between appearance and reality.
● Raises doubts about activism's true impact in societal challenges.
Motherhood
The Shiraz Cinema
● Symbol of Indian imperialism in
Kashmir.
● Initially shut down by “Allah Tigers”—
a group of Muslim Kashmiri separatists
who held that cinema halls were un-
Islamic and “vehicles of India’s
cultural aggression”
● Seized by Indian Army, turned into
interrogation center.
● Illustrates cultural and military
imperialism.
● Demonstrates dangers of extremism.
● Major motif reflecting personal and societal
concerns.
● Anjum’s mother Jahanara begum
● Revathy
● Tilo
● Anjum
● Charged issue for characters with varied
reasons.
● Motherhood linked to Indian nationalism.
● Characters redefine motherhood in inclusive
ways.
● Reflects complexity in defining Indian
identity.
Jannat Guest House
and Funeral Parlor
● Symbolizes inclusivity and
diversity.
● Safe haven for marginalized
individuals.
● Idealized form of a diverse India.
● Proximity to death signifies
tenuous existence.
● Represents a glimpse of spiritual
paradise.
● Motif exploring happiness, life, and death.
● "Duniya" (world) and "Jannat" (paradise) as
opposites.
● "Duniya" used by Hijras for life outside
Khwabgah, meaning "world."
● Places like Jannat Guest House and Khwabgah
seen as utopian havens, detached from societal
horrors.
● Khwabgah and similar places are portrayed as
necessary for those who can't conform to the
world's realities.
● Complexities blur lines between paradise and
reality.
Duniya and Jannat
● Recurring imagery reflecting cultural context.
● Dalit- Saddam Hussain
● Waste as symbol of resistance to status quo.
● Dalits protest by bombarding a government official's home with cow carcasses.
● "Surplus people" resist attempts to relocate them, emphasizing their bodies as a
problem.
● Anjum's act of peeing under a streetlight symbolizes the future lying in what's
historically considered unclean.
● Internal organs symbolize inner turmoil and division.
● Characters and countries learn to live with schisms.
Bodies, Refuse, and Internal Organs
Gujarat ka Lalla
● Symbolizes rewriting of official
stories.
● Celebrates India's past, inspires
national pride.
● Altered by Hindu nationalist
government.
● Illustrates impermanence of
accepted narratives.
● Reflects ongoing agenda-driven
storytelling.
The Sound and Light
Show
● Symbolizes Hindu nationalist
threat.
● Based on Narendra Modi.
● Rise to prominence after 2002
riots.
● Foreshadows danger for
characters.
● Represents looming threat of
Hindu nationalism
Vulture
● Represents violence of Hindu
extremist parties.
● Reference to Narendra Modi's
political party.
● Symbolizes religious violence in
the novel.
● Used by supporters in protests.
● Linked to trauma of religious
violence.
The Color Saffron
● Symbolizes unintended
casualties of modernization.
● Represents groups threatened by
social changes.
● Metaphorically portrays death
of questioning.
● Reflects impact of nationalist
agenda on diversity.
● Highlights dying throes of
plurality.
● Symbol of hope in the novel's ending.
● Humorous reference to an insect.
● Lying on its back with legs in the air to "save
the world."
● Metaphorical representation of eco-
sensitivity.
● Reflects hope for the earth's preservation.
Guih Kyom, the Dung Beetle
Reading the Book Cover
The cover of Arundhati Roy’s new novel The Ministry of
Utmost Happiness has been designed by David Eldridge.
The cover is a vertical picture of a decaying white marble
grave with a withered rose placed right below the book title.
One of the novel’s core settings is a graveyard – it becomes
very important in the story and it speaks to many of its themes
and ideas – so it felt right to reference that setting on the
jacket.
conveying light, eroding and distressing parts of the stone to
create the sense of age and decay.
the objects of beauty are in fact in the process of decay. Also,
there’s a tiny fly caught in time on the front of the book.(Roy)
- Audio
- Video
- Roy’s Voice
- Appropriate Images
- Music
- Experience it!(Roy)
E-Book/E-Literature
Research Papers/Articles/Book Review
Title Writer Journal/Publication Year
Political overtones and Allusions in
Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost
Happiness
Prashant Maurya,
Nagendra Kumar
Research Journal of
Humanities and Social
Sciences
2019
Ecofeminist study of Arundhati Roy’s The
Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Swati Choudhary International Journal of
Creative Research
Thoughts
2018
Political and Gender issues in Arundhati Roy’s
"The Ministry of Utmost Happiness"
Danish Suleman, Abdul
Halim Mohamed and
Md. Firoj Ahmmed
Indonesian Journal of
Cultural and Community
Development
2020
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness |
Women's Prize 2018 Review
Insert Literary Pun
Here
YouTube Video 2018
● The political overtones and allusions in The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.
● It provides background on the novel, which has two main storylines - one following a
transgender character named Anjum in Delhi, and another following the characters Tilo, Musa,
and Naga against the backdrop of the Kashmir conflict.
● Allusions to major political events, figures, and issues in contemporary India. These include the
1975 Emergency, the 2002 Gujarat riots, the rise of Hindu nationalism under Modi, corruption
protests, and cow vigilante violence.
● Through her allusions, Roy situates her characters amidst India's complex recent political
history. The analysis shows how she offers critique of figures like Indira Gandhi and Narendra
Modi.
● The article demonstrates how Roy uses allusions skillfully in the novel to highlight the plight of
marginalized communities in India and comment on its volatile political climate in recent
decades. (Maurya and Kumar)
Political overtones and Allusions in Arundhati Roy’s The
Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Prashant Maurya,
Nagendra Kumar
Ecofeminist study of Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of
Utmost Happiness by Swati Choudhary
● Ecofeminist lens- explores the connections between the exploitation of nature and the
oppression of women in patriarchal societies.
● Background on ecofeminism in India, tracing it back to movements like the Bishnois and
Chipko.
● Characterization of Anjum, a transgender woman who is marginalized by society. Roy
criticizes practices like testing on animals and the impacts of modernization on non-human
species.
● The plight of women in India, from Tilo's unhappy marriage to the exploitation of adivasi
women. It argues that Roy shows how the fates of women and nature are intertwined through
oppression by an uncaring patriarchy.
● Roy criticizes the modern development policy which has left no place to survive in the poisonous
environment for the non-human species to live.
● Ecofeminist perspectives in her novel to highlight the parallels between injustice against
women and the degradation of the natural world. It concludes that the novel encourages
embracing nature to transform gender issues.(Choudhary)
Political and Gender issues in Arundhati Roy’s "The Ministry of
Utmost Happiness" by Danish Suleman, Abdul Halim Mohamed and
Md. Firoj Ahmmed
■ Transgender identity: "In Urdu, the only language she knew, all things–carpets,
clothes, books, pens, and musical instruments –had a gender. Everything was
either masculine or feminine, man or woman. Everything except her baby.”
■ Women's oppression: Tilo- restrictions and inequalities faced by women in
India's patriarchal society- Rahel in ‘The God of Small Things’
■ Kashmir conflict: The violence and trauma endured by Kashmiris because of the
political conflict -the story of Tilo and Musa.
■ Marginalized voices: castes, religious minorities, and queer communities-
victimization by social and state oppression.
■ National identity: Crisis of national identity, feeling disconnected from the Indian
nation-state. Their desire for self-determination gestures at issues like
regionalism and separatism.(Suleman et al.)
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness | Women's Prize
2018 Review by Insert Literary Pun Here
● Why Read this novel?
● Don’t read for characters or plot
● A nonlinear plot and explores India's national character, highlighting issues,
mentalities, and scenarios that are uniquely Indian.
● India belongs to Hindu- Hindi Language
● Different protects happening at the same time
● Comparison with One Hundred Years of Solitude- a Novel by Gabriel García
Márquez
● The chaotic and devastating military conflict in Kashmir and notes the novel's
departure from cinematic influences
● Straight-up novel (Insert Literary Pun Here)
Learning Outcome
■ Connecting the current political milieu
■ Religious dominance- Debate over one nation one
language- Saffron Color
■ Roy’s vision
■ Hypocrisy - Hazrat Sarmad- The Joys of Motherhood-
Praying to and Going to Babas
■ Why don’t we question?
■ Reading the cover- Ideas for the cover
Memorabilia☺️
References
Barron, Nicholas. “14 Powerful Arundhati Roy Quotes to Inspire, Fuel, and Feed Your Writing.” Wikipedia,
https://nicholasebarron.medium.com/14-powerful-arundhati-roy-quotes-to-inspire-fuel-and-feed-your-writing-
2336e0b7ea5e. Accessed 24 January 2024.
Chakraborty, Angshukanta. “Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is a literary castration of the
hypermasculine nation.” dailyO, 9 November 2017, https://www.dailyo.in/arts/arundhati-roy-the-ministry-of-
utmost-happiness-review-hypernationalism-toxic-masculinity/story/1/17667.html. Accessed 28 January 2024.
Choudhary, Swati. “Ecofeminist study of Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.” International Journal of
Creative Research Thought, vol. 6, no. 2, 2018. IJCRT, https://www.ijcrt.org/papers/IJCRT1892966.pdf . Accessed
28 1 2024.
Deb, Siddhartha. “Arundhati Roy, the Not-So-Reluctant Renegade.” The New York Times, 5 March 2014,
https://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/09/magazine/arundhati-roy-the-not-so-reluctant-renegade.html. Accessed 24
January 2024.
DoE-MKBU. Symbols and Motifs | The Ministry of Utmost Happiness | Arundhati Roy. 2021. YouTube,
https://youtu.be/UbBOqLB487U?si=ND2Or2WiV7TdvJDi.
Insert Literary Pun Here. “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness | Women's Prize 2018 Review.” YouTube, 9 November
2018, https://youtu.be/tCx6sB5ImIc?si=0X1tPGK2L2fObmmN. Accessed 28 January 2024.
Kumar, Rajneesh, and Nakul Kundra. “Violence of Police and Army in Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: A
Thematic Study.” Violence of Police and Army in Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness:A Thematic Study |
Psychosocial, https://www.psychosocial.com/article/PR201023/11486. Accessed 29 January 2024.
Maurya, Prashant, and Nagendra Kumar. “Political overtones and Allusions in Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost
Happiness.” Research Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, vol. 10, no. 3, 2019.
https://www.rjhssonline.com/AbstractView.aspx?PID=2019-10-3-16. Accessed 28 1 2024.
Mukhopadhyay, Papri. “(PDF) HISTORICAL REFERENCES IN ARUNDHATI ROY'STHE MINISTRY OF UTMOST
HAPPINESS: AN ANALYSIS.” ResearchGate, 5 July 2023,
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/372133340_HISTORICAL_REFERENCES_IN_ARUNDHATI_ROY'S
THE_MINISTRY_OF_UTMOST_HAPPINESS_AN_ANALYSIS. Accessed 29 January 2024.
Roy, Arundhati. “The Color Saffron Symbol in The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.” LitCharts,
https://www.litcharts.com/lit/the-ministry-of-utmost-happiness/symbols/the-color-saffron. Accessed 28
January 2024.
Roy, Arundhati. “First look at The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy.” Penguin Books, 25 January
2017, https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2017/01/the-ministry-of-utmost-happiness. Accessed 27 January
2024.
Roy, Arundhati. “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.” Re:Reader | The Ministry of Utmost Happiness,
https://theministryofutmosthappiness.com/. Accessed 27 January 2024.
Roy, Arundhati. “The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness Symbols & Motifs.” SuperSummary,
https://www.supersummary.com/the-ministry-of-utmost-happiness/symbols-and-motifs/. Accessed 28
January 2024.
Suleman, Danish, et al. “Political and Gender issues in Arundhati Roy’s "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness."”
Indonesian Journal of Cultural and Community Development, vol. 5, 2020.
https://ijccd.umsida.ac.id/index.php/ijccd/article/view/288.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

  • 1. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness By: Arundhati Roy Department of English, MKBU Presented on:- 29th January 2024
  • 2. Presenters - Drashti Joshi - Payal Bambhaniya - Hetal Pathak - Insiyafatema Alvani - Trushail Dodiya
  • 3. - About Author - Key Facts - Important Characters - Narrative Technique - Plot overview - Major Themes - Symbols - Research Articles - References
  • 4. About Author - Born: November 24, 1959 in Shillong, Meghalaya, India - Education: Studied architecture at Delhi School of Architecture and Planning - Career: Worked as a scriptwriter before publishing her first novel in 1997 - First novel: The God of Small Things (1997) - Won the Man Booker Prize in 1997 - Literary style: Known for her poetic prose and unconventional narrative style - Political activism: Outspoken critic of India's social injustices, nuclear policy, Kashmir conflict, environmental issues - Major awards: Booker Prize (1997), Lannan Cultural Freedom Award (2002), Sydney Peace Prize (2004), Sahitya Akademi Award (2006 - declined)
  • 5. - Major non-fiction works: The Cost of Living (1999), Power Politics (2001), The Algebra of Infinite Justice (2002), Listening to Grasshoppers (2009) - Social causes: Advocates for marginalized groups in India, anti-globalization, environmentalist, human rights activist - Controversies: Faced arrests and contempt charges for criticizing the Supreme Court and corruption charges. - Influence: One of India's most renowned contemporary writers and activists. Voice for the oppressed.
  • 6. “I’ve always been slightly short with people who say, ‘You haven’t written anything again,’ as if all the nonfiction I’ve written is not writing,” - Arundhati Roy(Deb) “For me, everything I see and absorb, I harness it, I turn it to my purpose which is to tell stories.” -Arundhati Roy (Barron)
  • 7. Key Facts about Novel - Full Title: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness - Where Written: Minnesota - When Written: 2017 - When Published: 2017 - Literary Period: Contemporary Post Modern - Genre: Postcolonial Literature, Magical Realism, Political Literature. - Setting: India(2002) - Total Pages: 449 - Narration: First and Third person Narration - Antagonist: The Indian Government - Climax: Tilo moves into jannat house funeral services to raise a baby with Anjum
  • 8. Drashti Joshi's learning outcome from the novel 'The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. When I initially delved into the novel, my first thought was that I might not be able to finish it, not due to its length but because of its complexity. After completing the first 100 pages, I sensed a parallel between my diminishing happiness and Anjum's struggles in accepting her own identity. It felt like I was grappling with existential questions. Comparing Arundhati's novel with works of other contemporary authors, such as Chetan Bhagat, highlights the distinctiveness of their writing styles. Bhagat's novels can be consumed in a single sitting, thanks to his straightforward style, whereas Arundhati's work demands a more thoughtful and immersive reading experience.
  • 9. Major Characters of the Novel:- Part - I :- Khwabgah ■ Anjum/ Aftab - ( Son of Jahanara/ Hijra ) ■ Mulaqat Ali - ( Father of Anjum ) ■ Jahanara Begum - ( Mother of Anjum ) ■ Alham Baaji - ( Midwife of Mulakat Ali ) ■ Iman Ziauddin - ( Blind Imam ) ■ Kulsumbi - ( Ustad of Khwabgah ) ■ Nimmo Gorakhpuri ■ Bismillah - (Bimla ) ■ Zainab - ( A Child ( Later on marries Saddam Hussein ) ) ■ Razia, Saeeda ■ Bombay Silk, Mary, Gudia & Bulbul Part - II Graveyard/ Jannat Guest House ■ Zakir Mian ■ Dr. Azad Bharatiya - ( One from Protester ) ■ Saddam Hussein - ( Dayachand ) ■ Sherawat ■ Mr. Agrwal
  • 10. Part III - Kashmir and Dandakaranya ■ Biplav DasGupta ( IB ) ■ Chitrarupa ( Wife of Biplav ) ■ S. Tilottama ( Friend of Musa , Nagraj ( marries) Biplav ) ■ Nagaraj Hariharan ( Journalism ) ■ Musa Yeswi ( Terrorist ) ■ Arifa Yeswi ( Wife of Musa ) ■ Jebeen The First ( Died ) ■ Captain Amrik Singh ( Officer ) ■ Jalib Qadri ( Human Right Activist ) ■ Loveleen Singh ( Wife of Amrik ) ■ ACP Pinkey Sodhi ( Brutal Interrogator ) ■ Balbir Sodhi ( Pinkey’s Brother) ■ Revathy ( Mother of Udaya ) ■ Udaya ( Jebeen the Second )
  • 11. Narrative Technique ■ The narrative uses foreshadowing and scattered techniques to connect the different parts of the story. For example, Chapter 6 about the future of Miss Jebeen links Anjum and Tilo's tales. ■ Different narrative techniques are used like third person omniscient narrator, first person by Biplab Das, epistolary forms, news articles etc. This contributes to an unreliable, biased narration at times. ■ There is extensive explanation and exposition, leaving little room for reader interpretation. Character development is secondary to portraying the dystopia. ■ Autobiographical elements about Roy's own life are woven into Tilo's character. The settings also mirror Roy's own home.
  • 12. Learning Outcome ■ How to tell a shattered story?” “By slowly becoming everybody. No. By slowly becoming everything.” ■ First of all I want to say that I like the storytelling, use of multiple languages, and the beauty of Old Delhi. https://youtu.be/zoEgc-OC9nk?si=vCC09hORuMfn6zIz ■ The novel deals with issues of religion, identities, caste and political reality in contemporary india. ■ I feel deep empathy for some of the marginalised characters, from the transgender Anjum to the lower caste Muslim Saddam seeking freedom. Their stories may stir compassion for excluded groups. ■ Anjum's story exemplifies claiming utmost happiness as an act of resistance to assert one's humanity when systems fail to value a person based on identity. ■ We may find happiness when someone gets justice, equality and rights.
  • 13. Plot overview :- ● In the novel five different worlds ; 1. Khwabgah 2. Jannat Graveyard 3. Jantar Mantar world 4. Kashmir and 5. Dandakaranya. ● The novel begins in Jannat Graveyard with a surreal image. ‘ she lived in a graveyard like a tree.’ There is one character named imam Ziauddin who is an old blind man became frequent companion of Anjum. ● In the second chapter of the novel, we enter khwabgah. Anjum was born as Aftab to Jahanara begum and Mulakat Ali. Aftab had born with the genitals of both male and female. The character of Ahlam Baiji , midwife of Mulakat Ali announced that a boy child was born. Then the word ‘Hijra’ , ‘Kinnar’ was there for the people like this child. ● Khwabgah means ‘Place of Dreams’ and Outside the Khwabgah means ‘Duniya wale.’ So, In the second chapter of the novel khwabgah world introduced and the characters who are living there.
  • 14. Further, Aftab in the market saw a beautiful lady and followed. That is how reached khwabagh. Later on we came to know about the lady that she was Bombay Silk. Begum Kulsoombi was the leader of this Khwabagh haveli and she was very proud of the Hijra community. Jahanara Begum taking Aftab to the Dargah of Hazrat sarmad. Then comes the backstory of Hazrat sarmad that he came from the Iranian reign and in love with the Abhaychand. He adopts islam language and also disowns it due to some reasons. He used to roam naked in the time of king Aurangzeb. Mulakat Ali is an Hakim who makes medicines. Both Jahanara Begum and Mulakat Ali are not happy to live with a third - gender child. There comes a backstory of Mulakat Ali as well as reference to changez khan. He was an anti- islam. Along with that, the story of changez khan as a lover. His wife name was Borte Khartum and he fought for his wife. Here, is a reference to Ramayana also.
  • 15. Aftab decides to live in khwabgah at the age of 15-16 and Anjum starts her own life. One day when she visited to Jama Masjid found a baby of around three years named zainab and brought her to khwabgah. slowly, Anjum becomes the mother figure of Zainab. There comes the character of saeed who is seen as Anti - Anjum or villain at khwabgah. when Zainab reaches at the age when she is ready to go to school. suddenly she suffered through ill health. so, Anjum decided to take her to Ajmer sharif with zakir Mian. It was the period of 2002 and comes the scene of Godhra kand. Riots were going on in which Zakir Mian was killed. ‘ Anjum was spared because she was Hijra.’ After returning from Gujarat, Anjum completely changed. The effects of riots changed her. she started flaunting himself as a man and also starts dressing zainab in a boy’s dress. she left the world of Khwabgah and moves to Jannat / Graveyard.
  • 16. Anjum built a house in graveyard and creates Jannat Guesthouse. Further, as the story progress, Jannat guest house gets one permanent guest named Saddam Hussein. He introduces himself working with the government hospital, which is near by Graveyard. Saddam left his job and working as a security guard with private agency handled by one of the character named sangeeta madam. One day Saddam was caught lying that he is Muslim and it was caught by Anjum. Then comes the backstory of saddam Hussein’s character and his real name was Dayachand, a chamar from Haryana. In childhood, as a boy he witnessed his father’s murder. so he thought that one day he will kill shehrawat, He has that desire of revenge and deep hatred. He says that when he came Delhi, he saw America was hanging Saddam Hussein that coming on T.v. So, these visuals remains in the mind of Dayachand and that is why he adopted that particular name thinking that one day he will take revenge.
  • 17. Moving towards the world of Jantar Mantar, A group from Jannat guest house decides to go to Jantar Mantar as there were lots of news about protests. But there are many protests were going on. Like; Mothers of the Disappeared [ Kashmiri Mothers] Manipur Nationalists [ Women Against ARSPA] Delhi Kabadiwala Bhopalis - [ Fighting against union carbide] At Jantar Mantar, one of the character Dr. Azad Bharti and has adopted the name ‘Azad’. Suddenly a small baby was found on the footpaths. Anjum decides to take care of the baby but some people said that they are Hijras so can’t take the baby. Then the character of Mr. Agrawal comes and fights with Anjum. Between all these, suddenly the baby lost.
  • 18. In the third part of the novel, it discuss about the world of kashmir. Here we find the group of characters they are - Biplav Dasgupta , S. Tillotama, Nagraj Hariharan and Musa Yeswi. - These four are college friends and story flashes back to the college days and we come to know that all three characters like Biplav Dasgupta, Nagraj or Naga and Musa attracted towards Tillotama during the college days. As the story moves, Biplav Dasgupta’s wife Chitrarupa and his two daughters Rabia and Ania. The baby which was lost from Jantar Mantar was taken by Tillotama. Dr. Azad Bharati is one such character who links all these characters and also suggests Tillo that give the baby in Jannat’s guesthouse and that way all the characters get connected with each other. The baby is known as Jebeen ( later Jebeen, the second). The name of Musa’s wife arifa and their daughter lived in kashmir. In one of the encounter, Musa’s wife and daughter killed accidentally and very tragic thing happened. That leads Musa to be a terrorist.
  • 19. Cap Amrik singh is a strict officer and somewhere believed that violence is necessary while dealing with terrorists. Another character Jalil Qadri was caught and his dead body was found. One day news came that captain Amrik singh killed his family and did suicide. Everyone thought that it was Musa who went there and killed them. After seeing photos and documents Biplav came to know that Tillotama knows lot many things. The character of Nagraj With an interview with Aijaz gets to know how terrorist groups work. Almost all the characters are introduced in the novel except for one that who is the mother of that baby named Jebeen second. In the last 20 pages there is a long letter written by Revathy. The letter brings a tragic story and Revathy was raped by six police officers and Udaya was the daughter of 6 fathers and 3 mothers. ( Tilo, Revathy, Anjum). Udaya connects the whole story.
  • 20. The baby found at Jantar Mantar who was named Jebben, the second by S. Tillotama in memory of his friend Musa and his wife Arifa. Later the baby was known as Udaya Jebeen. In the last scene of the novel Anjum was restless at night . Anjum and Udaya went for a walk. In the ending part of the novel it seemed that he knew that everything will end happily and beautifully as now the baby udaya Jabeen has come. So, Ultimately Jebeen second is seen as the hope for everyone. The novel ends hopefully.
  • 21. Learning Outcome :- ❏ Multitude of Stories and characters ❏ Able to understand the back stories of all the characters ❏ Sort of Magic Realism - Arundhati Roy and Salman Rushdie ❏ Connecting the incidents and issues that we all are facing in today’s time. ❏ Arundhati Roy’s use of satire through different characters. ❏ Political references - connecting the dots
  • 22. Major Themes ■ Gender Identity, Social Division and Coexistence ■ Religion and Power ■ The Cost of Modernization ■ Social status in Contemporary India ■ How and Why Stories are Told ■ The Nature of Paradise
  • 23. Gender Identity, Social Division and Coexistence ■ Anjum's trans experience shatters the limitations of binary gender norms, showcasing the novel's exploration of a fluid and diverse spectrum of gender identities. ■ Anjum navigates a society deeply divided by gender norms, facing discrimination and exclusion throughout her life. Jannat Guest House offers a temporary haven, albeit fragile, reflecting the challenges of coexistence in a fragmented society. ■ The lives of various characters, from Anjum to Tilo to Musa, showcase how various identities like gender, religion, and social class intersect and influence their experiences. Recognizing these interconnectedness is crucial for understanding the complexities of social division and coexistence. ■ “Was it possible to live outside language?”. ■ “The fan had human qualities - she was coy, moody and unpredictable. She had a name too, Usha.”
  • 24. Religion and Power ■ The novel critiques the misuse of religion by powerful figures for political gain. Gujarat ka Lalla's rise hinges on manipulating Hindu nationalism, demonizing minorities and erasing their stories. ■ The novel criticizes both sides of religious extremism. Both Hindu nationalism, seen in Gujarat ka Lalla's rise, and the hardline Kashmiri militants contribute to violence and suffering, harming their own communities and weakening their respective goals. ■ Novel warns us about the danger of mixing religion and politics. When religious leaders gain political power, like some Hindu and Muslim figures in the novel, it can fuel extremism and threaten our safety and freedom. Through portraying the extremism of religiously affiliated political leadership among Hindus and Muslims alike, Roy highlights the danger of lack of separation between church and state poses to citizen safety and liberty.
  • 25. The Cost of Modernization ■ The novel critiques rapid modernization, often seen as Westernization, occurring in India during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. This "progress" is shown to be destructive, particularly in its commercialization of culture and exploitation of resources. ■ The costs of modernization fall heavily on those excluded from its benefits, including farmers, beggars, and Kashmiris. These groups suffer literal and figurative deaths as their lands, livelihoods, and even existence are threatened. ■ The Guest House symbolizes a space outside the norms of time and progress, offering temporary solace from the harsh realities. ■ While India modernizes at a rapid pace, Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness exposes the dark side of progress, highlighting the exploitation of marginalized communities and the erosion of cultural identity for the sake of economic gain.
  • 26. Social status in Contemporary India ■ The novel highlights the plight of Dalits like Saddam Hussain, trapped in a system relegating them to menial labor and excluded from full Indian identity. Hindu nationalism intensifies this exclusion, viewing Dalits as "traitors" due to their traditionally forbidden work. ■ India's Muslim community faces increased oppression as Hinduism aligns with national identity. The incident at Jantar Mantar exemplifies prejudices against Muslims, denying them basic human rights and Indian belonging. ■ India’s progress comes at the expense of its poorest citizens, who are forced to leave their homes or give up their land. These people simply don’t “[count] as people”, and their entire existence is ignored or treated as a problem by the Indian government.
  • 27. How and Why Stories are Told ■ Stories serve purposes beyond truth, offering comfort, shaping identity, and even potentially rewriting painful experiences like Anjum's "Flyover Story.” In the novel visitor of Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed’s shrine comes up with their own version of the story, “Sarmad’s spirit permitted those who came to him to take his story and turn it into whatever they needed it to be.” ■ Powerful figures control narratives, erasing identities and histories like Gujarat ka Lalla manipulating the Sound and Light show. Even stories are commodified in "supermarkets of grief.” ■ The novel acknowledges the impossibility of one "true" story, demonstrating this with conflicting accounts of Tilo's arrest. Embracing diverse perspectives is crucial, avoiding the dangers of a single official narrative. ■ “If you like you can change every inch of me. I’m just a story”.
  • 28. The Nature of Paradise ■ The title of the novel concerns on happiness, it .deals heavily with where happiness can be found and what it consists of. Another way of putting this is that the novel involves the search for paradise: a place of perfect pleasure and contentment in the Abrahamic religions. ■ Khwabgah offers a glimmer of hope for marginalized Hijras, but it's more like a beautiful dream than a real solution. Even though it welcomes people from different backgrounds, it feels separate from the harsh realities of the outside world. Its very name, "House of Dreams," reminds us that it's a temporary escape, not a permanent fix to the problems faced by Hijras. ■ Jannat Guest House, literally meaning "Paradise," acts as a sanctuary for outcasts. Yet, its location in a cemetery and fantastical elements suggest it's both fragile and borders on the afterlife. The kind of paradise the novel describes is one that exists alongside suffering and death.
  • 29. Learning Outcome ■ Question of acceptance and discrimination for transgender in society exemplified by the characters of Anjum’s struggle. ■ Narration technique intertwines the historical incident and poems for example by Mir Taki Mir. जिस सर को ग़ुरूर आि है य ाँ त ि-वरी क , कल उस पे यहीीं शोर है जिर नौह गरी क The head which today proudly flaunts a crown Will tomorrow, right here, in lamentation drow. ■ Diverse Narratives, Challenge One-sided Views, ‘The Only Story’. ■ Dangerous of blending religion and power, Maoism, Kashmir - relevance of contemporary time. ■ Rooh Afza to Coca Cola Globalization.
  • 30. ● Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed ● The Old Man ● The Shiraz Cinema ● Motherhood ● Jannat Guest House and Funeral parlour ● Duniya and Jannat ● Bodies, Refuse and Internal Organs ● The Sound and Light Shaw ● Gujarat Ka Lalla ● The Color Saffron ● Vultures ● Gyuh Kyom, The Dung Beetle Symbols
  • 31. ● Holy man in Indian Islamic tradition. ● Armenian Jew who converted to Islam, travelled to India in pursuit of a Hindu man Abhay Chand ● Executed for apostasy due to religious doubts, refused to recite the Kalima ● Sarmad's shrine becomes a symbol of intense spirituality. ● Visitors are often unaware of the intricate details of his life. ● Shrine symbolizes love embracing diversity. ● Celebrates spirituality, simplicity, and ecstatic love. ● Sarmad and his shrine symbolize the acceptance of diverse forms of love. ● Reflects the novel's broader theme of celebrating differences and individuality. Hazrat Sarmad Shaheed
  • 32. The Old Man ● Gains fame for a hunger strike at Jantar Mantar ● Symbolizes contemporary India's impasse. ● Hunger strike against corruption. ● Temporarily unites people of different beliefs and backgrounds in a "happy meadow." ● Represents hope but manipulated by the elite. ● Protest loses substance, becomes about thrill. ● Hindu nationalists take control of the entire protest. ● Highlights tension between appearance and reality. ● Raises doubts about activism's true impact in societal challenges.
  • 33. Motherhood The Shiraz Cinema ● Symbol of Indian imperialism in Kashmir. ● Initially shut down by “Allah Tigers”— a group of Muslim Kashmiri separatists who held that cinema halls were un- Islamic and “vehicles of India’s cultural aggression” ● Seized by Indian Army, turned into interrogation center. ● Illustrates cultural and military imperialism. ● Demonstrates dangers of extremism. ● Major motif reflecting personal and societal concerns. ● Anjum’s mother Jahanara begum ● Revathy ● Tilo ● Anjum ● Charged issue for characters with varied reasons. ● Motherhood linked to Indian nationalism. ● Characters redefine motherhood in inclusive ways. ● Reflects complexity in defining Indian identity.
  • 34. Jannat Guest House and Funeral Parlor ● Symbolizes inclusivity and diversity. ● Safe haven for marginalized individuals. ● Idealized form of a diverse India. ● Proximity to death signifies tenuous existence. ● Represents a glimpse of spiritual paradise. ● Motif exploring happiness, life, and death. ● "Duniya" (world) and "Jannat" (paradise) as opposites. ● "Duniya" used by Hijras for life outside Khwabgah, meaning "world." ● Places like Jannat Guest House and Khwabgah seen as utopian havens, detached from societal horrors. ● Khwabgah and similar places are portrayed as necessary for those who can't conform to the world's realities. ● Complexities blur lines between paradise and reality. Duniya and Jannat
  • 35. ● Recurring imagery reflecting cultural context. ● Dalit- Saddam Hussain ● Waste as symbol of resistance to status quo. ● Dalits protest by bombarding a government official's home with cow carcasses. ● "Surplus people" resist attempts to relocate them, emphasizing their bodies as a problem. ● Anjum's act of peeing under a streetlight symbolizes the future lying in what's historically considered unclean. ● Internal organs symbolize inner turmoil and division. ● Characters and countries learn to live with schisms. Bodies, Refuse, and Internal Organs
  • 36. Gujarat ka Lalla ● Symbolizes rewriting of official stories. ● Celebrates India's past, inspires national pride. ● Altered by Hindu nationalist government. ● Illustrates impermanence of accepted narratives. ● Reflects ongoing agenda-driven storytelling. The Sound and Light Show ● Symbolizes Hindu nationalist threat. ● Based on Narendra Modi. ● Rise to prominence after 2002 riots. ● Foreshadows danger for characters. ● Represents looming threat of Hindu nationalism
  • 37. Vulture ● Represents violence of Hindu extremist parties. ● Reference to Narendra Modi's political party. ● Symbolizes religious violence in the novel. ● Used by supporters in protests. ● Linked to trauma of religious violence. The Color Saffron ● Symbolizes unintended casualties of modernization. ● Represents groups threatened by social changes. ● Metaphorically portrays death of questioning. ● Reflects impact of nationalist agenda on diversity. ● Highlights dying throes of plurality.
  • 38. ● Symbol of hope in the novel's ending. ● Humorous reference to an insect. ● Lying on its back with legs in the air to "save the world." ● Metaphorical representation of eco- sensitivity. ● Reflects hope for the earth's preservation. Guih Kyom, the Dung Beetle
  • 39. Reading the Book Cover The cover of Arundhati Roy’s new novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness has been designed by David Eldridge. The cover is a vertical picture of a decaying white marble grave with a withered rose placed right below the book title. One of the novel’s core settings is a graveyard – it becomes very important in the story and it speaks to many of its themes and ideas – so it felt right to reference that setting on the jacket. conveying light, eroding and distressing parts of the stone to create the sense of age and decay. the objects of beauty are in fact in the process of decay. Also, there’s a tiny fly caught in time on the front of the book.(Roy)
  • 40. - Audio - Video - Roy’s Voice - Appropriate Images - Music - Experience it!(Roy) E-Book/E-Literature
  • 41. Research Papers/Articles/Book Review Title Writer Journal/Publication Year Political overtones and Allusions in Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness Prashant Maurya, Nagendra Kumar Research Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences 2019 Ecofeminist study of Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness Swati Choudhary International Journal of Creative Research Thoughts 2018 Political and Gender issues in Arundhati Roy’s "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness" Danish Suleman, Abdul Halim Mohamed and Md. Firoj Ahmmed Indonesian Journal of Cultural and Community Development 2020 The Ministry of Utmost Happiness | Women's Prize 2018 Review Insert Literary Pun Here YouTube Video 2018
  • 42. ● The political overtones and allusions in The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. ● It provides background on the novel, which has two main storylines - one following a transgender character named Anjum in Delhi, and another following the characters Tilo, Musa, and Naga against the backdrop of the Kashmir conflict. ● Allusions to major political events, figures, and issues in contemporary India. These include the 1975 Emergency, the 2002 Gujarat riots, the rise of Hindu nationalism under Modi, corruption protests, and cow vigilante violence. ● Through her allusions, Roy situates her characters amidst India's complex recent political history. The analysis shows how she offers critique of figures like Indira Gandhi and Narendra Modi. ● The article demonstrates how Roy uses allusions skillfully in the novel to highlight the plight of marginalized communities in India and comment on its volatile political climate in recent decades. (Maurya and Kumar) Political overtones and Allusions in Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Prashant Maurya, Nagendra Kumar
  • 43. Ecofeminist study of Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Swati Choudhary ● Ecofeminist lens- explores the connections between the exploitation of nature and the oppression of women in patriarchal societies. ● Background on ecofeminism in India, tracing it back to movements like the Bishnois and Chipko. ● Characterization of Anjum, a transgender woman who is marginalized by society. Roy criticizes practices like testing on animals and the impacts of modernization on non-human species. ● The plight of women in India, from Tilo's unhappy marriage to the exploitation of adivasi women. It argues that Roy shows how the fates of women and nature are intertwined through oppression by an uncaring patriarchy. ● Roy criticizes the modern development policy which has left no place to survive in the poisonous environment for the non-human species to live. ● Ecofeminist perspectives in her novel to highlight the parallels between injustice against women and the degradation of the natural world. It concludes that the novel encourages embracing nature to transform gender issues.(Choudhary)
  • 44. Political and Gender issues in Arundhati Roy’s "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness" by Danish Suleman, Abdul Halim Mohamed and Md. Firoj Ahmmed ■ Transgender identity: "In Urdu, the only language she knew, all things–carpets, clothes, books, pens, and musical instruments –had a gender. Everything was either masculine or feminine, man or woman. Everything except her baby.” ■ Women's oppression: Tilo- restrictions and inequalities faced by women in India's patriarchal society- Rahel in ‘The God of Small Things’ ■ Kashmir conflict: The violence and trauma endured by Kashmiris because of the political conflict -the story of Tilo and Musa. ■ Marginalized voices: castes, religious minorities, and queer communities- victimization by social and state oppression. ■ National identity: Crisis of national identity, feeling disconnected from the Indian nation-state. Their desire for self-determination gestures at issues like regionalism and separatism.(Suleman et al.)
  • 45. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness | Women's Prize 2018 Review by Insert Literary Pun Here ● Why Read this novel? ● Don’t read for characters or plot ● A nonlinear plot and explores India's national character, highlighting issues, mentalities, and scenarios that are uniquely Indian. ● India belongs to Hindu- Hindi Language ● Different protects happening at the same time ● Comparison with One Hundred Years of Solitude- a Novel by Gabriel García Márquez ● The chaotic and devastating military conflict in Kashmir and notes the novel's departure from cinematic influences ● Straight-up novel (Insert Literary Pun Here)
  • 46. Learning Outcome ■ Connecting the current political milieu ■ Religious dominance- Debate over one nation one language- Saffron Color ■ Roy’s vision ■ Hypocrisy - Hazrat Sarmad- The Joys of Motherhood- Praying to and Going to Babas ■ Why don’t we question? ■ Reading the cover- Ideas for the cover Memorabilia☺️
  • 47. References Barron, Nicholas. “14 Powerful Arundhati Roy Quotes to Inspire, Fuel, and Feed Your Writing.” Wikipedia, https://nicholasebarron.medium.com/14-powerful-arundhati-roy-quotes-to-inspire-fuel-and-feed-your-writing- 2336e0b7ea5e. Accessed 24 January 2024. Chakraborty, Angshukanta. “Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is a literary castration of the hypermasculine nation.” dailyO, 9 November 2017, https://www.dailyo.in/arts/arundhati-roy-the-ministry-of- utmost-happiness-review-hypernationalism-toxic-masculinity/story/1/17667.html. Accessed 28 January 2024. Choudhary, Swati. “Ecofeminist study of Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.” International Journal of Creative Research Thought, vol. 6, no. 2, 2018. IJCRT, https://www.ijcrt.org/papers/IJCRT1892966.pdf . Accessed 28 1 2024. Deb, Siddhartha. “Arundhati Roy, the Not-So-Reluctant Renegade.” The New York Times, 5 March 2014, https://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/09/magazine/arundhati-roy-the-not-so-reluctant-renegade.html. Accessed 24 January 2024.
  • 48. DoE-MKBU. Symbols and Motifs | The Ministry of Utmost Happiness | Arundhati Roy. 2021. YouTube, https://youtu.be/UbBOqLB487U?si=ND2Or2WiV7TdvJDi. Insert Literary Pun Here. “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness | Women's Prize 2018 Review.” YouTube, 9 November 2018, https://youtu.be/tCx6sB5ImIc?si=0X1tPGK2L2fObmmN. Accessed 28 January 2024. Kumar, Rajneesh, and Nakul Kundra. “Violence of Police and Army in Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: A Thematic Study.” Violence of Police and Army in Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness:A Thematic Study | Psychosocial, https://www.psychosocial.com/article/PR201023/11486. Accessed 29 January 2024. Maurya, Prashant, and Nagendra Kumar. “Political overtones and Allusions in Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.” Research Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, vol. 10, no. 3, 2019. https://www.rjhssonline.com/AbstractView.aspx?PID=2019-10-3-16. Accessed 28 1 2024. Mukhopadhyay, Papri. “(PDF) HISTORICAL REFERENCES IN ARUNDHATI ROY'STHE MINISTRY OF UTMOST HAPPINESS: AN ANALYSIS.” ResearchGate, 5 July 2023, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/372133340_HISTORICAL_REFERENCES_IN_ARUNDHATI_ROY'S THE_MINISTRY_OF_UTMOST_HAPPINESS_AN_ANALYSIS. Accessed 29 January 2024.
  • 49. Roy, Arundhati. “The Color Saffron Symbol in The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.” LitCharts, https://www.litcharts.com/lit/the-ministry-of-utmost-happiness/symbols/the-color-saffron. Accessed 28 January 2024. Roy, Arundhati. “First look at The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy.” Penguin Books, 25 January 2017, https://www.penguin.co.uk/articles/2017/01/the-ministry-of-utmost-happiness. Accessed 27 January 2024. Roy, Arundhati. “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.” Re:Reader | The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, https://theministryofutmosthappiness.com/. Accessed 27 January 2024. Roy, Arundhati. “The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness Symbols & Motifs.” SuperSummary, https://www.supersummary.com/the-ministry-of-utmost-happiness/symbols-and-motifs/. Accessed 28 January 2024. Suleman, Danish, et al. “Political and Gender issues in Arundhati Roy’s "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness."” Indonesian Journal of Cultural and Community Development, vol. 5, 2020. https://ijccd.umsida.ac.id/index.php/ijccd/article/view/288.