First UK edition(publ. Flamingo)
First UK edition
(publ. Flamingo)

The Algebra of Infinite Justice (2001) is a collection of essays written by Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy. The book discusses a wide range of issues including political euphoria in India over its successful nuclear bomb tests, the effect of public works projects on the environment, the influence of foreign multinational companies on policy in poorer countries, and the "war on terror". Some of the essays in the collection were republished later, along with later writing, in her book My Seditious Heart.[1]

The official introduction to the book by Penguin India states :

A few weeks after India detonated a thermonuclear device in 1998, Arundhati Roy wrote ‘The End of Imagination’. The essay attracted worldwide attention as the voice of a brilliant Indian writer speaking out with clarity and conscience against nuclear weapons. Over the next three and a half years, she wrote a series of political essays on a diverse range of momentous subjects: from the illusory benefits of big dams, to the downside of corporate globalization and the US Government’s war against terror.


The end of Imagination

This is the name of the first essay in the 2001 book. It later used as the title of a comprehensive collection on Roy's essays in 2016 [2]

The greater common good

Essay concerning the controversial Sardar Sarovar Dam project in India's Narmada Valley.[3]

Power politics

This essay examines Indian dam construction, and challenges the idea that only "experts" can influence economic policy. It explores the human costs of the privatization of India’s power supply and the construction of monumental dams in India.[4] This is the second essay in the original 2001 book. There is also a 2002 book of Roy essays with this title Power Politics.[5]

The ladies have feelings so...

The Algebra of Infinite Justice

War is peace

The world doesn't have to choose between the Taliban and the US government. All the beauty of the world—literature, music, art—lies between these two fundamentalist poles.[7]

Democracy Who’s She When She’s at Home

This essay examines the horrific communal violence in Gujarat

War talk Summer Games with Nuclear Bombs’

When India and Pakistan conducted their nuclear tests in 1998 hypocrisy of Western nuclear powers, implicitly racist, denunciation of the tests. Roy explores the double standard while she finds nuclear weapons unspeakable.[8] Her final sentence is: Why do we tolerate these men who use nuclear weapons to blackmail the entire human race?[8]


Mithu C Banerji , in a review in The Observer (2002) stated:

Roy's writing reflects her fiction, and meanders between polemic and sentiment. Yet whether she is talking about the 'death of my world' or about 'one country's terrorist being another's freedom fighter', she is always passionately intense.[9]

S. Prasannarajan of India Today said:

...marvel at the italicised banality of her text, its remoteness from the context. This is the rebel without a context, and no textual exaggeration, assisted by, apart from the italics, exclamation marks and question marks, can camouflage the desperation of a dissident in search of a situation.[10]

Mehraan Zaidi of Hindustan times said:

Today in this world there are very few people who have the power and skill to change the way you look towards life through their writings. Arundhati Roy is one of them. The Algebra of Infinite Justice is a fitting example. It contains the best of Arundhati Roy’s political writings.[11]

Roy was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in English for this work, but refused it citing her opposition to policies of the Indian government.[12]



  1. ^ Bidisha (June 16, 2019). "My Seditious Heart by Arundhati Roy review – powerful, damning essays". The Guardian. Retrieved June 9, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ ROY, ARUNDHATI. (2019). END OF IMAGINATION. [S.l.]: HAYMARKET DOYMA. ISBN 978-1642591095. OCLC 1091586431.
  3. ^ McIntosh, Ian (September 1999). "Big Dams: Serving the Greater Common Good?". Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  4. ^ Roy, Arundhati (19 October 2001). "Indian Novelist and Activist Arundhati Roy Speaks On War, Terror and the Logic of Empire". Democracy now. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  5. ^ Roy, Arundhati (2002). Power politics (2nd ed.). Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press. ISBN 0896086690. OCLC 49230993.
  6. ^ Roy, Arundhati (14 January 2002). "Shall we leave it to the experts?". Outlook. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  7. ^ Roy, Arundhati (20 October 2001). "War is peace". Outlook India. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  8. ^ a b Roy, Arundhati (17 June 2002). "War Talk When India and Pakistan conducted their nuclear tests in 1998, even those of us who condemned them balked at the hypocrisy of Western nuclear powers". The Nation. June 2002.
  9. ^ Banerji, Mithu C (16 November 2002). "Goddess of big things". Guardian. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  10. ^ Prasannarajan, S. (7 January 2002). "the end of dissent, book review of the Algebra of infinite justice". India Today. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  11. ^ Zaid, Mehraan (9 July 2006). "The Algebra of Infinite Justice It contains the best of Arundhati Roy's political writings". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  12. ^ "Award-Winning Novelist Rejects a Prize" Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, 17 January 2006. Retrieved 18 December 2011.