The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

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Summary

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy focuses on Tilo and Anjum. The two are the primary characters in the book. Tilo is a trained architect involved in part of a political movement while Anjum, a transgender woman, tries to place herself in her society. The story is set primarily in India, and the author reveals the intricacies of the political upheavals that have taken place in the region. She mainly focuses on the political tensions in Kashmir and also looks at those who lived in Delhi.

The author narrates the events that took place in the region through various characters. For instance, she introduces Musa, Tilo's on-and-off-again lover, who is a freedom fighter. The book shows the violence and death that comes with such a political uprising. Because of this environment, Anjum, who is also Zainab’s guardian, constructs a house in the family graveyard away from all the noise. The location is later called The Jannet Guesthouse. It becomes a refuge for misfits.

The house that Anjum builds slowly transforms into a community as more people start coming for solace. The people at the guesthouse raise Zainab together. The author calls this place the Ministry of Utmost Happiness because of the comfort that the misfits of society discover in their newfound sanctuary.