Almost twenty-five years and quite a few great publications later he left the mainstream media to edit The Equator Line, a themed quarterly magazine of new writing exploring long-form journalism in the Indian context. TEL emerged as a liberal platform at a time when Big Media had a lurch to the religious right. Serious, dignified, TEL takes a stand against majoritarianism, monocultural tendencies, patriarchy, xenophobia and jingoism.
Alongside his journalistic writing, Roy has successfully written fiction. The Defeat or Distant Drumbeats (Har-Anand, 1998), his first novel, earned the admiration of critics. ‘Roy writes well and will go far in the writing world,’ eminent writer Khushwant Singh said in his review of the book. It’s about the consequences of the government’s policy of caste-based reservations.
An Escape into Silence (New Century, 2000), his second novel, captures the intense emotions fuelling the Maoist uprising in West Bengal in the early 70s. The iconoclastic movement, destined to fail, was marked by the fiery idealism of twentysomethings and also insensate, brutal violence. Widely acclaimed, the book made a deep impact and still sells all over the world.
Roy’s deeply insightful essay, ‘Cricket’s Social Subtext’, forms part of the volume, India: A National Culture? (Sage, 2003). He also heads Palimpsest, his group’s publishing arm.
His wife, Dr Manimala Roy, is a well-known educationist and the author of From Shanties to School (Konark, 2019), a critically acclaimed work tracing deep linkages between India’s radical economic reforms of 1991 and migrant workers’ aspirations for their children’s education. Their daughter Protiti, educated at National Law School of India University, Bangalore, and Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, USA, is a policy lawyer working in Delhi