Walking with the Comrades

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From the award-winning author of The God of Small Things comes a searing frontline exposé of brutal repression in India

In her latest book, internationally renowned author Arundhati Roy draws on her unprecedented access to a little-known rebel movement in India to pen a work full of earth-shattering revelations. Deep in the forests, under the pretense of battling Maoist guerillas, the Indian government is waging a vicious total war against its own citizens-a war undocumented by ...

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From the award-winning author of The God of Small Things comes a searing frontline exposé of brutal repression in India

In her latest book, internationally renowned author Arundhati Roy draws on her unprecedented access to a little-known rebel movement in India to pen a work full of earth-shattering revelations. Deep in the forests, under the pretense of battling Maoist guerillas, the Indian government is waging a vicious total war against its own citizens-a war undocumented by a weak domestic press and fostered by corporations eager to exploit the rare minerals buried in tribal lands. Roy takes readers to the unseen front lines of this ongoing battle, chronicling her months spent living with the rebel guerillas in the forests. In documenting their local struggles, Roy addresses the much larger question of whether global capitalism will tolerate any societies existing outside of its colossal control.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Acclaimed Indian novelist, essayist and activist Roy (The God of Small Things) exposes the violent contradictions of India’s economic miracle in this blistering critique of the Indian government’s campaign against the Maoist insurgents in the country’s central tribal lands encompassing several states. Roy, who recounts time spent on the move with a cadre of rebels, argues forcefully that Operation Green Hunt—launched by the state under the rubric of the threat of terrorism—is an all-out war to remove indigenous communities from lands already promised to corporations eager to exploit their extremely valuable resources. While acknowledging the Maoism’s “problematic past” and acknowledging atrocities on both sides, Roy sees little alternative beyond armed struggle for these people facing aggressive displacement and dispossession by a corporate-government system of exploitation—often operating in tandem with NGOs and other power players. Moreover, she sets the Maoist movement in a much longer history of indigenous resistance, and remains impressed by the dignity and courage of the cadres and the alternative model they offer to passive extinction. Informed, impassioned, at times strident, and fleet and fascinating when describing life on the ground among the rebels, Roy’s prose will both rouse and ruffle. When she speaks of the vast “universe” of undeclared stakeholders in the profits to be made by such human and environmental destruction, she ultimately points to a global system in which all we’re all crucially involved and implicated. (Nov.)
Library Journal
This short book of three pieces by novelist and essayist Roy focuses on the current home-grown war in India between the Maoists and the government. The indigenous tribes (tribals) living in the states that make up central India are being dispossessed of their lands and culture; ways of life are being destroyed in the name of progress. The rich mineral resources of this region have attracted memoranda of understanding (MOUs) from greedy corporations. Roy sees collusion between the mining corporations and the reigning political party and claims that media analyses of the insurgency serve only to "smoke up the mirrors." Her sympathies lie with the Maoists, who she feels are the only party that has made common cause with the tribals. While she thumbs her nose at the state, Roy admits that "the discipline of armed struggle can dissolve into lumpen acts of criminalized violence." VERDICT Roy's book is a one-sided but absorbing and eye-opening read. Phrases like "thousand star hotel," for sleeping under the stars, will delight fans of her Booker-winning novel, The God of Small Things. Expect demand from Roy fans.—Ravi Shenoy, Naperville P.L., IL
Kirkus Reviews

In a well-documented indictment, investigative journalist Roy (Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy, 2009, etc.) presents the case against the Indian government's murderous policies toward the country's tribal population.

These three linked articles/essays, rendered with a disarming blend of passion and precision, tell the story of India's tribal people and the violence and neglect they have suffered at the hands of the Indian state. Their land is rich in natural resources and has become the target of takeover by the corporate elite, aided and abetted by a corrupt government and, thus, by the military. This takeover is being conducted in conjunction with Operation Green Hunt, a program aimed at eradicating the Maoist insurgency that has been taking place for decades in the tribal lands, and that has the earmarks of the Sri Lanka solution—kill them all and let heaven do the sorting—and George W. Bush's binary system: for us or against us. Not only does Roy go out and get involved, she examines every shade of gray while spending weeks with the young insurgents to get under their skin. She writes with a ringing clarity that should bring down a measure of opprobrium to shame the Indian political establishment. The concluding piece, bathed in a sense of cynicism that readers will feel Roy is entitled to, details how the Indian constitution has been traduced by everyone from the parliament to the press to the police.

A bell-clear exposé of corporate greed and governmental malfeasance that should—if there is any justice in the world—provoke a furious backlash in the name of human dignity.

Chandrahas Choudhury
…riveting…Fruitfully skeptical and contrarian, Walking with the Comrades is a necessary book by one of India's most distinctive voices.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143120599
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/25/2011
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 466,447
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Arundhati Roy is the author of The God of Small Things, winner of the prestigious Man Booker Prize. She has produced numerous works of political commentary and investigative journalism, including The Algebra of Infinite Justice, An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire, and Listening to Grasshoppers. She lives in New Delhi, India.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Essential for anyone interested in global economic justice.

    A revealing and often tragic look at the pointed end of capitalist globalization, and a document of stalwart resistance against impossible odds. Peels away the layers of disinformation and puts a human face on India's guerilla war against it's indigenous peoples, and prompts deeper questions about the human costs of neoliberal capitalism.
    A must-read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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