Monday, May 5, 2014

Book Review: Walking with the comrades

State borders of Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Maharshtra slice through the forest of Dandakarnya, homeland to Maoists. But in the same place lies the opportunity for corporate to mine the minerals, build factories, power plants, refineries and dams. For these projects to come to life, tribal living in those places must be displaced. Those tribal become refugees of India’s progress. With their right to livelihoods gone, and unable to find a place in the ‘civilized’ world, they turn against the system. They create their own governing mechanism, set their own rules and even form their own military to defend and fight.

For those of us living in a comfortable world with materialistic ambitions, the life of the comrades of Naxalite movement seem a distant world but scratching below the surface opens up plethora of reasons why thousands of those volunteers come together, fight for a common reason, and create hope in many others to join the movement before they get killed.

Arundhati Roy makes a journey into Dandakaranya, walks miles with those comrades, listens to numerous stories and documents the journey in this pocket sized book. While the arguments are pro-naxalite throughout, she has made a sincere attempt in putting forward their points of view.