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Walking with the Comrades

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  510 ratings  ·  63 reviews
From the award-winning author of The God of Small Things comes a searing frontline exposé of brutal repression in IndiaIn 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 gue ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Soumen Daschoudhury
Jun 21, 2014 Soumen Daschoudhury rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who are interested in revolutionary movements
It is five stars even before I have touched it. I hold the small book like a sacred text. There is an element of fear - what if the writing is not as soul stirring as 'The God Of Small Things'? I worship Arundhati Roy's writing, her madness. But this is non-fiction I remind myself. So Comrade Rahel and Comrade Estha will not drench me in their torrential emotions, the extremely irritable and idiosyncratic Chacko will be missing, Sophie Mol will still be sleeping peacefully and wild Ammu and her ...more
By Arundhati Roy. Grade: A+
I have heard a lot of things about Arundhati Roy. Surprisingly, all of them very good. However, the only piece I’d read up till this novel was years ago, when I was too young to fully understand – and appreciate the language of the novel. Walking With The Comrades was a pleasant surprise.
The terse, typewritten note slipped under my door in a sealed envelope confirmed my appointment with India’s Gravest Internal Security Threat. I’d been waiting for months to hear from
Shaun Duke
There's something stirring in India. A specter, if you will, of a dark time arisen and a dark time to come. Whether we call it capitalism, corporatism, or new (neo) Imperialism, the fact remains that those most affected by the shifting dynamics of contemporary industrialization will be the disenfranchised and the disinherited.

Arundhati Roy's (The God of Small Things, etc.) Walking with the Comrades waltzes straight into this new Indian world with passion and focus, chronicling her journey into t
story about the comrades and their routine live in the jungle evovlved with fear, hunger and grieve. Amazingly reported by arundhati.R
------------- "There’s nothing small about what’s going on. We are watching a democracy turning on itself, trying to eat its own limbs. We’re watching incredulously as those limbs refuse to be eaten."

------------- "If there is any hope for the world at all, it does not live in climate change conference rooms or in cities with tall buildings. It lives low down on the ground, with its arms around the people who go to battle every day to protect their forests, their mountains and their rivers becau
"There is nothing small about what's going on. We are watching a democracy turning on itself, trying to eat its own limbs. We're watching incredulously as those limbs refuse to be eaten."

Gone is the poetry of her fiction--replaced with clear, dispassionate prose. She is angry, she is horrified, and she is determined to give a voice to the people who are being silenced. Despite her calm, her anger is clear, and her voice is powerful, as is her message.

"The day capitalism is forced to tolerate non
Anugrah Nagaich
It's an excellent read for knowing the perspective from the other side of cross-line. Having lived (& born as well) in the same Indian State of Chattisgarh & slightly inclined towards the Left wing in my premitive study years, I always wondered about their ideologies & tactics for survival, apart from their real reason for this bloodshed.
Well, being in the most interior/remotest & inaccessible areas without any provision of infrastructure must've made the lives of native adivasi
Arundhati Roy in my view is arguably one of the most important writers today. In Walking With The Comrades she enters into the lives and emotions of perhaps the biggest guerrilla army in the world today. Roy reveals her journey with the maoist guerilla's in the forest an army composed of the marginalized, excluded and poor of India and their struggle for dignity and their land. While exposing the desires and hopes of this group she also challenges society not to be too quick to judge the way in ...more
One can never stop gushing about the wonderful Arundhati Roy. Thorn in the side of the Indian government-corporate nexus, a humane voice amidst the apathetic media and so called 'intellectuals' , she write firmly from the side of the powerless.

This piece of writing is an example of journalism that has not sold it's soul to the devil. A clear and extremely informative account of the lives of a group of Maoists of Central India, people regarded as infestations by the State and surely by majority o
At the crux of this short powerful book is the question of whether there is room within the contemporary version of the Indian state for all of its communities, including those that are rural, non-industrial, and not hindi. Will the political and business class succeed in extinguishing those communities that continue to insist on the integrity of their land and lifeways, and who challenge the dominant agenda of development economics? Will the character of Indian democracy and the protections aff ...more
In India, the word “Maoist” is thrown around like “terrorist” in America. Anyone who fits the profile–physical, geographic, socioeconomic–falls into the Maoist bucket, just another drop in the undercurrent of revolution flowing through the subcontinent. While some Americans peg people as terrorists for their looks and supposed faith, many Indians imagine that anyone who fights the system, for better pay or food or civil liberties, is a Maoist, no matter their actual political affiliation...

Delaney Ozmun
"For sure, it's a partisan's version. But then, what history isn't? In any case, the secret history must be made public if it is to be contested, argued with, instead of merely being lied about, which is what is happening now."

A really important read, accessible even for those not well-versed in the issues of India's development.
Liz Minette
Love Arudhati Roy. I saw this book at my local library on the new non-fiction shelves and had to check it out. I like how the book is divided in to three (3) parts, background history of the Indian region she is writing about; walking with the comrades where she is reporting from the forest and the peoples fight to save their forest & mountains from the mining corporations that want to mine bauxite; and the follow up about dam projects in India and how they will displace people and their lan ...more
As an Indian it is very difficult for me to identify the truthfulness of the claims Arundhati Roy makes but she surely raises enough doubts on the whole premise. The fundamental question is "State vs. Individual" - the question of tribal population being pushed to the edge so that the companies can exploit the mineral wealth.

A must read for every Indian. For every one else she is doing what Noam Chomsky was doing in US. If you have heard about Vietnam War and never heard about the Indonesia's wa
Ridiculously fast and engaging read. I want more Arundhati Roys & Angela Davis' writing about struggle!
Urvi Sharma
Arundhati Roy's works have the full potential to take you by awe if you are a dedicated reader but this one. I cried along! I gave up food for a week and the kind of grotesque facts that have been described just can't let you breathe easily. It is this heaviness that you start carrying along you everytime you are reminded of those lines. Although only one side of the coin has been described but I'll still give this book 5 out of 5 for the simple reason that Roy's mixture of complications and sim ...more
Part journal, part investigative report, part essay, Arundhati Roy's Walking with the Comrades is a brief, insightful and captivating account of and look into the struggles of central India's tribal poor.
Though non-fiction, elements of Roy's writing style and her scathing wit shine through the book and make for an enjoyable read.
Those familiar with similar struggles of poor "powerless" communities against the encroachment of capitalism and its development model, and the structural violence it c
Kay Yes
I found this one from the section 'Indian Politics', rather than 'travelogue' in State central library of Kerala. In this book author portrays her adventure journey with a group of Maoist in deep forests of Dandakaranya, in central-east India, from one base camp to another. The book begins when the she got an appointment letter from 'India's single biggest internal security challenge'.

At one point Arundhati Roy defines Maoists as a people who call elections a sham, Parliament a pigsty and they o
Aaminah Shakur
This is a very informative book dealing with on-the-ground issues in India, most specifically related to abuse of adivasi & Dalit peoples' land, resources, and autonomy. Though it would probably be termed a sympathetic portrayal of Maoist revolutionary efforts, Roy does also raise questions about some Maoist practices & if they offer sufficient change from what is currently an exploitative & corrupt government, or if they would perhaps fall to the same habits due to lack of better mo ...more
if i were braver, more principaled, and a better writer, i would write like arundhati roy. a great eyewitness account of a guerilla army, and a country overrun by capitalism - democracy made rotten by the marriage of money, industry, military (including police), and media along with politics. roy eloquently discusses the details of the many abuses of power of the rich over the poor, and does a good job of framing "progress" as a war against the poor. options for resistance included.
Rohit Harip
The only enlightened person after buddha on this planet is Honourable Arundhati Roy because she has opinions on everything. from sex to sensex she has very strong views.Paradoxically, she doesn't even think that to express her opinions about particular issue in depth study and understanding of both sides of is problem is necessary. the book is exact reflection of her shallow thoughts and one sided , completely biased views about the biggest internal security threat of the Nation i.e. Maoism.
In 1
A wonderful read. A paragon of courageous journalism written in Ms. Roy's trademark style. The language is almost lyrical. In the beginning of the book, she admits that it's a partisan telling of the naxal saga. But it's a version that's never been told before in mainstream writing/ electronic media - press or otherwise. It's a version that everyone should hear before making their minds up on left wing extremism in India
There were a couple of great magazine articles in this book. It wasn't a great book, unfortunately. I did appreciate the way the book peeled away the layers of life in India for people who aren't in the elite. Like every true story about India it is hard to figure out who the villains are.

Phillip Panditi
It is about the 'refugees of India's progress' who were being emblazoned as 'India's single biggest internal security challenge' living in 'museum cultures' turned into squatters on their own land where the State criminalized a whole way of their life.

From time to time the indigenous tribal people are being foisted on with counterfeit Hinduism, colonial forest policy, Gandhi's pious humbug, outrageous economics, internal societal contradictions, Purification Hunt, Sandwich theory, Strategic Ha
A sharp and very important account of the struggle in India between the ordinary people and the government that is supposed to protect their needs. A better phrasing might be-The struggle of the Indian democracy against it's poor people.

The first half of the book narrates the account of her journey into the forest with the 'rebels' called Naxals, and the life and their realities that she encounters there. The second half is an essay on the consequences and possible outcomes of this struggle.

Ritesh Randhir
Utterly biased. It has many shocking and dismaying stories about the life of naxalites but it doesn't provide any solution to it either. It is flooded with the author's own opinions and views but fails to paint the other side of the scenario. Mere romanticism does no good to a serious ailing such as Naxalism. A 15 day venture may very well have given her an insight to what it takes to lead a movement against the flow but calling the state machinery as the main culprits is unconvincing. As far as ...more
Nuno Ribeiro
An impressive account in the first person of something that the current rulers of India have managed to keep reasonably quiet. Massacres. Fear. blood money. This is not being executed by a dictatorship. India is a democracy. As Arundhati Roy points out, it's the biggest (the most populated) democracy in the world. And it carries the heritage of Mahatma Gandhi, of his uncompromising pacifism. But it's a weak democracy. It trembles at the sight and smell of money. For instance, the Orissa bauxite ...more
Jul 28, 2013 Mark added it
Brief heads up: There's a great musical project by the dancehall group Word, Sound, Power which deals with the same issues as this text does. It's called Blood Earth. Check it out.

This was okay. Unfortunately, the narrative aspect isn't as strong as I was hoping, which winds up being more than an aesthetic complaint---not much is really learnt, not much really conveyed about the people she is describing. Who are, by the way, the Maoists---that's what the book advertises, but as you read you'l
Alison Dellit
Really a collection of two essays, this short book exercised parts of my brain long dormant. Roy's writing is extraordinary, infused with sly humour and aching beauty. She does not stoop to write for the uninformed - in the era of Google, where even forest revolutionaries huddle around laptops to watch video footage - Roy declines to spell out concepts such as Ghandian or Naxalite, easily looked up in Wikipedia. The result highlights how easy it is as a westerner to assume your world is everyone ...more
Significant in that Roy puts forth an account of the Naxalites, a notoriously (for good reason) difficult subject for anyone to gain access too. She's also a decent writer (with fiction work as well), which makes this a one-day kind of read. However, she also drops the ball on sketching a full contextualized picture of the group, and leaves the reader wishing for a bit less description and a bit more analysis. With such a unique topic, she could have ventured a bit further into the more complex ...more
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Arundhati Roy is an Indian writer who writes in English and an activist who focuses on issues related to social justice and economic inequality. She won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things, and has also written two screenplays and several collections of essays.

For her work as an activist she received the Cultural Freedom Prize awarded by the Lannan Foundation in 2002.

More about Arundhati Roy...
The God of Small Things An Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire The Algebra Of Infinite Justice Power Politics The Cost of Living

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“But for now, it even has a Gandhian approach to sabotage; before a police vehicle is burnt for example, it is stripped down and every part is cannibalized. The steering wheel is straightened out and made into a bharmaar barrel, the rexine upholstery stripped and used for ammunition pouches, the battery for solar charging. Should I write a play I wonder- Gandhi Get Your Gun. Or will I be lynched?” 0 likes
“[Are we] far more comfortable with the idea of poor people killing themselves in despair than with the idea of them fighting back?” 0 likes
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