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Walking With The Comrades

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,403 ratings  ·  169 reviews
About the Book : ‘The terse, typewritten note slipped under my door in a sealed envelope confirmed my appointment with “India’s single biggest internal security challenge”. I’d been waiting for months to hear from them...’ In early 2010, Arundhati Roy travelled into the forests of Central India, homeland to millions of indigenous people, dreamland to some of the world’s bi ...more
Hardcover, 130 pages
Published May 24th 2011 by Penguin India (first published 2010)
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May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, recs
Compelling and urgent, Walking with the Comrades documents tribal resistance to the Indian government. In terse, biting prose, Roy recounts the time she spent in central India, hiding in the remote forests of Chattisgarh with the Naxalites. Starting in the mid-‘00s, the Maoist group, comprised mostly of displaced tribal people, renewed their longstanding fight with India’s national government for the rights to their land and natural resources; Roy sketches the group’s goals, history, and beliefs ...more
Soumen Daschoudhury
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 essays compiled:
2009 “Mr. Chidambaram’s War”
2010 “Walking with the Comrades”
2010 “Trickledown Revolution”

The Good:
--Nestled between 2 essays surveying the practices of and policies against the Communist Party of India (Maoists) is Roy’s riveting account of her visit with the Maoists.
--Roy is clear to point out the contradictions of the Maoists, from their history of rigid foreign policy stances to their obvious use of violence.
--However, the overarching picture and power relations are the ke
Shaun Duke
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
May 04, 2016 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I have told myself many times I shouldn't be shocked by what people do, by what we do to each other, but I always am. Perhaps it's better not to adjust? To retain that vulnerability? Every time I call my mom she asks me if I've heard about this or that local atrocity--the murder, the rape, even the car accident. Everybody I know (myself included) is hardened to these things. It's too bad but how could anybody stand it otherwise? Not my mother. She's never developed that hardness to the world, an ...more
May 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Falguni Roy
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Maoists are portrayed as terrorists, threat to masses by mainstream media and the Indian government. World's largest democracy is against its poorest tribal citizens and to the outer world these people are terrorists. If you want to know about India’s one of the darkest secrets which never gets limelight you must read this. ...more
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
In the tradition of witness journalism, Roy draws on a moral humanist framework that is as much about the reader she imagines as the fellow-travelers she accompanied through the jungle. This leads to cutting insights. How can the state possibly distinguish between a Maoist insurgent and a non-Maoist when tribal resistance is seen as a threat to the national project under global capital? Roay keenly traces the region's long history of anti-colonial struggle pre-dating Mao but also drawing on Maoi ...more
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I feel I ought to say something at this point. About the futility of violence, about the unacceptability of summary executions. But what should I suggest they do? Go to court? Do a dharna in Jantar Mantar, New Delhi? A rally? A relay hunger strike? It sounds ridiculous. The promoters of the New Economic Policy—who find it so easy to say ‘There Is No Alternative’—should be asked to suggest an alternative Resistance Policy. A specific one, to these specific people, in this specific forest. Here. ...more
Nisha Sadasivan
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Kaviya for recommending this book.

This is a brilliant masterpiece from a brilliant thinker.

It gives a brief, first-hand overview of what's happening in "Maoist-infested" regions of India, in three wonderful essays, the first two of which were extremely depressing. Had to take a lot of breaks just to finish reading the book, but it was totally worth it.

Another eye-opening read in 2020.

A few lines of what touched/ impressed me:

1) Gandhian satyagraha, for example, is a kind of political
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The book was both inspiring and discouraging. Arundhati Roy has a brilliant and raw writing style that captures the urgency, sophistication, and sheer breadth of the Naxalite movement. The CPI (Maoists), for all their imperfection, are experts in survival, and its clear the state has pulled no punches trying to defeat them with propaganda and increasing military escalation. I found myself in admiration reading about how they were able to develop, control massive amounts of land, and gain sympath ...more
Arjun Ravichandran
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is journalism. Not your hyped-up, corporate-pandering, jingoistic prostitution that rules the airwaves and "civilized" discourse. This article reminds you of what journalism used to be ; lifting the rock of complacency to peer at the dirt underneath.
Pseudo-liberal, upper-middle-class fools who guard their ivory towers by painting Ms.Roy with the same brush, and thus accuse her of being a hypocrite, have no such excuse this time. The author traveled to the jungles where the Naxals are waging
Conrad Barwa
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely not the best account of the current Maoist movement in central India and the adivasi rebellion but probably the most eloquent. Doesn't pretend to be anything but a sympathetic account in favour of the adivasis (and why not) most likely underplays some of the negative sides of the Naxalites and their tactics as well as ideology, though this is raised towards the end of the book. Much of Roy's anger and acerbic wit id directed towards the Indian state and its unholy alliance with mining ...more
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A journey into the tribal revolutions

Book reveals the activists with the surrounding business and politics with the impact on the local lives.

Arundhati Roy has her unique style to convey the subject she deals.
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
story about the comrades and their routine live in the jungle evovlved with fear, hunger and grieve. Amazingly reported by arundhati.R
animesh jain
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book by Arundhati roy presents another side of the naxalite movement which rarely appears in media
Who are these naxalites? Why have they waged a war against the Indian state? Are they cruel and inhuman or do they have a heart too? These are some of the questions she tries to raise in this book.interestingly this is based on her real life experience, she spend time among them and tried to understand their side.
This made me revisit a lot of notions I had about the way we are progressing.whose
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an engaging, well-written (of course) book which offers a compelling defence of the Naxalite struggle in India, based in part on Roy's experience amongst the comrades of the title. She effectively dispels a whole range of myths about the movement - that the violence is unprovoked or wholly unnecessary, that Maoists have done nothing for the people in their areas, etc - and points towards it (as well as other, generally non-violent struggles, particularly against dislocation) as offering ...more
Lily Jamaludin
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nobody dissects empire and capitalism like Arundhati Roy. Although some of the historical details went over my head and were a little hard to follow, I still enjoyed the overarching ideas of this book. Powerful last two paragraphs:

"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
Avishek Bhattacharjee
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
When a country that calls itself a democracy declares war within its borders, what does that war look like? Does the resistance stand a chance? Should it? Who are the Maoists? Are they just violent nihilists foisting an outdated ideology on tribal people, goading them into a hopeless insurrection? What lessons have they learned from their past experience? Is armed struggle intrinsically undemocratic? Is the Sandwich Theory of ordinary tribals being caught in the crossfire between the State and t ...more
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Some books are read only after they are objected to, or banned. This is one such. Well written, keeping to facts, and balanced too. The closing chapter speaks out the best way to move forward.

The day capitalism is forced to tolerate non-capitalist societies in its midst and to acknowledge limits in its quest for domination, the day it is forced to recognize that its supply of raw material will not be endless, is the day when change will come. If there is any hope for the world at all, it does no
Ramalakshmi shanmugavel
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
First and foremost I deeply appreciate the boldness and piercing analysis of the author. she described the fact, though sometimes sarcastically about our people, government, policies and politics. How rulers of the nation(no matter who or which party)bound to comply with corporates for their money to spend at election times.. but why? to get people's support to work against some people who oppose them reluctantly for their basic needs,.. I wonder how politicians or whoever involved in these kind ...more
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must read for all Indians

This is a radical and compelling book and I found this book was a very disturbing read for me. Prior to reading this my inferences about the Maoist movement was sadly inadequate and I'm glad that I finally got educated.

Roy makes scathing arguments and made me question the accepted ideas for progress and development. Towards the end she make a case for Sustainable living and Social justice and that's maybe the lesson learnt from this book.
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A well researched book. When I picked it up, I wasn't aware about the uprising in Central India. The book has definitely piqued my interest in reading more about it. ...more
Akshay Singh
Jun 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
A short insight into the lives of the naxals. Recommended.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who wants a better understanding of how crony capitalism is screwing up the world
A powerful and damning indictment of Indian democracy. I returned from a month-long trip to India in mid-January, and during that trip I started reading Roy's powerful novel, her first attempt at writing fiction, "The God of Small Things." I had attempted to read the book twice before and never got past the first chapter, but something clicked this time. You can read my GR review if you like:
On the trip we met family in Amritsar, after my wife and I trave
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, essays
------------- "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
Nuno R.
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 d
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I remember reading an article NYT columnist Thomas Friedman about America's decrepit infrastructure, in which he compared America's old and dated airports with new, gleaming terminals he saw in India and China. If these places in Asia are his model of progress, I don't want it (and I'm also not going to read That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back, I wasted enough of my life reading his other books). Sometimes I forget to do the math, even wi ...more
"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
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Arundhati Roy is an Indian writer who is also 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.

Related Articles

Twenty years after The God of Small Things, Roy's second novel arrives this month. She talks about her political activism in India and how she...
76 likes · 32 comments
“I soon learned that Dandakaranya, the forest I was about to enter, was full of people who had many names and fluid identities. It was like balm to me, that idea. How lovely not to be stuck with yourself, to become someone else for a while.” 4 likes
“The first step towards reimagining a world gone terribly wrong would be to stop the annihilation of those a different imagination - an imagination that is outside of Capitalism as well as Communism. An imagination that has an altogether different understanding of what constitutes happiness and fulfillment.” 2 likes
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