“Walking With the Comrades,” by Arundhati Roy

“Walking With the Comrades,” by Arundhati Roy

This is a very long piece by famed progressive Indian author Arundhati Roy, who is an excellent writer. Note: It’s very long at 123 pages, but if I made it through, so can you.

Her famous book is The God of Small Things.

After months of waiting, she got an opportunity to spend time with India’s Maoist rebels. She exposes a seemingly endless web of lies that have been spun about them by the despicable Indian state.

First of all, these are poor people, very poor. They’re actually starving and dying of hunger and disease. This particular group are tribals called Gonds in Chattisargh. The Gonds are the remains of the most ancient people in India, and they do have an Australoid appearance going by their skulls. These people have been failed and worse from Day One by this sickening Indian state. That’s 61 years of utter failure, failure that kills millions of Indians every year.

I’m not ecstatic about these Maoists, but they seem to be the only people in India who care about the masses anymore, or who ever did. Everything else has failed, and it’s time to try something new.

Not only are the Maoist supporters poor, but the army itself is poor. This is a ragtag army going up against one of the biggest militaries in the world.

There is a lie that the tribals are “caught between two forces.” This is standard counterinsurgency bullshit that the Western media loves to play up. It’s not true.

Another lie is the Maoists are university-educated eggheads who are using the poor tribals as cannon fodder for their Utopian plans. Not true.

The truth is that the Maoists are the tribals and vice versa. That’s all there is to it. Even the leadership are tribals. And far from being caught between two sides, the tribals are solidly behind this army. In fact, while Roy is with them, they receive reports that tribals in new areas have issued calls for the Maoists to come defend them. They want squads and guns, but there are no men and guns to spare. A report comes in from another area where graffiti has appeared in tribal villages, “Maoists Come Save Us!”

The leadership of the Maoists has a history of some pretty scary statements in the past, but on the ground, this is not the new Shining Path or Khmer Rogue. They’re just poor peasants with guns, nothing else.

The lies go on and on. The Maoists are blowing up school buildings because they hate education. Not so. First of all, the schools in this region are all long since abandoned. The teachers get paid whether they show up or not, so they just stay home. Further, all of the schools have been taken over by the Indian security forces. Yes, the Maoists have blown up schools, abandoned schools filled with security forces! So what?

An Indian commenter showed up recently and said that Maoism had failed, and the reason for the total failure of the Indian state to provide for its people was over 40 years of Indian socialism with slow economic growth, referred to as “The Hindu rate of growth.”

The Hindu rate of growth this is a lie. The Indian state’s growth during this period was about the same as the rest of the region, such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Sure, it’s slow growth compared to South Korea and even Thailand, but the whole region does poorly compared to South Korea and Thailand.

Anyway, we progressives don’t think too much of Indian socialism. It left half the population starving, killed at least 4 million people a year, and left 200 million people living in the streets. You call that socialism?

Economic growth has gone up since neoliberalism 20 years ago, but as usual, almost all of the wealth has gone to around 10% of the population. For instance, the rate of malnutrition has been flat in India at 50% for 15 years. During that period, the economy grew by about 10% a year, but somehow, with all that cash, they could not figure out how to give folks a solid meal.

Further, the neoliberalism that reigns in India is never going to provide for the people. The Indian people need infrastructure, roads, schools, health care, on and on. Neoliberalism guts the state and leaves it with no funds to pay for any of these things. Education, roads, infrastructure, medical care, etc. is all supposed to be provided by the private sector, if anyone. With that philosophy, the peasants are never going to get any of these things.

These Maoists are not even really hardline Communists. Their first project is to switch over to a true national capitalism, confiscating the property of the multinationals and the country-selling treasonous internationalist ruling class who have no allegiance to India. So the vast majority of the private sector, and all of the patriotic private sector, would be left intact during a period, like Lenin’s NEP, designed to grow the economy and develop the country.

At some point, there’s to be a transition to socialism, but who knows when that will come.

The Maoists have issued a document saying that they intend to seize power by 2050. That’s 40 years away. Unfortunately, that is probably realistic or even optimistic, but it’s way too much time. In the meantime, seizure of state power is still a dream away.

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5 thoughts on ““Walking With the Comrades,” by Arundhati Roy”

  1. A very good piece.

    One thing I like about you Robert is that unlike many Americans, you have an in-depth knowlodge of far away corners of the world including South Asia and certaily seem to care about it. Your analyses are always factual and close to reality and and I appreciate that.

    Left wing politics in South Asia are left only by name. There are ‘left wing’ parties here that are led by fuedal lords. Maoists are the only true socialists left and every sensible human being should support their just struggle.

    If you have time, I would suggest that you start a series of blogs on the situation of the opressed people in various parts of the world, like the Tamils, the Adevasi, the Pashtuns, the Kurds, the Balochis, the Aborigines and others.

  2. Thanks for the link. But it’s not 123 pages long; it seems to be 8 pages on sites that bother with pages – depending on how you define a page. Or is there another longer essay that I can’t find? I haven’t read this yet, but I will – I read a few recent pieces by her – probably excerpts from this – which were excellent.

  3. बस्तर की कोयल रोई क्यों ?
    अपने कोयल होने पर, अपनी कूह-कूह पर
    बस्तर की कोयल होने पर

    सनसनाते पेड़
    झुरझुराती टहनियां
    सरसराते पत्ते
    घने, कुंआरे जंगल,
    पेड़, वृक्ष, पत्तियां
    टहनियां सब जड़ हैं,
    सब शांत हैं, बेहद शर्मसार है |

    बाकी यहाँ पर है
    Full Hindi Poetry Bastar Poem http://tinyurl.com/bastar

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