Why does it happen that everytime there is talk of Arundhati Roy, only “The God of Small Things” is mentioned? I have no problem with that, trust me, I do not. It is just that for an activist ( I can safely call her that now) the need to make people aware and create that change is so important, that everything else seems small, which should also be the case.
I have a personal fascination with whatever Ms. Roy writes – and that is only because she has lived it. It comes from a place that no one else is able to reach, as they have not experienced the same. Walking with Comrades is one such book. What is the book about? It is about literally walking – Arundhati Roy visited the forbidding and forbidden precincts of Central India’s Dandakaranya Forests, home to a melange of tribespeople many of whom have taken up arms to protect their people against state-backed marauders and exploiters. She recorded in considerable detail the first face-to-face journalistic “encounter” with armed guerillas, their families and comrades, for which she combed the forests for weeks at personal risk.
The book will speak with you only if you allow it to. It is not a book for all. It is a brief and yet a taut and in most places in the book an emotional account of the lives of the so-called “guerillas” and what they are striving for. The writing is clear and sometimes filled with metaphors for all to see and relate to. The book will be an eye-opener or the reader in all probability will just read and forget about the issues at hand. For me, I am still thinking and not doing. Walking with Comrades must be read for the content and what it covers, it must be read for the writng and what Ms. Roy wishes to convey. A non-fiction book which I have loved this year.