Arundhati Roy is famous for her 1997 Booker Prize winner The God of Small things. She is a bit of an ideologue. We have many points of disagreement between our respective world views. However, unlike most ideologues, or other armchair moralists for that matter, she is willing to walk-the-walk.
Preparatory to her writing of her new book Broken Republic (not released yet in U.S.), she spent time in the forest/jungle with the Maoist Guerrillas of Central-East India. They are a fairly dangerous group that is involved in a long term large scale rebellion that is the type of news that is rarely reported in the United States. I first read about it in the British Economist.
My interest is in the dynamics of a near lawless area. There are government forces there, but from the point of view of the populace they are not a force for law either. A little bit like living in Afghanistan and Pakistan where the government does nothing for you except occasionally send a drone to blow up a neighbor’s house. The fine points of the policy behind all this might elude you.
Steven Moss, The Guardian Co. UK, 5 June 2011. Hat Tip NC.
Guerrillas use violence, generally directed against the police and army, but sometimes causing injury and death to civilians caught in the crossfire. Does she condemn that violence? "I don't condemn it anymore," she says. "If you're an adivasi [tribal Indian] living in a forest village and 800 CRP [Central Reserve Police] come and surround your village and start burning it, what are you supposed to do? Are you supposed to go on hunger strike? Can the hungry go on a hunger strike? Non-violence is a piece of theatre. You need an audience. What can you do when you have no audience? People have the right to resist annihilation."
Her critics label her a Maoist sympathizer. Is she? "I am a Maoist sympathizer," she says. "I'm not a Maoist ideologue, because the communist movements in history have been just as destructive as capitalism. But right now, when the assault is on, I feel they are very much part of the resistance that I support."
When you live in an area that has no real laws, the people that show that they are willing to take your side, no matter how imperfect they may be otherwise, are the people most will join up with.