In a well-documented indictment, investigative journalist Roy (Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy, 2009, etc.) presents the case against the Indian government’s murderous policies toward the country’s tribal population.
These three linked articles/essays, rendered with a disarming blend of passion and precision, tell the story of India’s tribal people and the violence and neglect they have suffered at the hands of the Indian state. Their land is rich in natural resources and has become the target of takeover by the corporate elite, aided and abetted by a corrupt government and, thus, by the military. This takeover is being conducted in conjunction with Operation Green Hunt, a program aimed at eradicating the Maoist insurgency that has been taking place for decades in the tribal lands, and that has the earmarks of the Sri Lanka solution—kill them all and let heaven do the sorting—and George W. Bush’s binary system: for us or against us. Not only does Roy go out and get involved, she examines every shade of gray while spending weeks with the young insurgents to get under their skin. She writes with a ringing clarity that should bring down a measure of opprobrium to shame the Indian political establishment. The concluding piece, bathed in a sense of cynicism that readers will feel Roy is entitled to, details how the Indian constitution has been traduced by everyone from the parliament to the press to the police.
A bell-clear exposé of corporate greed and governmental malfeasance that should—if there is any justice in the world—provoke a furious backlash in the name of human dignity.