Saturday, June 18, 2011

People of the Shining Path - An Old Documentary on Peru

This film provides a sympathetic look at the Peruvian revolution and the Peruvian Communist Party before Presidente Gonzalo's capture.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Chairman Gonzalo's Speech from the Cage

It was in 1992, Chairman Gonzalo, the leader of Shining Path was arrested by American puppet Fujimori's army. After arresting Gonzalo they attempted to mock him by putting him into a tiger cage and dressing him into prisoner clothes. Despite this attempted mockery, Gonzalo made an extremely powerful speech. Following this the People's War in Peru intensified. However later the Fujimore regime succeeded in crushing Shing Path. Of late, some reports suggests that the Shining Path is attempting to regroup.

Comrades of the Communist Party of Peru! Combatants of the People's Guerrilla Army! Peruvian People!

We are living historic moments, each of us must be clear that this is the case, let us not fool ourselves. In these moments we should mobilize all forces to confront difficulties and continue accomplishing our tasks and conquering our goals, successes and victory! That is what we must do.

We are here as children of the people and we are struggling in these trenches, it is also about combat, and we do it because we are Communists, because here we defend the interests of the people, the principles of the party, the People's War. That is why we do it, we are doing it and will continue to do it!

We are here in these circumstances. Some think this is a great defeat. They are dreaming and we tell them to keep on dreaming! It is simply a bend, nothing more, a bend in the road. The road is long and we shall arrive. We shall triumph. You shall see it. You shall see it.

We should continue the tasks established by the III Plenum of the Central Committee. A glorious Plenum. You should know that these accords are already being implemented and that will continue. We shall continue applying the IV Plan of Strategic Development of the People's War to Conquer Power, we shall continue developing the VI Military Plan to Build the Conquest of Power, that will continue, that is our task. We shall carry it out because of what we are and because of the obligation we have with the proletariat and the people.

We clearly say that today the democratic road has begun to develop as a road of liberation, as a road of people's liberation, that is the circumstance in which we are developing. We should think with great historic sense, we must stop closing our eyes. Let us look at reality, let us look at the history of Peru. Let us look at the last three centuries of Peru. We should think about it. Look at the l8th century, look at the l9th century, look at the 20th century and understand them! Those who don't understand them are going to be blind and the blind don't serve the country, they don't serve Peru.

We believe that the l8th century was a very clear lesson. Think about this. There was a dominator. It was Spain and where did that bloodsucking domination bring us? To a very deep crisis, as a consequence of which Peru was divided. From there come the origins of today's Bolivia. It is not our question but facts.

Fine, the last century, English domination. Where did this take us in it's rivalry with France? To another big Crisis: 70 of the past century. The result? War with Chile. We must not forget it. And what happened? We lost territory. Our nation suffers defeat despite the blood shed by heroes and the people. We must learn from this!

The 20th century. How are we doing? In the 20th century we are dominated by imperialism, principally North American, this is real, everyone knows it. And where has it bought us? Without remembering the l920's, here and now, to the worst crisis of the entire history of the Peruvian people. Learning the lesson of past centuries, what can we think? Once more the nation is at risk. It can easily be lost, and by interests. This is the situation, this is where they have brought us. But we have a fact, a Peruvian revolution, a people's war, and it is, and will continue to advance. Where have we gotten with this? To a strategic equilibrium. And we must understand this well. It is strategic equilibrium which solidifies itself in an essential situation. What have 12 years served for? To plainly show before the world and principally before the Peruvian people, that the Peruvian state, the old Peruvian state, is a paper tiger that is rotten to the core. That has been proven!

Things being that way, let us think of the danger that the nation, that the country, can be divided, that the nation is at risk. They want to dismember it, they want to divide it. Who wants to do this? As always, the imperialists, those who exploit, those who rule. And what should we do? What is our task now? It is appropriate that we push forward the people's liberation movement and that we develop it through the people's war because the people, always the people, have been the ones who defend the country, who have defended the nation.

It is time to form a People's Liberation Front, it is time to form and develop a People's Liberation Army from the People's Guerrilla Army. That is what we must do and we shall do it! That is what we are doing and that is what we shall do. You gentlemen shall be witnesses.

Finally now, listen to this. As we see in the world, Maoism is marching unstoppably to lead the new wave of world proletarian revolution. Listen well and understand. Those who have ears, use them. Those who have understanding -- and we all have it -- use it! Enough of this nonsense. Enough of these obscurities. Let us understand this. What is unfolding in the world? What do we need? We need Maoism to be incarnated and it is being incarnated and that this generate communist parties to manage, to lead this new great wave of the world proletarian revolution that is coming.

Everything they told us, the empty and silly chatter of the famous "new age of peace." Where is it now? What about Yugoslavia? What about other places? Everything became politicized, that is a lie. Today there is one reality, the same contenders of the First and Second World War are preparing a Third World War. We should know this and we, as the children of an oppressed nation, are part of the booty. We cannot consent to this! Enough imperialist exploitation! We must finish with them! We are of the third world and the third world is the base of the world proletarian revolution, with one condition, that the Communist parties brandish and lead! That is what we must do!

We believe the following. Next year will be the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Chairman Mao. We must celebrate these l00 years and we are organizing it with the Communist parties. We want a new manner, a celebration which will be the conscious comprehension of the importance of Chairman Mao in the world revolution and we shall begin the celebration this year and we shall finish it the next. It will be a grand process of celebration. I want to take advantage of this opportunity to salute the international proletariat, the oppressed nations of the world and the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement.






Monday, June 13, 2011


Press Release
June 7, 2011
The moment when the process of deploying the Army in Bastar is just underway, the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), one of the biggest Public Sector Units of India, has declared that the Raoghat mines would be privatized. These two acts not just coincided, but there was a conspiratorial coordination between them. Raoghat hills are located just 25 kilometers away from Narayanpur (in Maad region), a district headquarter town, where the Raman Singh government of Chhattisgarh has given permission to the Army to acquire 750 square kilometers (i.e. 185,250+ acres) of land. Now so many notorious MNCs will rush into this area to rob the iron ore which is known for its best quality. From one side, the Army and from other side, the corporate companies are trying to gulp down the whole Maad region which is the motherland of Mariaand Gond adivasis, the primitive tribal communities of Bastar.
In 2006, before the Raoghat project is commenced, some accusations were made against the management of BSP that it had illicitly leased out some of the deposits of Raoghat mines to Tata and NECO companies. People believed strongly that the BSP management was acting as paw in the hands of big business houses such as Tata, Essar, Jindal, NECO etc. But then it had cleverly managed it and stated that there was no such thing. But lately the chairperson of the SAIL, Chandrashekhar Verma himself has declared that they are going to privatize Raoghat mines and global tenders would be invited for this. (Source: Hindi daily Dainik Bhaskar, May 24, 2011). With this, now the game of hide-and-seek is over! Intentions of the exploitative governments are very clear! With the neo-liberal policies dictated by the imperialist masters getting implemented so openly, the MNCs would capture not just Raoghat mines; they would even buy the BSP or buy the SAIL itself. The recent examples of POSCO, Vedanta etc. of other states also clearly indicate this trend.
It's believed that Raoghat hills are having 7.4 billion tonnes of iron ore which is known for finest quality with 62 percent Fe grade. BSP is supposed to excavate 511 million tonnes of iron ore. Construction of Dalli-Raoghat-Jagdalpur railway line is underway for this purpose. Government has already started grabbing the lands forcefully from the peasants between Dalli and Raoghat. But it's facing stiff resistance from the local people.
This project in fact is an old one. In 1992, government was forced to give up implementing this project due to massive protests of people. In Antagarh, ten thousand adivasis had taken a massive procession to register their strong opposition to the proposed mining project. But the state had responded with repressive methods as always happens. A police camp was set up on the top of these hills. That camp is still present there. Our Party has been actively supporting this just struggle.
Local people are opposing this project because 3,278 hectares of forests would completely be destroyed. Apart from this, large portions of adjoining forests would also be destroyed. River Mendhki and so many other streams flowing through the region would get polluted. The farming will be destroyed so much that it is difficult to quantify. Local people see these mountains as their cultural centers and ritual faith. After the opening up of the mines these will be buried for ever. Many environmentalists believe that environment and monsoon from the perspective of Bastar, Raoghat Mountains are extremely important. With Raoghat mining project the existence of 23 villages will immediately be endangered. Further, 13 villages of adivasis might be uprooted in Chargaon area, next to this mine proposed by a private company of NECO Jaiswaals. (And now if you add the proposed massive acquisition of land by the Army - bloated 750 square kilometers - you can't imagine that the existence of how many villages is going to disappear!)
On the issue of where to setup township for the proposed mines, an ugly tussle is going on amongst the business classes of Narayanpur and Antagarh. These selfish people do not worry at all about how many villages will be destroyed, how many thousands of tribals will be displaced, how much forest will be cut, how many rivers will be polluted and to what extent the tribal culture will be destroyed, when the mining work is started in this region. Overall, they don't bother about the oncoming destruction in this region. They are supporting the government's false claims of 'Bastar development' because they think that their own business will grow with this at the price of whatsoever.
Government still makes the argument in support of railway line and mine that the digging up of Raoghat mines is necessary as the mines of Dalli Rajhara which are supplying the raw material to the Bhilai steel plant are going to end up. It's making dubious propaganda that if the mining will not start in Raoghat, BSP could be stopped due to the scarcity of raw material, threatening the future of the thousands of BSP workers. Thus, such an environment is created that anybody dares to oppose Raoghat mine will immediately be labeled as 'anti-development'. In fact, in the guise of this promotion, the government and administration have put a veil over many realities.
Dalli town today is in a position of almost desolation only because of the wrong policies of the BSP, particularly of indiscriminate mechanization. All rivers and streams of this area have been badly polluted. In Dalli and several surrounding villages, as red dirt coming of mines and roads turned on to the fields of farming, and the farming has been fully destroyed. In Dalli where 16 thousand workers used to work earlier, today the number has decreased drastically to 1200. Can the businessmen of Narayanpur and Antagarh and the contractors sitting in Raipur and Jagdalpur give the guarantee that after 20-25 years this region will not become another Dalli?
If the government is really worried that the 'BSP will be closed if it won't get raw materials supply', then why doesn't it stop selling iron ore of Bailadilla mines to the multinational companies of Japan, China and Korea? In fact, many sponge iron factories in Raipur and Bhilai have closed due to lack of iron ore supplies. They appealed to the government several times for supply of raw material from Bailadilla for them and to stop selling the iron ore to foreign companies. Doesn't this prove that the interests of big and foreign capitalists are paramount for the spineless rulers of our country? Isn't the government's "concern" about the future of BSP workers just a pose? Isn't this just a ploy being adopted to deal with the opposition putting up against proposed the Raoghat mine?
We urge all the workers, employees and other people who are concerned with the future of the BSP, that they should recognize who actually is a threat to the BSP. In 1960s, when the Bhilai steel plant was founded, the annual production was 1.5 million tonnes and the number of workers was 95 thousand. Today, the production has been increased to 4.5 million tonnes, but the number of workers is reduced to less than 37 thousand. Contracting, mechanization and partial privatization process are in full swing in BSP. Many facilities for workers have been taken back. New recruitment and compassionate appointment is closed. BSP is planning to increase the production to 7.5 million tonnes by 2012-13, taking up further modernization and expansion. This means even more layoffs and 'retirements' of workers will take place. And even there is a talk of selling out of BSP to Tatas, Mittals or Jindals! BALCO experience is before us. Overall, the policies of imperialist globalization which have been implemented by governments are responsible for this situation. So, you must fight against the anti-worker and pro-capitalist policies of the governments to protect the BSP. You should not fell prey to the designs of the ruling classes to inflict destruction to the Jal-Jungle-Zameen by opening mines in another area. You should fight against this too. Entire people of Dandakaranya will support your struggles.
The Special Zonal Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) calls upon all the workers and farmers of Chhattisgarh and democratic and patriotic forces of our country to demand the closure of Raoghat project; to register their protest to mechanization, contracting and all other anti-worker policies being implemented in Bhilai steel plant and other industries; to demand to stop selling the high quality iron ore to the foreign companies from Bailadilla; to lend support to the people of Dandakaranya who are fighting for the right over their Jal-Jungle-Zameen; and to oppose the Army deployment in Bastar to suppress their just struggles.

(Gudsa Usendi)
Dandakaranya Special Zonal Committee
CPI (Maoist)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Indian Maoists on the Deployment of Army Troops to Tribal Forest



Press release

  • Deployment Of Army In The Name Of Training Schools Puts The Very Existence Of The Aborigines and Inhabitants Of Bastar In Peril!

  • Forest Belongs To The Indigenous People (Mulvasis) – The Government Doesn’t Have Any Right Over Even An Inch Of It!

  • Indian Army GO BACK – Do Not Kill Your Own Citizens!

While the Bastar adivasi peasants are readying themselves for the monsoons to till their lands so that they can feed their children and families throughout the year – unknown to them, silently and stealthily the central and state governments have completed the preparations for another kind of monsoons. These ‘monsoons’ do not rain droplets of water but bullets and shells, rockets and cannon balls and would irrigate their lands with the blood of children, women and men – young and old. These ‘monsoons’ promise a lifelong peace and prosperity. Peace it would – as peaceful as a graveyard could be and lifelong as their longing for life would come to an end. Of course, prosperity it would be – for the imperialists, their running dogs – the ruling classes of India, the corporate vultures, the MNC sharks, the great Indian extended family of the comprador bureaucratic bourgeoisie i.e., the chief ministers, ministers, MLAs, MPs, IAS, IPS, IFS, bureaucrats etc as now they could lay their greedy hands on the immense wealth buried under this graveyard.

The home ministry says it wants to ‘clear, hold and build’ in the ‘Maoist areas.’ In our country words have long ago ceased to have their original meaning, for which they were created in the first place. Here is the new lexicon– ‘clear’ means massacres, mopping up or complete destruction of everything, ‘hold’ means a war of occupation and ‘build’ means absolute loot of people’s resources. All this ultimately results in reducing the people to a slave like existence complete with absolute surrender to the imperialist slave-owners and this has got its own word – ‘development’. And it is not just words, even institutions have changed their ‘supposed duties’ in our country (into their ‘actual duties’ for which they were created, in fact) – the government doesn’t look after the welfare of the people – it bends over backwards and crawls on its fours to protect the interests of those who exploit them; the judiciary doesn’t protect the rights of the people – it shows admirable adroitness in finding ways to deny them; the police think they are the ‘law’ and that ‘ordering around’ restores it; and the Indian Army with impeccable acumen finds ‘enemies’ in the dilapidated huts of poor adivasis, in the empty granaries of the bankrupt peasants or in the stench-filled bastis of workers and of course in every nook corner of Kashmir and North-East.

In the first week of June, a thousand-men strong iron heeled column marched its way to Bastar – physically that is. Because the Indian Army has been breathing down the necks of Bastar people in many more indirect ways since almost a decade. It has been an integral part of all the counter-insurgency operation plans formulated against the Maoists and has been training the mercenaries who do that job in hundreds. In just Narayanpur the land to be allotted for the Army (training school) amounts to 750 sq.kms while the talk is about three training schools and in three districts (Narayanpur, Bastar and Bilaspur). This is not counting the previous allotments to army and air-force.

‘Oh, no, don’t mistake us, all this is just for the training school, the army won’t enter into operations against Maoists, it is just to gain a psychological advantage over the Maoists, to tell them – ‘see a lion is sitting at your door!’ says the army. And pray – may the humble citizens ask His Excellency Herr Manmohan what this ‘training’ is for as it is he who with great insight discovered that Maoists were the biggest internal security threat? Who are you trying to fool? Only a fool would believe that this lion just sits there and roars instead of pouncing on us. Don’t forget, this is a man-eater on the prowl which has tasted human blood in Kashmir and North-East. Let us be very clear – this training is nothing else but counter-insurgency training ‘to fight the guerilla like a guerilla.’ Unable to contain the armed resistance of the most deprived people of Central and Eastern India through their police and paramilitary, the ruling classes of our country have now turned to the army whom they have been ‘grooming’ exactly for such purposes (read for wars on people). What is the need for another ‘training school’ when there are already so many? And more importantly, why in Central India?

It is as clear as daylight – it is no doubt a training school but it doesn’t stop with training, as soon as a batch finishes training it would be ready with its boots and helmets, guns and grenades on to be sent off to its destination to fight the Maoists, and it doesn’t cater just to Chhattisgarh but also to Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Western Ghats, West Bengal, Odisha and last but not least Andhra Pradesh. That explains the location of it.

Following the policy of ‘draining the water to catch the fish’, the central and state governments, with the close guidance of their mentors – the US imperialists – are implementing the ‘Low Intensity Conflict’ (LIC) strategy, applying it ‘creatively’ to the concrete conditions in India. This can be in such ‘indigenous forms’ like – in preparation for the deployment of army and ‘draining water’ – now Maad adivasis do not get to buy rice anywhere nearby their dwellings. They get them only from towns (and only in such quantities so that the Maoists do not take some rice from them) from shops which are actually police camps. Even the namesake schools from the hamlets are being shifted to pucca buildings on the road-side and would exist in the name of that hamlet which would be at least 60 to 100 kms away. Next the army would step in and ‘clear’ the forest of all inhabitants and herd them off to strategic hamlets which are a euphemism for concentration camps. At the higher level, the recent hobnobbing exercises of Indian and US ruling classes for ‘helping each other’ in Homeland Security were done in preparation for the crueler phase of this War on People – the Phase Two of the Operation Green Hunt as it is being called.

No people in this world without a land to claim as their own could wage battles against their enemies. The ruling classes know this truth more than anybody else and this is exactly what it is planning to do. In the name of training schools it is occupying thousands of square kilometers of land and in the name of strategic hamlets it is rendering the adivasis and forest dwellers homeless and everybody knows that forest IS their home. So, revolutionaries, democrats, civil rights activists and particularly the adivasi organizations must realize the whole conspiracy behind the smokescreen of army training schools. It is the need of the hour to assert loudly that Jal, Jungle and Jameen belongs to the indigenous people (Mulvasis) of Bastar, who represent one of the most ancient inhabitants of the world and to theMulvasis of Central and Eastern India.

True, the government must be questioned about land acquisition, throwing to wind all laws and regulations it has promulgated for adivasi areas (5thschedule, PESA, Forest Rights act etc). Though posing a direct question about its not following its own rules is necessary, one must be careful not to give it legitimacy to occupy the forest ‘if it follows its rules’. In fact, a conspiracy is under way in the name of land acquisition act to hand over the land of the peasants in a ‘legal’ manner to the corporates. It would not result in any peaceful transfer of land from one hand to another but would remain a naked land-grabbing act which would never be implemented without shedding the blood of the peasants and without destroying their livelihoods. The first and foremost thing to be done is to declare that forest belongs to the Mulvasis and that they do not have any ‘elder brother’ named ‘government’ with whom they should share it!

As our party has been consistently saying and as even all genuine democrats have been expounding – all these operation green hunts and clear-hold-build policies are meant to loot the immense mineral wealth and other natural resources in Central and Eastern India. And for this they do not care if a whole community or a civilization is wiped out; it would just be a ‘collateral damage’ as taught by their ex-boss ‘Bush’ or their current master ‘Obama’.

The Central Committee of CPI (Maoist) calls upon the people of Bastar and Chhattisgarh to fight back the Indian Army as they had been fighting back the police, paramilitary and vigilante gangs like Salwa Judum to protect their lives and livelihoods, to secure the future of their children and to save their mother forest and one of the most ancient cultures of this world of which they are the proud inheritors.

Let the slogans – Forest belongs to the Mulvasis – Not an inch of it to the Sonias-Manmohans-Chidambarams and Raman Singhs, not to blood-sucking land grabbers masquerading as chief ministers and ministers, not to MNCs, not to Indian corporate sharks, not to mining mafias – reverberate in every corner of Central and Eastern India. Mobilize to the very last member in the family – children and elders, young and old, women and men with the slogan – Indian Army Go Back, do not kill your own citizens.

We have seen many offensives, but this new offensive using the army puts the very existence of the aborigines and inhabitants of the forests in Central and Eastern India in peril. It is a question of life and death. If we let them prevail, the consequences would be very bleak and may lead to many decades of dark years. Sacrifices and acts of bravery are not new to us. It is a specific characteristic of our history of struggle against colonial rule that the most consistent, continuous, militant armed struggles against the British colonialists were waged by the adivasis of this country. And some of the most glorious chapters in it belong to the Santhals and Bastar adivasis during the Santhal rebellions and Mahan Bhumkal of 1910 respectively. It is this struggle legacy from our fore fathers and mothers which we have to evoke now if we have to save everything that is precious to us, everything that is dear to our heart – everything that makes us breathe free. So let us fight the enemies of the people to the end. Let us fight back everything which seeks to reduce us to a slave-like existence in the name of ‘development’.

We appeal to all the revolutionary, democratic and patriotic organizations and particularly the adivasi organizations in India and abroad to raise your voice against the deployment of army in Central and Eastern India and do everything in your means to expose, to fight back and stop this war of the Indian government on its own citizens.



Central Committee,

CPI (Maoist)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Arundhati Roy: I’m a Maoist Sympathizer, Not Ideologue

The Booker prize-winning novelist on her political activism in India, why she no longer condemns violent resistance – and why it doesn’t matter if she never writes a second novel

This is not an ideal beginning. I bump into Arundhati Roy as we are both heading for the loo in the foyer of the large building that houses her publisher Penguin’s offices. There are some authors, V S Naipaul say, with whom this could be awkward. But not Roy, who makes me feel instantly at ease. A few minutes later, her publicist settles us in a small, bare room. As we take our positions on either side of a narrow desk I liken it to an interrogation suite. But she says that in India, interrogation rooms are a good deal less salubrious than this.

Roy, who is 50 this year, is best known for her 1997 Booker prize-winning novel The God of Small Things, but for the past decade has been an increasingly vocal critic of the Indian state, attacking its policy towards Kashmir, the environmental destruction wrought by rapid development, the country’s nuclear weapons programme and corruption. As a prominent opponent of everything connected with globalisation, she is seeking to construct a “new modernity” based on sustainability and a defence of traditional ways of life.

Her new book, Broken Republic, brings together three essays about the Maoist guerrilla movement in the forests of central India that is resisting the government’s attempts to develop and mine land on which tribal people live. The central essay, Walking with the Comrades, is a brilliant piece of reportage, recounting three weeks she spent with the guerrillas in the forest. She must, I suggest, have been in great personal danger. “Everybody’s in great danger there, so you can’t go round feeling you are specially in danger,” she says in her pleasant, high-pitched voice. In any case, she says, the violence of bullets and torture are no greater than the violence of hunger and malnutrition, of vulnerable people feeling they’re under siege.

Her time with the guerrillas made a profound impression. She describes spending nights sleeping on the forest floor in a “thousand-star hotel”, applauds “the ferocity and grandeur of these poor people fighting back”, and says “being in the forest made me feel like there was enough space in my body for all my organs”. She detests glitzy, corporate, growth-obsessed modern Indian, and there in the forest she found a brief peace.

There is intense anger in the book, I say, implying that if she toned it down she might find a readier audience. “The anger is calibrated,” she insists. “It’s less than I actually feel.” But even so, her critics call her shrill. “That word ‘shrill’ is reserved for any expression of feeling. It’s all right for the establishment to be as shrill as it likes about annihilating people.”

Is her political engagement derived from her mother, Mary Roy, who set up a school for girls in Kerala and has a reputation as a women’s rights activist? “She’s not an activist,” says Roy. “I don’t know why people keep saying that. My mother is like a character who escaped from the set of a Fellini film.” She laughs at her own description. “She’s a whole performing universe of her own. Activists would run a mile from her because they could not deal with what she is.”

I want to talk more about Mary Roy – and eventually we do – but there’s one important point to clear up first. 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 any more,” 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 sympathiser. Is she? “I am a Maoist sympathiser,” 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.”

Roy talks about the resistance as an “insurrection”; she makes India sound as if it’s ripe for a Chinese or Russian-style revolution. So how come we in the west don’t hear about these mini-wars? “I have been told quite openly by several correspondents of international newspapers,” she says, “that they have instructions – ‘No negative news from India’ – because it’s an investment destination. So you don’t hear about it. But there is an insurrection, and it’s not just a Maoist insurrection. Everywhere in the country, people are fighting.” I find the suggestion that such an injunction exists – or that self-respecting journalists would accept it – ridiculous. Foreign reporting of India might well be lazy or myopic, but I don’t believe it’s corrupt.

She sounds like a member of a religious sect, I say, as if she has seen the light. “It’s a way of life, a way of thinking,” she replies without taking offence. “I know people in India, even the modern young people, understand that here is something that’s alive.” So why not give up the plush home in Delhi and the media appearances, and return to the forest? “I’d be more than happy to if I had to, but I would be a liability to them in the forest. The battles have to be fought in different ways. The military side is just one part of it. What I do is another part of the battle.”

I question her absolutism, her Manichaean view of the world, but I admire her courage. Her home has been pelted with stones; the Indian launch of Broken Republic was interrupted by pro-government demonstrators who stormed the stage; she may be charged with sedition for saying that Kashmiris should be given the right of self-determination. “They are trying to keep me destabilised,” she says. Does she feel threatened? “Anybody who says anything is in danger. Hundreds of people are in jail.”

Roy has likened writing fiction and polemic to the difference between dancing and walking. Does she not want to dance again? “Of course I do.” Is she working on a new novel? “I have been,” she says with a laugh, “but I don’t get much time to do it.” Does it bother her that the followup to The God of Small Things has been so long in coming? “I’m a highly unambitious person,” she says. “What does it matter if there is or isn’t a novel? I really don’t look at it that way. For me, nothing would have been worth not going into that forest.”

It’s hard to judge whether there will be a second novel. The God of Small Things drew so much on her own life – her charismatic but overbearing mother; a drunken tea-planter father whom her mother left when Roy was very young; her own departure from home in her late teens – that it may be a one-off, a book as much lived as written. She gives ambiguous answers about whether she expects a second novel to appear. On the one hand, she says she is engaged with the resistance movement and that it dominates her thoughts. But almost in the same breath she says others have “picked up the baton” and she would like to return to fiction, to dance again.

What is certain is that little of the second novel has so far been written. She prefers not to tell me what it is about; indeed, she says it would not be possible to pinpoint the theme. “I don’t have subjects. It’s not like I’m trying to write an anti-dam novel. Fiction is too beautiful to be about just one thing. It should be about everything.” Has she been blocked by the pressure of having to follow up a Booker winner? “No,” she says. “We’re not children all wanting to come first in class and win prizes. It’s the pleasure of doing it. I don’t know whether it will be a good book, but I’m curious about how and what I will write after these journeys.”

Are her agent and publisher disappointed still to be waiting for the second novel? “They always knew there wasn’t going to be some novel-producing factory,” she says. “I was very clear about that. I don’t see the point. I did something. I enjoyed doing it. I’m doing something now. I’m living to the edges of my fingernails, using everything I have. It’s impossible for me to look at things politically or in any way as a project, to further my career. You’re injected directly into the blood of the places in which you’re living and what’s going on there.”

She has no financial need to write another novel. The God of Small Things, which sold more than 6m copies around the world, set her up for life, even though she has given much of the money away. She even spurned offers for the film rights, because she didn’t want anyone interpreting her book for the screen. “Every reader has a vision of it in their head,” she says, “and I didn’t want it to be one film.” She is strong-willed. Back in 1996, when The God of Small Things was being prepared for publication, she insisted on having control of the cover image because she didn’t want “a jacket with tigers and ladies in saris”. She is her indomitable mother’s daughter.

I insist she tell me more about her Fellini-esque mother. She is, says Roy, like an empress. She has a number of buttons beside her bed which, when you press them, emit different bird calls. Each call signals to one of her retinue what she requires. Has she been the centre of her daughter’s life? “No, she has been the centre of a lot of conflict in my life. She’s an extraordinary women, and when we are together I feel like we are two nuclear-armed states.” She laughs loudly. “We have to be a bit careful.”

To defuse the family tensions, Roy left home when she was 16 to study architecture in Delhi – even then she wanted to build a new world. She married a fellow student at the age of 17. “He was a very nice guy, but I didn’t take it seriously,” she says. In 1984 she met and married film-maker Pradip Krishen, and helped him bring up his two daughters by an earlier marriage. They now live separately, though she still refers to him as her “sweetheart”. So why separate? “My life is so crazy. There’s so much pressure and idiosyncrasy. I don’t have any establishment. I don’t have anyone to mediate between me and the world. It’s just based on instinct.” I think what she’s saying is that freedom matters more to her than anything else.

She chose not to have children because it would have impinged on that freedom. “For a long time I didn’t have the means to support them,” she says, “and once I did I thought I was too unreliable. So many of the women in India who are fighting these battles don’t have children, because anything can happen. You have to be light on your feet and light in your head. I like to be a mobile republic.”

Roy has in the past described herself as “a natural-born feminist”. What did she mean by that? “Because of my mother and the way I grew up without a father to look after me, you learned early on that rule number one was look out for yourself. Much of what I can do and say now comes from being independent at an early age.” Her mother was born into a wealthy, conservative Christian community in Kerala, but put herself outside the pale by marrying Ranjit Roy, a Hindu from West Bengal. When she returned to her home state after her divorce she had little money and was thus doubly marginalised. The mother eventually triumphed over all these obstacles and made a success of the school she founded, but growing up an outsider has left its mark on her daughter.

Roy says she has always been polemical, and points to her run-in with director Shekhar Kapur in the mid-1990s over his film Bandit Queen – she questioned whether he had the right to portray the rape of a living person on screen without that woman’s consent. It may be that the novel is the exception in a life of agitation, rather than the agitation an odd outcrop in a life of fiction-writing. But has she sacrificed too much for the struggle – the chance to dance, children, perhaps even her second marriage? “I don’t see any of these things as sacrifices,” she says. “They are positive choices. I feel surrounded by love, by excitement. They are not being done in some martyr-like way. When I was walking through the forest with the comrades, we were laughing all the time.”