In India we're fighting to retain a wilderness that we have. Whereas in the west, it's gone. Every person that's walking down the street is a walking bar code. You can tell where their clothes are from, how much they cost, which designer made which shoe, which shop you bought each item from. Everything is civilized and tagged and valued and numbered and put in it's place. Whereas in India, the wilderness still exists-the unindoctrinated wilderness of the mind, full of untold secrets and wild imaginings.
Does rough weather choose men over women? Does the sun beat on men, leaving women nice and cool?' Nyawira asked rather sharply. 'Women bear the brunt of poverty. What choices does a woman have in life, especially in times of misery? She can marry or live with a man. She can bear children and bring them up, and be abused by her man. Have you read Buchi Emecheta of Nigeria, Joys of Motherhood? Tsitsi Dangarembga of Zimbabwe, say, Nervous Conditions? Miriama Ba of Senegal, So Long A Letter? Three women from different parts of Africa, giving words to similar thoughts about the condition of women in Africa.''I am not much of a reader of fiction,' Kamiti said. 'Especially novels by African women. In India such books are hard to find.''Surely even in India there are women writers? Indian women writers?' Nyawira pressed. 'Arundhati Roy, for instance, The God of Small Things? Meena Alexander, Fault Lines? Susie Tharu. Read Women Writing in India. Or her other book, We Were Making History, about women in the struggle!''I have sampled the epics of Indian literature,' Kamiti said, trying to redeem himself. 'Mahabharata, Ramayana, and mostly Bhagavad Gita. There are a few others, what they call Purana, Rig-Veda, Upanishads … Not that I read everything, but …''I am sure that those epics and Puranas, even the Gita, were all written by men,' Nyawira said. 'The same men who invented the caste system. When will you learn to listen to the voices of women?
I'm not talking about being against development. I'm talking about the politics of development. I'm talking about more development, not less. More democracy, not less. More modernization, not less. How do you break down this completely centralized, undemocratic process of decision-making? How do you make sure that it's decentralized and that people have power over their lives and their natural resources? I don't even believe in the modern business-like notion of "efficiency". It dovetails with totalitarianism, fascism. Peopl say, "If it's decentralized it will be inefficient." I think that's fine. Let it be inefficient.