The Bhopal gas tragedy, the communal carnage of 1984 and 1989 in Delhi and Bhagalpur, the Orissa supercyclone, among others, are part of collective memory. But, often forgotten are those who actually were affected by these happenings, and others like them, street children, sex workers, dalits, HIV and leprosy patients, the homeless and the famine-stricken. These are peopleThe Bhopal gas tragedy, the communal carnage of 1984 and 1989 in Delhi and Bhagalpur, the Orissa supercyclone, among others, are part of collective memory. But, often forgotten are those who actually were affected by these happenings, and others like them, street children, sex workers, dalits, HIV and leprosy patients, the homeless and the famine-stricken. These are people who in many ways are pushed to the outermost, most hopeless margins of society in the name of development and progress. In this book, civil servant and social activist Harsh Mander draws on his own and his colleagues' experiences to explore the lives of twenty such people who have survived and coped despite all odds....
|Title||:||Unheard Voices: Stories of Forgotten Lives|
|Number of Pages||:||224 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Unheard Voices: Stories of Forgotten Lives Reviews
Unheard Voices eloquently depicts the lives and stories from various segments and sections of the society. It is true that India's economic landscape is witnessing unprecedented expansion in terms of increasing PCI, high GDP, high growth rate ans so on. But this is not commensurate with the socio-cultural realities, especially that of rural areas. This book opens up the reader's mind towards the hard realities of Indian society. It includes heart wrenching true life narratives of victims of substance abuse, communal riots, human trafficking, organ stealing and rape, landless laborers, women forced to prostitution, stories of rag-pickers, widows, manual scavengers etc. It can be clearly seen that the individual plight of poor for survival is compounded by social ostracism, caste and communal rigidities. For instance, the story of manual scavengers clearly depicts how they couldnt escape the social stigma and the degradation which was compensated for by the paltry economic security the job offered. The book efficaciously yet in a lucid manner, describes the difference between Bharat and India. Highly recommended for those who would like to know what real India is.
Although we think we know of the scale of rural poverty and aware of the general condition of tribals and other marginalised groups belonging to the other India,This Harsh Mander's collection of stories named " Unheard Voices"-stories of forgotten lives is an eye opener.Himself a distinguished civil servant and a noted social activist,these stories were originally penned by him as part of the course for young civil servants. These all are the real stories of the Indians who were victims of fate and conditions beyond their control.Some were the victims of man made disaster like the Bhopal tragedy,some bore the brunt the fury of the nature,some were the subjects of historical oppression and hysterical followers of blind beliefs,a few of the governmental apathy and centuries of prejudice and a few,of the caprice of fate.In one of his speeches,delivered during the late twenties,Russell Bertrand observed that the Time machine imagined by Wells "can be secured by travelling about the world at the present day.A European who goes to New york and Chicago sees the future,the future to which Europe is likely to come if it escapes economic disaster.On the other hand,When he goes to Asia he sees the past.In India I am told he can see the middle ages;in China he can see the eighteenth century". Well's machine can be realised within India itself during the first decade of the twenty first century(the year of the publication of this book). Though a decade of growth triggered by the liberalization profited the urban,educated Indians and lead India comfortably to the next millennium,the heart of India has barely managed to change since Russell told of it seventy years ago. It could not have been better than Shashi throor's observation that appears on the cover page,"these stories are essential reading for all care about the future of India".To those interested in the works of Shashi Tharoor,one of the stories in this book inspired Tharoor to write his Novel "Riot".
This book is a collection of wide range of stories based on experiences of real lives of marginalized, forgotten and outcast people of society as encountered by Harsh Mander and some other bureaucrats. This is a piece of work which completely stands out with its exclusive approach on a subject that remains neglected in much similar way as the characters of these sketches. As the ending paragraph of last story signifies the essence of this book- "... in humble colony of forgotten people, we received far more than we could ever give." Not all are success stories. 1984, 1989 and Bhopal- they still silently wait for the dawn of justice. But certainly there are cases which invoke enormous belief in alternatives. The experiments resulting into progress and further promising chances of a better world are important take home message of the different case stories. Surely, some stories have bit faded with time while others remain as bright as they were at the time of writing. For example, one story of great relevance even today is 'The Laminated Mark-sheet'- story of a couple from Bedia community who transgressed the infamous societal bondage in form of ritually-sanctioned caste-based prostitution (which is mostly compulsory to sustain themselves and their family) that is associated with this tribal group. It can be only conscious and unyielding people like Rajendra and Geeta who will lead their lives and simultaneously the overall society to the world of our dreams.
As the title suggests, rarely are the lives of the people, mentioned in the book are covered by the media. Harsh Mander does a good job here. If one wants to know about the real India (the so called Bharat), this book is a must-read.This book is almost there with the Everybody loves a good drought by P.Sainath.
Stories of hope and dignity in the most unlikely circumstances and in the most marginalized sections of society - riot victims, people affected by man-made and natural disasters, the physically challenged, the diseased, rape victims, sex workers, the displaced and the landless.. what strikes you is the indomitable human spirit and the quest for dignity and justice in the harshest situations.