The Bhopal Gas Tragedy, The Communal Carnage Of And 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 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. 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 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. 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. Being a 90 s kid, a must read to uncover some of the dark secrets of the post independence era These incidences will shock you to the core Stories will leave you with a lot of questions The one which was persistent at the end of every story is What am I doing to make this society a better place to live
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Unheard Voices: Stories of Forgotten Lives book, this is one of the most wanted Harsh Mander author readers around the world.
- 224 pages
- Unheard Voices: Stories of Forgotten Lives
- Harsh Mander
- 13 September 2019 Harsh Mander