A book which talks about India that is Bharat

Book review: Ek Desh Barah Dunia (Hindi) has 12 stories about marginalized India

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In the past few years, the physical barriers between our cities and remote villages have been rapidly eroding. Also shrinking is the consciousness for the rural poor.

‘Ek Desh Barah Dunia’ from ‘Rajpal & Sons, New Delhi’ is written by Shirish Khare, a journalist known for his grassroots reporting for almost two decades now. It captures the voices of neglected people from twelve different parts of India. The author has highlighted the real faces that get hidden and obscured under the huge pile of statistical data.

A total of twelve reportages from seven states of the country in the period from 2008 to 2017 are included in this book.

Spanning this period, the author takes us on a journey; with the Korku tribes in Maharashtra, the nomadic or semi-nomadic community dominated areas like Tirmali and Sayeed Madari, the settlements affected by multi-displacement in big cities like Mumbai, Surat. In addition, are the new types of hazards on a large and beautiful river like Narmada, detailed descriptions have been given about the distressed villages of Chhattisgarh and Bastar in Chhattisgarh, Thar in Rajasthan, and Marathwada. The author writes in his foreword that he has kept the names of most of the characters and places as they are.

To get acquainted with the places and characters of this book is to get acquainted with India and Indians who have been neglected for a long time, deprived, and fighting for their identity as well as their rights. Be it the malnourished, struggling Adivasis of Maharashtra’s Melghat or the very intimate glimpses of the lives of sex workers in Mumbai’s Kamathipura and Nagpada.

The book contains scenes from the life of the nomadic tribes of Marathwada, the life of the Nat community, and the Madari community. There are stories related to two sides of life and politics of Bastar, and those of the changing environment of Amarkantak. It is the book of close observations by a journalist, penned in such a way that will move you.

The Banjara community that once used to entertain people with their art, does not even has the rights of common citizens of the country. Marathwada is known for sugarcane production but who takes care of the sugarcane workers there? Even today they are treated like slaves. Hence, the author’s question, ‘does our system prevent the worker from becoming a citizen?’ is justified.

Published by Rajpal & Sons, this book is about travelling, but it is also a book of such journeys from which we do not want to get out often. It is a book about people whom, we see but do not recognize, whom we know about, but do not want to meet!

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