Unheard Voices Stories of Forgotten Lives eBook ☆

Unheard Voices Stories of Forgotten Lives 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 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


10 thoughts on “Unheard Voices Stories of Forgotten Lives

  1. Deepak Jacob Deepak Jacob says:

    Unheard Voices elouently 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


  2. Manas Bedmutha Manas Bedmutha says:

    ‘Unheard Voices’ is an ensemble of stories of nation wide issues covered under the garb of peoples’ lives From caste issues to disease stigma and riots to traditions it gives a deeper insight of how trapped India is despite over 70 years of Independence With collouial language and relatable characters it a must read for every IndianMander takes examples of common people like each of us and expounds on the penury people go through everyday During the 1990s India saw tremendous turmoil and upheaval through bomb blasts riots and economic crashes Set in the times around and after this decade the book explains how the calamities be it natural or man made can destroy human lives People lose families houses and even the drive to live But the characters in these stories show the world how even a common man can fight back In many of the books he does not even show the outcome The main focus is on how these people got up and took a stand rather than giving upSince ages problems like corruption sex work and casteism that have prevented many people from achieving their goals Amidst these problems many people are bound to take loans to even survive What follows in the aftermath is the atrocities of the lenders and different oppresors in each story The best part is that Mander himself being a civil servant does not shy off from criticizing the government where due In most of the Hindu Muslim and Brahmin Dalit cases the police do not even register cases Judiciary officers are hard to catch hold of and even difficult to convince In the stories he also brings out how the execution of government policies is flawed through corrupt practices and manipulated records At a lot of times the government simply turns a deaf ear to these voices in order to save its own seat of power These voices simply go unheard and unnoticed in the royal chaos of the great Indian political circusThe topics in his stories are very simple About how the tribals were shunned from their own house to build dams for the greater good Or about how we are still scared of coming out as HIV positives Or on the idea of how innocuous people are seen as enemies in their own homes Or even about how particular communities force women to enter sex work because it is their ancestral occupation With many such issues we find stories of people who want to break these shackles and start afresh But does the surrounding allow that to happen? Come on we’re in IndiaIt is perhaps around twenty years since the book was written And probably ten years before that when Mander may have seen these people But still today each and every topic is as relevant as it was a few years back We are still living in a world where a Dalit cannot use a same water handpump as a Bramhin a mental patient does not have a right to live and that all Muslims are poisonous for the society With efforts of many NGOs and activists at least diseases such as leprosy and HIV AIDS are no the disgrace they used to be People are even coming out about their sexual preferences in the open But until we do not see beyond our privileges and ego let aside our differences and work together India will never be able to develop in its true sense This is the larger narrative that Harsh Mander very fluently expresses in these storiesThe writing style is lucid The narration changes fluidly from the story to the social message and back in each story But the most surprising trait of all stories is that fact that you keep wondering what happened after the protagonist stages up a fight Did shethey live to see another ray of sunshine? The struggle is not too much to ask Like in one story about the Bhopal gas tragedy the fight was only to get compensation money and securing a good upbringing of one’s siblings The protagonist did not really bring a revolution but just tried to make his voice heard It is the courage to stand up and the spirit to never give up that makes people leaders in their own right And this is what ‘Unheard Voices’ stresses in each line of its writingCheers to a better India


  3. Veerabhadram Veerabhadram says:

    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 IndiaThis Harsh Mander's collection of stories named Unheard Voices stories of forgotten lives is an eye openerHimself a distinguished civil servant and a noted social activistthese 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 controlSome were the victims of man made disaster like the Bhopal tragedysome bore the brunt the fury of the naturesome were the subjects of historical oppression and hysterical followers of blind beliefsa few of the governmental apathy and centuries of prejudice and a fewof the caprice of fateIn one of his speechesdelivered during the late twentiesRussell Bertrand observed that the Time machine imagined by Wells can be secured by travelling about the world at the present dayA European who goes to New york and Chicago sees the futurethe future to which Europe is likely to come if it escapes economic disasterOn the other handWhen he goes to Asia he sees the pastIn 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 centurythe year of the publication of this book Though a decade of growth triggered by the liberalization profited the urbaneducated Indians and lead India comfortably to the next millenniumthe 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 pagethese stories are essential reading for all care about the future of IndiaTo those interested in the works of Shashi Tharoorone of the stories in this book inspired Tharoor to write his Novel Riot


  4. Nishant Nishant says:

    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


  5. Sai Chand Sai Chand says:

    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 readThis book is almost there with the Everybody loves a good drought by PSainath


  6. Megha Sharma Megha Sharma says:

    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 uestions 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?


  7. Arathi Mohan Arathi Mohan says:

    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 uest for dignity and justice in the harshest situations


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