Untold Stories from India
Anchor Books, Paperback, 9780307454720, 334pp.
Publication Date: October 14, 2008
In this groundbreaking anthology, sixteen renowned writers tell the hidden story of the AIDS crisis, illuminating the complex nature of one of the major problems facing the developing world. India is home to almost 3 million HIV cases, but AIDS is still stigmatized and shrouded in denial. Discrimination against HIV-affected individuals in hospitals, schools, and even among families is common, just as discussion about HIV and participation in prevention or treatment programs are not. In this riveting book, sixteen of India's most well-known writers go on the road to uncover the reality of AIDS in India and tell the human stories behind the epidemic.Kiran Desai travels to the coast of Andhra Pradesh, where the sex workers are considered the most desirable; Salman Rushdie meets members of Mumbai's transgender community; William Dalrymple encounters the devadasis, women who have been “married” to a temple goddess and thus are deemed acceptable for transactional sex. Eye-opening, hard-hitting, and moving, AIDS Sutra presents a side of India rarely seen before.
Panjiar is a freelance photojournalist based in Delhi.
Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics, is Lamont University Professor at Harvard University.
“An intelligent, often compelling collection of essays by noted Indian writers, demonstrates that workers on the subcontinent dealing with the disease often confront similar problems.... This important book should be read...not just by physicians, health officials and members of nongovernmental organizations but by any compassionate reader.” -Los Angeles Times “Provides a uniquely intimate glimpse into a disease that is either sterilized by statistics or ignored altogether.” -Time “Finely observed.” -The Economist “What better way to give a voice to the 2.7 million people in India living with HIV/AIDS than to enlist the country's top authors to tell their stories?” -Reuters “The range of essays is truly impressive.” -BBC News (online) “The writers here offset the numbing anonymity of numbers with portraits of stunning particularity.... The writing in the anthology is by turns tortured and beautiful as [they] show us the people behind stereotypes.” -The Wall Street Journal “A cautionary volume that stresses the need to educate, treat, and create jobs.... A forward by Nobelist Amartya Sen and an introduction by Bill and Melinda Gates both argue that we must cease stigmatizing and blaming hapless victims if we are to find real solutions.” -Kirkus Reviews“Sixteen writers, including Salman Rushdie, spotlight the normally hidden crisis of AIDS in India.... Prashant Panjir's poignant accompanying photographs sound another powerful wake-up call to the global health community and beyond.” -Booklist “These 'untold stories from India' humanize the tragedy.... The book succeeds because it is not sentimental: the writers respect the victims, admire their courage. With humility, expatriates make the arcane accessible. Those based in India have a refreshing candor.” -The Independent (London) “Absorbing.... Lately, press accounts of India have tended to focus on lavish billionaires, burgeoning tourism, powerhouse firms like Infosys.... AIDS SUTRA presents a different India, an India in which grinding poverty and sexual taboos combine with sanctimony and ignorance to fuel the spread of HIV.” -The National “The challenge of conveying extreme suffering without sentimentalising, sensationalising or simplifying is met in this collection of wide-ranging voices, both emotive and meditative.... The anthology-published in collaboration with Avahan, the India Aids Initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-shows how storytelling can help create life-saving 'fellow-feeling'.” -The Guardian “For all that India tries to present to the world the shiny face of a modern technologic giant, judging by what you read in AIDS SUTRA when it comes to sexuality it's stuck in the dark ages.... Heartbreaking.” -Blogcritics magazine “Every once in a while, you pick up a book that will change the way you look at the world. This is the intersection of writing and reading at its very best.... Extraordinary.... Without exception, these essays are superb.” -Armchair Interviews “The need for societal responsibility is further emphasized by the varying geographical and socio-economic demographics of the individuals discussed in AIDS SUTRA. ” -India Currents, The Complete Indian American Magazine “Eye-opening, hard-hitting and moving.” -Hindustan Times “Raw, intense, and heartbreaking. Ordinary characters who are living with HIV across India achieve a heightened state of humanity, and epic complexities.... An eye-opener; it dispels and looks beyond the many myths that surround the disease.” -MINT “AIDS SUTRA has brought together a galaxy of some of the best-known writers.... The mastery the writers have over their art enables them to tell the story of this 'side to India rarely seen before' with empathy and compassion.” -India Together “AIDS SUTRA: Untold Stories from India might as well have been subtitled 'Whatever You Thought, Think Again,' because this disturbing and brilliant collection of prose takes everything you thought you knew about India, grinds it all up into a bitter masala and makes you gag while drinking it all down.” -PopMatters “[A]n important, moving, and transformative read. Each story is relatively brief and gives a taste of the authors' diverse and prolific literary talents. ” -The South Asian Women's Network “The variety of authors included, and the topics they choose to focus on, is remarkable. ” -Playback: stl