Freedom remains bitterly contested in Independent India. Democracy works only for some, who thrive in its liberties, security and choice. Others are condemned to life-sentences variously of hunger, homelessness, stigma, fear, penury and neglect.
In this collection of essays, written between 2004 and 2011, we encounter many of these exiles from India’s secular democracy – children living on the streets, households battling hunger, communities battling the politics of hate; we encounter injustice and suffering, but also resistance and hope.
These essays straddle many subjects – people and policies, books and films. Within these pages, we witness a giant nation – at once old and new, dark and shining, cruel and compassionate, unfree and free.
The author weaves an alternative tapestry of diverse images and voices, portraying India in the early years of the twenty-first century.
Harsh Mander, social worker and writer, is a former civil servant. He has taught at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad; St Stephen’s College, Delhi; California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco; LBS National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie; and the Nelson Mandela Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi. He is a Member of the National Advisory Council and Director, Centre for Equity Studies. He is the founder of the campaigns Aman Biradari (for secularism, peace and justice), Nyayagrah (for legal justice and reconciliation for the survivors of communal violence), and Dil Se (for street children, and homeless people). His books include Unheard Voices: Stories of Forgotten Lives and Fear and Forgiveness: The Aftermath of Massacre.
Three Essays Collective