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Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from…

Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India's Poorest Districts

by P. Sainath

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I love this book. Some of the stories in it made me cry. However, the sheer number of stories given in it can cause you to become numb after a while. But this shouldn't allow one to forget that every one of those stories are true and should be multiplied by many thousands to gt a true picture of the state of plight of millions of Indians. ( )
  manalika | Feb 18, 2012 |
This is a collection of journalism from the poorest districts of India in the early 1990s, a time when the poor made up around 40% of the Indian population. The book is set out thematically. Sainath starts with a series of reports about farcically inept development programmes or encounters with officialdom - the dairy project which led to a decimation of the cattle stock in the villages where it was applied, or the two brothers, only one of whom can be registered as an adivasi (member of one of the "scheduled tribes" eligible for special benefits) - when he queries this Kafkaesque situation the official says "how can I explain things to you - you can barely read or write".

This is a meticulous but angry book about how people who are already powerless and marginal are further ignored, abused or even cheated by uncaring, contemptuous and/or corrupt officialdom, preventing them from ever having any chance of getting out of poverty. Some of it is quite incredible - the families who are bonded into virtual slavery, sometimes for decades, for one-sixth of the price of the book, or the land reform programme which gives people plots of land but doesn't tell them where it is. The title of the book refers to the way that drought relief payments are manipulated by local officials and how droughts are misreported by the media - very often the underlying problems have nothing to do with the level of rainfall, but that's too complicated for the tearjerking report that needs to be filed.

I wonder if the situation is any different these days. I suspect not, at least in the essentials. The other day I heard a podcast about a great new idea to develop some urban slums in a way that will bring benefits to the residents. I was certainly more sceptical than I would have been before reading this. ( )
1 vote wandering_star | Dec 6, 2009 |
The subtitle says it all: 'Stories from India's Poorest Districts'. It's wonderful, powerful journalism: P Sainath spent some years travelling around talking to the poorest of the poor and writing articles for The Times of India. This is a collection of the articles linked by short generalising essays. It gives faces and voices to the poor, and it's unremitting. Nothing picturesque or 'different' here.

http://homepage.mac.com/shawjonathan/iblog/C1020611578/E20080213121224/index.htm... ( )
  shawjonathan | Feb 22, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140259848, Paperback)

The poor in India are, too often, reduced to statistics. In the dry language of development reports and economic projections, the true misery of the 312 million who live below the poverty line, or the 26 million displaced by various projects, or the 13 million who suffer from tuberculosis gets overlooked. In this thoroughly researched study of the poorest of the poor, we get to see how they manage, what sustains them, and the efforts, often ludicrous, to do something for them. The people who figure in this book typify the lives and aspirations of a large section of Indian society, and their stories present us with the true face of development.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:45 -0400)

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