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Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from…

Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India's Poorest Districts (edition 2002)

by P. Sainath

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1693124,342 (3.85)2
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Title:Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India's Poorest Districts
Authors:P. Sainath
Info:Penguin Books,India (2002), Paperback, 435 pages
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Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India's Poorest Districts by P. Sainath


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This is great journalism, this is a collection of stories from the poorest districts in India, showing how the governments fail to see the reality . even though the research for this was mostly done in 1993-1995, this book is as relevant today as it was more than ten years ago. ( )
  kasyapa | Oct 9, 2017 |
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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