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The Day Democracy Died (Kindle Single)

Then I wake up.

Yes, right in there with the bodies! Have you ever seen necklaces of dried ears? Yes, trophies of war, rolled up into little leaves and kept in matchboxes! In fact, no one likes to think of the future here. Soundlessly, and without fuss, some tender thing deep inside me broke.

Something that, until then, I hadn't realised was there. I guess it would have been brutal to expect another 'The Vegetarian' from her but this is beautiful in its own way - showing what it means having to live through such incidences - how it changes the way one sees the world: Is the experience of cruelty the only thing we share as a species? Is the dignity that we cling to nothing but self-delusion, masking from ourselves the single truth: To be degraded, slaughtered - is this the essential of humankind, one which history has confirmed as inevitable?

Evening are our streets and our houses. In this half-light that no longer darkens nor lightens, we eat, and walk, and sleep. I fight with the hell that I survived. I fight with the fact of my own humanity. I fight with the idea that death is the only way of escaping this fact. Rather than fading with the passage of time, those memories become the only things that are left behind when all else is abraded.

The world darkens, like electric bulbs going out one by one.

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I am aware that I am not a safe person. That's the fundamental nature of glass. And that's why objects that are made of glass have to be handled with care. After all, if they end up smashed or cracked or chipped, then they're good for nothing, right, you just have to chuck them away. Before, we used to have a kind of glass that couldn't be broken. A truth so hard and clear it might as well have been made of glass.

So when you think about it, it was only when we were shattered that we proved we had souls.

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That what we really were was humans made of glass. Short listed for international man booker Shouldn't it rather be called Frankenstein's Monster? The book sure picks up the atmosphere of Iraq suffering Short listed for international man booker Shouldn't it rather be called Frankenstein's Monster? The book sure picks up the atmosphere of Iraq suffering from aftereffects of war and terrorism. The very idea of making a complete dead body out of parts of victims of bomb blasts which couldn't be identified with their owner is something that could occur easily to someone living in Baghdad and, for whom, bombs are a daily occurrence.

In fact, the characters who seem to be prospering the most are those gaining from ruins - one of them gets rich by buying old junk from those migrating out and other by buying or illegally occupying their properties.

Exclusive extract - India Dishonoured: Behind a nation's war on its women

Then there is the fact that monster like Baghdad contains elements of verious communities. Another element would be religion: Believers lost their faith when those who had shared their beliefs and their struggles betrayed them and their principles.

Katha Sarita sagar etc , where thing that superstition people believe - souls waiting for the judgement day, the ability of dead Jewish saints to communicate through their idols, a person possessing a quite unbelievable good luck which is saving a whole locality from misfortunes, the highly accurate future forecasts made by astrologers and card readers etc.

Of course, the motif makes sense when one thinks about how easy it is to lose the sense of reality in times of war and hostile governments: There were people who had returned from long journeys with new names and new identities, women who had spent their childhoods in prison cells and had learned, before anything else in life, the rules and conventions for dealing with the warders. The monster decided to create a team and start killing criminals to revenge the killers of victims whose body parts made his own body. Yes, you heard it - talk about killing a book.

As if it was not enough, he also does a self-interview for a newspaper.

The characters remain forgettable and after the first quarter of the book, there is not much to keep one going. Kafi enough - same implication , Mafi forgiveness - to god for having given the parents another daughter etc. That is almost the only striking thing I discovered in this book. Wu Ming-Yi's novel has a very loose plot and prose, though beautiful in beginning, falls mostly short of stimulating for the most part.

It is about narrator's quest for his father's stolen bicycle who also went missing at the same time, but the narrator doesn't hold the same kind of curiosity for whereabouts of his father while telling stories of each person who happened to be in possession of the bicycle. And thus we hear stories about a war-torn Korea, the importance of bicycle in it both in war logistics and as a luxury for people ; bicycle collectors and their values, lives of elephants and mahouts, war photographers, industries using butterfly wings for ornamentation of clothes etc.

It is a lot of Discovery channel and National Geography Channel stuff which is beautiful in its own way; just not my kink. A Pale View of Hills. A Pale View of Hills "Niki, the name we finally gave my younger daughter, is not an abbreviation; it was a compromise I reached with her father. For p A Pale View of Hills "Niki, the name we finally gave my younger daughter, is not an abbreviation; it was a compromise I reached with her father.

For paradoxically it was he who wanted to give her a Japanese name, and I — perhaps out of some selfish desire not to be reminded of the past — insisted on an English one. It is the central theme of the book having to deal with gloomy and dark past the world war and nuclear bombs while building the future, whether you are talking about Japan or at individual level: Her father-in-law is troubled by the Japanese adoption of American values.

There is that whole generation gap thing - but I guess nothing widens that gap like war, from a generation of old ways father-in-law to a generation lost to war Etsuko and Sachiko to the generation that was born in or around war times Keiko tohe generation that is alien to their parents' sufferings Nikki. This is difference between dates of generations is common motif though not most obvious in all Ishiguru books I have read but this one also shows characters who have other forms of prejudice then prevalent whether it be Japanese prejudice against women: The Red Sea Sharks Tintin, An Artist of the Floating World.

Even the non-chronological flow of prose is so brilliantly conversational. The title refers to the kind of life artists lead - away from social responsibility chasing after soft, beautiful things that become unreal in daytime like pleasures from district. They inhabit a world which gives them every temptation to become weak-willed and depraved. Am I not right, Sachiko? Yet perhaps there are one or two who are able to pursue an artistic career and yet avoid such pitfalls.

The novel starts at a poin where author is inclined to believe that people around him are of opinion that not only he tried being socially responsible but failed with devastating effects to whole nation. And thus the need to look back at his own life. And question - if an artist is just giving out as his or her message what is the spirit of people at the time, how much he or she can be blamed for leading them? The other themes I am too lazy to discuss. Traitor's Niche is a place where heads of traitors were displayed for public to see and know what happens when they question authority in Ottoman empi Traitor's Niche is a place where heads of traitors were displayed for public to see and know what happens when they question authority in Ottoman empire.

The idea of characters being constantly made face to face with a dead face and thoughts that might occur to him might have been interesting. But it actually turned out to be most boring book I have read out of international booker lists so far. I don't know how it ever got listed. The narrative isnt stimulating and there isn't much of a plot either. Land of Black Gold Tintin, As a king I am answerable to my people, and therefore, I would like you to prove your purity in front of all so that in future people on this earth would not cast doubt - dare not put any blame - of infidelity on your noble character.

Agonised by these false rumours, I cannot bear living. I shall enter a blazing fire, the only course left for me now that I have been rejected in a public gathering by my husband who is not pleased with my qualities.

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To understand the origins of most cultural practices in India requires a return to centuries-old religious mythology. Taught to almost every Indian child from a young age, it puts forward some of the earliest ideals surrounding male and female gender roles that they will encounter: Lord Ram as the epitome of a dutiful son, a good husband and an honourable king; his wife Sita as the archetypal woman — kind, righteous, strong but obedient.

In most versions Sita accepts the trial of fire and walks through unharmed. However, in other versions she rejects the trial and calls on the Earth to consume her and spare her the indignity. It can be extremely difficult to draw a line where religion ends and culture begins; the two have been intricately inter-woven over centuries.

The result — from the viewpoint of many Indians — is a culture that places men and women in different but complementary roles. Social mores, rather than subscribing to western principles of feminist equality, see Indian women set apart, idealised. Ascribed a special — separate — place to men in society, they are placed up high on a pedestal.


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Yet this symbolism that puts women on a pedestal is in fact the problem. Their celebrated position, defined by tradition, swiftly becomes a prison.

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Convention requires that girls be brought up to be good daughters and later obedient wives, not independent women encouraged to do what they wish. Her role is reduced to remaining honourable until she can get married, produce children and run the household. By putting women on a pedestal, they are placed in a trap where they have to constantly live up to the expectations of others.