Friday, March 19, 2010

Books Have the Power to Move Us So Much!

When one’s inbox is usually full of emails of complaints of readers—book deliveries reaching late, books lower down the queue arriving, newsletter updates not is indeed a pleasant change to get an email from a reader describing how he has been deeply moved by a book he has read from our library.

The book is Kishwar Desai’s ‘Witness the Night: Sometimes the Truth is Too Much to Bear’. A new addition to our stock, the book is about 14-year old Durga, who is a suspect for the mass murder of a family. Against all odds, it is a Simran, a social worker from Delhi, who believes that she may be more sinned against than sinning!

The person who sent me the email is Virendra Malik, a regular reader of our library!
Here is what Virendra had to say, and coming as it did, on the first Navratra of the year(I Am late in posting this), I think his email was very apt!

“Hi I recently borrowed "Witness the Night" by Kishwar Desai from The book is based on female foeticide and female infanticide. The portrayal in the book, of the way females are treated in some pockets of our country made me want to throw up. Why is it that in the book little Durga and Sharda have to suffer so much? Just because they were girls and they survived the attempt to kill them during their child birth. Durga, as a nine year old keeps a little skeleton hand in her pencil box as it is of her elder sister who was not allowed to live and buried in the village fields as an infant. The parents were educated, the richest people in town. Their sons were not any better than their daughters, in terms of qualities, yet, the parents look for an NRI bride and treat the daughters pitiably.

Feed the girl child with opium, husk and drown them in milk, or else bury them in the village field to be eaten by dogs or ploughed down by tractors. My GOD!!!!!!

Made my stomach churn! Are we Indians so cruel? We pray to the GODDESS in the Navratras and kill the GODDESS in our home! Utterly shameful!!! I was so aghast and disturbed that I held my little daughter’s hand the whole night. She was the little soul that gave me solace tonight. It is only when we ill-treat our GODDESS at home like this that people like Ramnath and Manubhai come along.

An Essential and compelling read. Makes you think - is life really like that?”
Virendra, we need more people thinking like you do!! Desai’s book is one I could not read without feeling squeamish!

While we have come a long way, and many modern, city dwelling, emancipated women argue against reservation on the basis that they are no less than men, we need the women’s reservation bill, the reserved seats in buses, the 5 extra points for the girl child in Nursery Admissions, as nominal recognition of the basic anomaly in our society. What do you think?

You can find the link to the book at

Click on the small L icon to connect to Librarything and get the detailed description of the book.