Book Reading: Annie Zaidi’s “Known Turf”

Date: 14th September 2010
Time : 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Venue : Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore

122/4 Infantry Road, opposite Infantry Wedding Hall
Bangalore City, India

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About the Book: ‘Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales’ is a collection of essays that slides between genres, moving from reportage to travel to memoir and back. The author recounts her experiences as a reporter covering stories as diverse as the decline of the dacoit in Chambal, hunger, female foeticide, and the seeming resurgence of Sufism in Punjab. She goes on to explore starvation, particularly amongst a p…rimitive tribal community in Madhya Pradesh and weavers in Uttar Pradesh, and the ugly failures that permit such extremes of hunger in a nation that is more than able to feed itself. The discovery of desperate poverty in Punjab comes pegged to an explosive caste dynamic that has caused much religious controversy in recent times. The book is unflinching as it makes the connections between economic, crippling social disempowerment and the moral pressures that make for a society where millions of girls are killed at, or before, birth. However it is the stories of humble folk tortured by hunger, discriminated against for reasons of caste, or gender that linger. The stories span a massive range from little bus and road journeys with engaging portraits, to child hunger, debt, bondage, untouchability, religious tension and conflict and crimes against women. Above all, it is the quality of the story-telling that grips you.

About the author: Annie Zaidi’s first collection of love poems , ‘Crush’, was published in 2007. Her work has been anthologised in 21 Under 40, a collection of short stories, and India Shining, India Changing, a volume of contemporary Indian writing.

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