The Dark Underbelly Of Shining India
Abdullah Khan
BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY: STORIES FROM ANOTHER INDIA by Syeda Hameed HarperCollins, Delhi, 2012, 365 pp., 399
June 2012, volume 36, No 6

On the cover of this elegantly written reportage-cum-travelogue is a shabbily dressed teenage girl holding a toddler. In the background we see the thatched houses and many tell-tale signs of extreme poverty. From the cover photograph itself you have a fair idea what this book is all about. At the top of the cover it reads Beautiful Country: Stories from Another India. The title is apt because the stories here are, of course, from another India; an India which is different from the India portrayed by the worshippers of mindless consumerism and votaries of crony capitalism. This India doesn’t shine and re-mains unaffected by the impact of double digit growth. This is, in fact, the dark underbelly of one of the world’s fastest growing economies where majority of Indian citizens live. They are ‘resilient and courageous women and men of India whose ordinary lives and extraordinary spirit inspired the author duo, Syeda Hameed and Gunjan Veda to write this book.

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