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30 review for River Of Flesh And Other Stories: The Prostituted Woman In Indian Short Fiction

  1. 5 out of 5

    Monika

    As far as my understanding goes, human character is essentially shaped into a baseless truancy. This statement is very debatable, but let's confine ourselves to the prostituted women lest we find ourselves meandering all day long. Our world has been a world of inventions and discoveries and creations. We create, sometimes to ally ourselves to our notions of truancy. Prostitution, I was told, was sometimes choosen voluntarily and sometimes forced into. But can we really talk about free choices in As far as my understanding goes, human character is essentially shaped into a baseless truancy. This statement is very debatable, but let's confine ourselves to the prostituted women lest we find ourselves meandering all day long. Our world has been a world of inventions and discoveries and creations. We create, sometimes to ally ourselves to our notions of truancy. Prostitution, I was told, was sometimes choosen voluntarily and sometimes forced into. But can we really talk about free choices in the modern world? Since ages, women have been at the receiving end of inequality and the way society functions, it ensures that it remain true to its hollowed idea of inception. As Ruchira Gupta points out in the Introduction to River of Flesh and Other Stories - The Prostituted Woman in Indian Short Fiction, "prostitution was not just a function of women's inequality, but [...] it actually deepened women's inequality". Compiled in this anthology is a collection of twenty-one stories from twenty-one different writers of undivided India as part of an "attempt to de-normalize the efforts to legitimize the exploitation of women". In this anthology are the yearning for a doll by a child prostitute, the attempt for the humiliation of patriarchy through prostitution, a woman being an enemy of other woman, among others.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ankita Chauhan

    Full Review : https://soundingwords.blogspot.com/20... Past week I read a column in TOI about Ruchira Gupta and her latest anthology. At book launch of “River of Flesh and Other Stories” she engulfed all the emotions, her years and years of work experience in just one line “Prostitution is not about choice. It’s lack of choice.” Frankly speaking I have never read anything like this before, even I was aware of this term Prostitute and human trafficking. When so called developed people feel evil wh Full Review : https://soundingwords.blogspot.com/20... Past week I read a column in TOI about Ruchira Gupta and her latest anthology. At book launch of “River of Flesh and Other Stories” she engulfed all the emotions, her years and years of work experience in just one line “Prostitution is not about choice. It’s lack of choice.” Frankly speaking I have never read anything like this before, even I was aware of this term Prostitute and human trafficking. When so called developed people feel evil while pronouncing this word only… It stirred my soul that few girls suffered that undying pain on their body. Huge Respect for the lady, Our Editor… Ruchira gupta has spent her whole life just working for these girls, who are as normal as us and carry same emotions into their heart unless their surrounding starts to play its brutal game. When I was going to explore the book I was little hesitated…then I took a glance of index…and smiled, literally I smiled because there were few familiar names...closer than anything my favourite Amrita Pritam, Ismat Chughtai, Premchand, Kamleshwar, Krishna Chander, Manto, among others. Happiness started to rush in my veins and I read…And Read until I finished it. Basically it has all in all, 21 stories of the finest writers of Asia. All about the Sex workers, women’s inequality and commercial rape… Here Ruchira Gupta did a great job just to accumulate all and present in a book for readers. Amrita Pritam weaved the character of singing girl Neelam in “THE SHAH’S HARLOT” a serene lady who accepted her fate as second woman while performing all the duties as first. Ismat Chugtai Writes about Lajo in “The Housewife” A lady who only knows how to give love, the norms of society made her believe that she is not good enough to be wife of someone. But she feels helpless when it comes a little desire “A home of my own!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sookie

    Almost everyone had normalized the violence to such an extent that, if asked, they denied having faced any. For the women, the violence inflicted by the customers upon them was paid for, and thus couldn’t be defined as such. However, according to current research, the physical and mental consequences of the repeated body invasion that prostituted women face is so extreme that these girls and women suffer from higher rates of psycho-social trauma than even war veterans. I saw little ‘agency’ in Almost everyone had normalized the violence to such an extent that, if asked, they denied having faced any. For the women, the violence inflicted by the customers upon them was paid for, and thus couldn’t be defined as such. However, according to current research, the physical and mental consequences of the repeated body invasion that prostituted women face is so extreme that these girls and women suffer from higher rates of psycho-social trauma than even war veterans. I saw little ‘agency’ in their lives. -- Ruchira Gupta The stories in this collection run with the common theme: exploitation of women and violence that ensues. The collection contains stories written across decades, across languages and across genders. From the story written during 40s in Urdu to the one written in 2014 in Kannada, the echoing cries of women all sound the same. The inequality in their treatment spreads to caste, skin color, religion and so forth. Prostitution ends up becoming generational especially when it operates in isolation and the women are confined to a building. Many girls unknowingly become a part of this world as their immediate circle normalizes the system and the people involved. The stories are moving, soul wrenching and horrifically normalized. Its normalized in a way a little girl knows her father is one of her mother's 'customer'. Its normalized in the way a woman knows she has to sleep with a man without getting paid because she is of lower caste and this is the only way she gets to buy food from his store. Its normalized in the way a woman takes beating from a man and hurriedly covers with make up before next man walks in. Normalization doesn't stop at these women but continues with their sons and daughters as well. This isn't an easy story collection to read but the voices it contains, make it an important one.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Privy Trifles

    A heart touching read that threatens to rip your soul with its harsh realities

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kavita Jhala

    Too often we move on in life with a thought buried in our head and that thought rears its head and gets us to wake up and try…… to get oneself beyond the comfort zone. To see the other side of things that don’t concern you at all. To feel the layers breaking up and revealing something you never expected. And when you feel that you’re changed. You’re changed because even though you knew these things – it wasn’t detailed enough. It wasn’t a multi-perspective approach before. You change for real an Too often we move on in life with a thought buried in our head and that thought rears its head and gets us to wake up and try…… to get oneself beyond the comfort zone. To see the other side of things that don’t concern you at all. To feel the layers breaking up and revealing something you never expected. And when you feel that you’re changed. You’re changed because even though you knew these things – it wasn’t detailed enough. It wasn’t a multi-perspective approach before. You change for real and you’re glad for the change. This isn’t some quote taken from any book. The lines expressed above are my thoughts after reading the book “River of Flesh and Other Stories:The Prostituted Woman in Indian Short Fiction” Edited by Ruchira Gupta (an acclaimed investigative journalist) and published by Speaking Tiger There’s so much to this book that its difficult to pinpoint what to praise about. The book is a purposive journey for a reader to watch along with the writer the dark by-lanes and cluttered spaces that speak a very different story from what we have conjured in our head. The beauty of this book is that the stories come from India’s most celebrated writers like Amrita Pritam, Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, Indira Goswami, Ismat Chughtai, J. P. Das, Kamala Das, Kamleshwar, Krishan Chander, Munshi Premchand, Nabendu Ghosh, Qurratulain Hyder, Saadat Hasan Manto and Siddique Alam, among others.. It might shock you to think that these writers wrote on the “subject” that we in our civilized and educated society shun upon. Like the Flame of Forest flowers (Palaash/Kesuda/Dhak) that lack fragrance and yet make up for it with their fiery spirit, the women in these stories have inspired a range of emotions in me. Some made me want to shake them up, some gave me that gleam of spiritedness , some made me understand that life can sometimes fritter away in pathos for no fault, and yet some get angry with the world with all the right reason too! An awesomely earth-shaking book. A must read for those who are open to reading about women and their lives. The perspectives will stun you. What’s more is that the stories are penned by well known authors and could be welded from real life situations and people around them. This book was the first book I picked up from Speaking Tiger and I love their collection of books ever since! — BLURB: River of Flesh and Other Stories brings together twenty-one stories about trafficked and prostituted women by some of India’s most celebrated writers—Amrita Pritam, Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, Indira Goswami, Ismat Chughtai, J. P. Das, Kamala Das, Kamleshwar, Krishan Chander, Munshi Premchand, Nabendu Ghosh, Qurratulain Hyder, Saadat Hasan Manto and Siddique Alam, among others. Jugnu, in Kamleshwar’s ‘River of Flesh’ (‘Maas ka Darya’)—stares at a lifetime of servitude as age and disease take hold; Ismat Chughtai creates the unforgettable character of Lajo in ‘The Housewife’, a carefree young woman who must conform to society’s idea of decency, or risk being branded a whore; in ‘Heeng-Kochuri’, by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, a boy growing up near a red-light area discovers the adult world of patrons, connoisseurs and customers—as well as savouries offered to young boys as bribe; and in Manisha Kulshrestha’s ‘Kalindi’, a son looks in through a window and his life falls to pieces around him. An unprecedented anthology—for its subject, as well as for the range of authors and translators who are part of it—River of Flesh and Other Stories offers a harsh indictment of this practice of human slavery, too often justified—and occasionally glorified—as the ‘world’s oldest profession’. Buy it from Speaking Tiger or Amazon — *Note: I haven’t mentioned the word ‘Prostitute’ because for me they are all women, with their dreams, hopes and emotions just like us all. Don’t judge them because of what they have to do.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Viju

    The prostituted Indian woman is typically a common occurrence in many of the Sanskrit tales including the ons by the phenomenal writers such as Kalidasa, Bhasa and the like. It is usually that of a courtesan in the court of a king, a performer of arts or a woman who takes to the oldest profession in the world by choice. A lot of the tales end up showing the woman in good light (for the most part) and it is not typically seen with contempt, both in the setting of the story and in terms of its cha The prostituted Indian woman is typically a common occurrence in many of the Sanskrit tales including the ons by the phenomenal writers such as Kalidasa, Bhasa and the like. It is usually that of a courtesan in the court of a king, a performer of arts or a woman who takes to the oldest profession in the world by choice. A lot of the tales end up showing the woman in good light (for the most part) and it is not typically seen with contempt, both in the setting of the story and in terms of its character. However, a gradual shift occurred in the portrayal of these woman prostitutes in a not-so-good light and the profession itself began to be looked down up on with scorn. The circumstances that led to the person becoming a prostitute is not that something that everyone pays attention to, but the ridicule is something that everyone contributes too. The book ‘River of Flesh and Other Stories - The Prostituted Woman Indian Short Fiction’ by Ruchira Gupta is a collection of twenty one short stories which mainly have the theme as that of the main protagonist play prostitute or that of prostitution influencing the occurrence of events in the story. The book boasts of stories from renowned story writers including Premchand, Puthumaippithan, Subodh Ghosh, Niranjana and more. Putting together an anthology with twenty-one stories with this theme is no easy task and one can definitely agree that Ruchira Gupta’s selection of the stories is spot on. It could have been a sob-tale fest with really depressing stories with characters that are even more depressing. Instead Ruchira decides to focus on not just the depressing part, but also stories that gives us a sneak peek into the woman’s psyche or one where the ‘other’ woman knows she is the other woman and has come to terms with it. Be it ‘Murder of Honor’ which showcases Premchand’s subtle writing and a grandiose description at the same time, or the heartbreaking ‘The Last Customer’ which shows the plight of a girl who probably has never seen what happiness really is, Ruchira’s choice of stories is impeccable. One of the finest writings is seen in ‘The Shah’s Harlot’ by Amrita Pritam which shows the other woman being well aware of place in her beloved society and competing with the wife with respect to grace. A sweet kid’s tale and brush-offs with a prostitute is showcased very well in ‘Heeng-Kochuri’ and I wouldn’t be completely wrong if I said all of us have some good memories with someone who necessarily wasn’t in the correct side of a moral stance. For that moment, you forget what the person did and you only latch on to the memories. A lot of the stories are translated from their vernacular versions and there is little or no loss in terms of the messaging that the story delivers and that is due to the exemplary work of multiple translators. In addition, the fact that many of these stories have probably come out anytime in the last 75-100 years also shows how little has changed in our views. Each of these stories has a lot of soul in them and this is what makes this anthology a compelling read! (This book was provided to me as a part of the Flipkart Book Review Program.)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Digant

    As I start reading the novel, I go through the preface. I know there and then that this book is going to be a hard hitting one. And so with each story I read, I simply grope on to the next one, wanting to discover one more aspect of prostitution in India. Women have NEVER been treated with the desired respect in our country, be it currently or centuries ago. They have been mistreated, abused physically as well as mentally, manhandled, neglected, underestimated and most importantly taken for grant As I start reading the novel, I go through the preface. I know there and then that this book is going to be a hard hitting one. And so with each story I read, I simply grope on to the next one, wanting to discover one more aspect of prostitution in India. Women have NEVER been treated with the desired respect in our country, be it currently or centuries ago. They have been mistreated, abused physically as well as mentally, manhandled, neglected, underestimated and most importantly taken for granted. This book is for those readers who like some serious non fiction. I call it non fiction because all the stories are true. This is only the tip of the massive iceberg of women trafficking and prostitution. A variety of celebrated as well as less known authors come together and contribute a total of 21 short stories painstakingly compiled by Ruchira Gupta from the nook and corners of India. Each story depicts the tale of a woman troubled by her own problems. The translations are beautifully done. Be it Urdu, Bengali, Marathi or Hindi, every story is brilliantly translated into English without draining away the emotional quotient from the story. OVERALL, this novel is a must read for those who wish to know the extent of spread of prostitution in our society. Reading all the 21 stories, I realized one thing – very few of these women did it out of choice. Infact, no one ever did it out of choice. It was always compulsion that led to them taking this path. They simply didn’t have any other choice. We ought to feel really privileged and lucky that we were born and brought up in an environment where we atleast had the liberty of choosing what we liked and what we didn’t. A book which should be read by every single Indian, this one is definitely recommended!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Pratibha Pandey

    Not just this book made me a little more curious about the work being done for the welfare of the numerous girls stuck in this trade , the literary aspect of the collection is its brilliant translations from original language to English. Such translated works make me look for more of them in future and to be so thankful for such collections. This book while being fictional, very conveniently showcases a reality that most of us ignore or deny the very existence even when we all have heard about i Not just this book made me a little more curious about the work being done for the welfare of the numerous girls stuck in this trade , the literary aspect of the collection is its brilliant translations from original language to English. Such translated works make me look for more of them in future and to be so thankful for such collections. This book while being fictional, very conveniently showcases a reality that most of us ignore or deny the very existence even when we all have heard about it. more on: http://www.a-lotofpages.com/2016/02/r...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Aravind

    This collection of short stories, mostly translated from different Indian languages, is a moving, heartrending portrait of the sufferings of the prostituted women who don't actually seem to have a choice... This collection of short stories, mostly translated from different Indian languages, is a moving, heartrending portrait of the sufferings of the prostituted women who don't actually seem to have a choice...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bhakti Motta

    https://bhaktimotta.wordpress.com/201... https://bhaktimotta.wordpress.com/201...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amrendra

    An incisive and wide-range compilation of works revolving around prostitution and its exploration on various planes - physical, mental, societal, economical and behavioural, etc. This compilation contains 21 stories ranging from Premchand to Manto, Ismat Chugtai, Krishan Chander, Quttarulain Hyder, Kamleshwar, Amita Pritam, etc. - the best that you can get to read. It is bound to move the readers as the stories are poignant and emotionally overflowing with rich narration and true capture of the pl An incisive and wide-range compilation of works revolving around prostitution and its exploration on various planes - physical, mental, societal, economical and behavioural, etc. This compilation contains 21 stories ranging from Premchand to Manto, Ismat Chugtai, Krishan Chander, Quttarulain Hyder, Kamleshwar, Amita Pritam, etc. - the best that you can get to read. It is bound to move the readers as the stories are poignant and emotionally overflowing with rich narration and true capture of the place and times they are set in.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Supriya Srivatsa

    Underrated, very well written set of short stories! The stories are delicate, yet bold; nuanced, yet undaunted. Even in the shortest of short stories, there's an instant connection with the protagonist. Some stories end in enigma, some end in unimagined twists; but almost all of them leave a fuzzy feeling in your heart - fuzzy with pain, sadness or love for the characters. Worth reading! Underrated, very well written set of short stories! The stories are delicate, yet bold; nuanced, yet undaunted. Even in the shortest of short stories, there's an instant connection with the protagonist. Some stories end in enigma, some end in unimagined twists; but almost all of them leave a fuzzy feeling in your heart - fuzzy with pain, sadness or love for the characters. Worth reading!

  13. 4 out of 5

    URVISH PATEL

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Nice book

  14. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    A diverse set of perspectives on human trafficking and prostitution in India, told in short story form. Difficult to read but if you have a passion for this topic and the pain it inflicts in the world, a must read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Fartashia Wijdan

    hauntingly brilliant.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Samir Manocha

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rajashree Chowdhury

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chandra P Singh

  19. 4 out of 5

    Garema khurana

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nepeta

  21. 4 out of 5

    Meghna

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sohini Dey

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sabina

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sandeep Tyagi

  25. 4 out of 5

    Margeaux

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gopi

  27. 5 out of 5

    Vaishnavi Mishra

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sanna

  29. 5 out of 5

    Vaishnavi Ravikumar

  30. 5 out of 5

    _silkreads

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