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India on my mind

In bookmark on January 2, 2009 at 2:28 am



While “Slumdog Millionaire” continues to captivate the global cinematic spotlight for its poignant commentary on the class system in Mumbai, Aravind Adiga, the 33 year old Indian author has nabbed the Man Booker Prize for his first novel “The White Tiger.”

In an interview with the BBC, Adiga described “The White Tiger” as “the story of a poor man in today’s India, one of the many hundreds of millions who belong to the vast Indian underclass, people who live as laborers, as servants, as chauffeurs and who by and large do not get represented in Indian entertainment, in Indian films, in Indian books. My hero—or rather my protagonist—Balram Halwai is one of these faceless millions of poor Indians.” 

At a time when many refer to India as “an economic miracle” citing an economic growth rate of nearly 10% per year, and “the world’s largest democracy,” Adiga challenges these notions. “It is important,” he says, “to introduce other dissonant chords into the largely triumphalist notes. It is important to realize that large numbers of people are not benefiting from the economic boom, that social tensions are increasing.” 

On NPR radio Adiga said he wanted his book to “entertain and disturb.” “There’s no reason that a book dealing with poverty can’t be viciously funny at times,” Adiga told the BBC after being awarded the Booker Prize. 

Read more at International.



bookmark: ‘Whatever it Takes’ to teach Harlem’s Youth

In bookmark on September 18, 2008 at 4:40 pm

New York Times journalist Paul Tough profiles educational visionary Geoffrey Canada, whose Harlem Children’s Zone—currently serving more than 7,000 children and encompassing 97 city blocks—represents an audacious effort to end poverty within underserved communities.

Canada’s radical experiment is predicated upon changing everything in these communities—creating an interlocking web of services targeted at the poorest and least likely to succeed children: establishing programs to prepare and support parents, a demanding k-8 charter school and a range of after-school programs for high school students.

Smoothly narrated, affecting and heartening, this book gives readers a solid look at the problems facing poor communities and their reformers, as well as good cause to be optimistic about the future. – Excerpted from Publisher’s Weekly 

Listen to the NPR interview here.