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   In the body of the world
Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
30 Aug 2013
n a phenomenon of our times. As an acclaimed author and a passionate activist, she has devoted her life to the female body - both as a source of human life and as an embodiment of human violence. Considered as one of Newsweek's 150 Women Who Changed the World, Ensler initiated the world into multilogue on vagina - to talk about it, value it and protect it. She has been witness to the worst ever violence inflicted on women, her nerves saturated by the stories of destructed vaginas and bleeding earth in the mineral-rich Congo.

Finding the cancer in her body, Ensler realised that it was all pervasive - getting connected to the world through her body. 'My body was no longer abstraction', she felt, 'as it connected me to the cancer of carelessness, the cancer of greed and the cancer of cruelty.' Part reflective and part philosophical, Ensler transforms her pain into poetic prose of persevernce. Death will not be our end: indifference will be, dissociation will be and collateral damage will be our end. This book is like a CAT scan, a roving examination of moving images, experiences, ideas and memories.

Ensler demonstrates that pain can indeed be transformative, provided we know which of us wants to survive the pain to live and thrive in a new world. Perhaps, we all need chemotherapy to purge the badness that has been projected onto us but is never ours! This book is about reclaiming our bodies, after killing off the perpetrator who got inside us. Written with unflinching honesty, Ensler relives every moment of her past - her troubled family life, her flamboyant lifestyle and her commitment to female body - to reconnect herself to the world.

In the Body of the World is a masterpiece. Immensely readable; it is a work of art that shows us a powerful new way of interpreting illness. Wouldn’t it be incredible if everyone could find the joy that comes with committing to our own goodness? That perhaps is the only way we could stop dividing ourselves into malignancies of various forms. Through her writing, Eve Ensler comes out as an embodiment of courage, conviction and commitment to take on the world yet again.

In the Body of the World
by Eve Ensler
Random House India, New Delhi
Extent: 220, Price: Rs 199

 Other books reviewed by Dr Sudhirendar Sharma
Features > Book Shelf
Spoiling Tibet
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

A Journey in the Future of Water
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Yamuna Manifesto
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

Lead View
People, Partition and the Pain
By Rina Mukherji
15 Aug 2013

Dr Jayanti Basu's book analyzes the complex feelings of hatred and longing for the homeland that have contributed to shaping the personalities of a generation of people who were forced to ..
Book Shelf

Yamuna Manifesto

A Journey in the Future of Water

Spoiling Tibet

On Western Terrorism
Devinder Sharma
Carmen Miranda
Pandurang Hegde
Sudhirendar Sharma
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