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Abhinav Agarwal

Bangalore, India
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  • Like a Girl

  • Real Stories for Tough Kids
  • Written by: Aparna Jain
  • Narrated by: Suchitra Pillai, Varsha Varghese, Tisca Chopra,
  • Length: 4 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 8
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 7
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 6

Do you ever get the feeling that girls have it less easy than boys? Have you been told to behave 'like a girl’? That you should learn to cook and be nice and keep your legs crossed? Well, here are the stories of 56 women who broke the rules to forge new paths for themselves and others. Adventurous and ambitious, they fought battles and legal cases. They won elections and matches. They climbed mountains and mastered science. Best of all, they never stopped chasing their dreams.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Omissions,commissions and criminals as role models

  • By Abhinav Agarwal on 29-04-19

Omissions,commissions and criminals as role models

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-04-19

Perhaps there exists a parallel universe in which facts don't matter, where questionable people with questionable ethics are deemed role models, and where toxic agendas are the only noble pursuit. Perhaps this book was written in such a parallel universe.

I doubt if anyone would question the inclusion of such super-achievers like Homai Vyaravala, Lakshmi Sahgal, Kishori Amonkar, or M.S. Subbulakshmi.

Curious, however, are some of the other inclusions. Take Gauri Lankesh, for instance. A journalist who was shot dead by unknown assailants in Bangalore in 2017, she was a self-professed Urban Naxal. Urban Naxals are urban dwellers who support Naxal ideology. In case you're wondering, an accurate picture of Naxals is thus: they killed a "four-month-old baby in a Jan Adalat in front of her mother as her father was a suspected police informer." It was estimated that Naxals have murdered more than nine-thousand civilians and three thousand policemen in the last twenty years. Urban Naxals themselves have proudly called for the dismemberment of India, chanting, "Bharat tere tukde honge, Insha-Allah, Insha-Allah" and expressed sorrow at the hanging of convicted terrorist Mohammad Afzal Guru, who was found guilty of conspiracy in the terrorist attack on the Indian parliament in 2001.

Gauri Lankesh herself was convicted of defamation and sentenced to six months in prison in 2016. Should such a person be a role model for youngsters, or for anyone, anywhere for that matter? Should a chapter devoted to Gauri Lankesh not inform budding women about this aspect of her life?

Or take the case of activist Teesta Setalvad. This is what the book tells us about the communal riots of 2002 - "In 2002 there was a wave of communal violence in the form of anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat." Now, let's look at what happened - on the morning of Feb 27, 2002, a train carrying mostly Hindu pilgrims was stopped outside the station of Godhra (a suburb of Ahmedabad) where a mob of about two-thousand Muslims had collected. They locked the train compartments, poured flammable liquid and set fire, burning alive 59 Hindus, including men, women, and children. This was the trigger for communal violence that rocked the state in which 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed.

An investigation revealed that Teesta had taken money meant for the victims of this communal violence in Gujarat and spent it on such things as "hair styling expenses ... during her trips to Rome and Pakistan" as well as on "purely personal items such as earbuds, wet wipes, nail clippers, ladies personal items, several books including romantic novels like Mills and Boon and thrillers like Total Control, Blackberry phone..." (link). In 2014, Teesta Setalvad tweeted an image (link) where a portrait of Hindu Goddess Kali had been morphed on a terrorist's body and "another ISIS terrorist is depicted with the Sudarshan Chakra(the weapon used by the Hindu god Vishnu)."

If such a person is seen as a role model by the author raises disturbing questions. That the book does not include any of these details about Teesta also says something.

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