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Chup: Breaking the Silence About India's Women

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Do you pride yourself on being a strong woman? Do you aspire to be one or support one? Do you consider yourself a feminist? Chances are that you behave in ways that are exactly the opposite, as this pathbreaking book argues. In this rigorously researched book, based on 600 detailed interviews with women and some men across India's metros, social scientist Deepa Narayan iden Do you pride yourself on being a strong woman? Do you aspire to be one or support one? Do you consider yourself a feminist? Chances are that you behave in ways that are exactly the opposite, as this pathbreaking book argues. In this rigorously researched book, based on 600 detailed interviews with women and some men across India's metros, social scientist Deepa Narayan identifies seven key habits that may dominate women's everyday lives, despite their education, success, financial status and family background. These behaviours may seem harmless, but each one has enormous impact, and it means only one thing - that Indian women are trained to habitually delete themselves. Shocking, troubling and revolutionary, Chup will hold a mirror to yourself - and you may not like what you see.


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Do you pride yourself on being a strong woman? Do you aspire to be one or support one? Do you consider yourself a feminist? Chances are that you behave in ways that are exactly the opposite, as this pathbreaking book argues. In this rigorously researched book, based on 600 detailed interviews with women and some men across India's metros, social scientist Deepa Narayan iden Do you pride yourself on being a strong woman? Do you aspire to be one or support one? Do you consider yourself a feminist? Chances are that you behave in ways that are exactly the opposite, as this pathbreaking book argues. In this rigorously researched book, based on 600 detailed interviews with women and some men across India's metros, social scientist Deepa Narayan identifies seven key habits that may dominate women's everyday lives, despite their education, success, financial status and family background. These behaviours may seem harmless, but each one has enormous impact, and it means only one thing - that Indian women are trained to habitually delete themselves. Shocking, troubling and revolutionary, Chup will hold a mirror to yourself - and you may not like what you see.

30 review for Chup: Breaking the Silence About India's Women

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elsa Rajan Pradhananga

    I remember getting into a heated debate with my female colleagues back in 2017 when the Parliament of Nepal passed a bill granding sons and daughters equal rights to paternal property. The women I spoke to felt it unjust that they inherit property from their family as well as their husband's. This, is withstanding the fact that co ownership of one's husband's property amounts to almost no authority over it and thus, offers no security. This attitude, a result of conditioning that girls are subje I remember getting into a heated debate with my female colleagues back in 2017 when the Parliament of Nepal passed a bill granding sons and daughters equal rights to paternal property. The women I spoke to felt it unjust that they inherit property from their family as well as their husband's. This, is withstanding the fact that co ownership of one's husband's property amounts to almost no authority over it and thus, offers no security. This attitude, a result of conditioning that girls are subjected to, nourishes our deep rooted cultural notion of what's right and wrong, and is what Deepa Narayan's Chup: Breaking The Silence About Indian Women addresses. The author rightly points out that our culture teaches women not to exist. So the available options are to either kill girls or train them to conceal themselves with a burqa, purdha or other means of camouflage to blend into the crowd and not stand out or draw attention. On my last visit to India, I was shocked to see that most women were veiled in Jaipur, a city ony two and a half hours by road from Delhi, the nation capital. It put me off to think how one these women could be identified in a crowd and if her identity really mattered. Given my liberal upbringing in a household largely dominated by women, my first reaction to this book was that its content didn't apply to me or my times. I double checked the year of publication- 2006 and took time to reflect on the hundreds of anecdotes of the 13-63 year olds only to realize that I too was a victim of sexism. The author has outlined the experiences of women ranging from civil servants to house helps in various cities across India to assert the significance of breaking the silence. Deepa Narayan notes that entrusting women with the responsibility of taking care of everyone is in a way conditioning her to ignore herself and serve to become a people pleaser. This curtails her ability to develop preferences and she naturally learns never to say what she feels, but what is expected of her. I couldn't help but correlate this to Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin where the tongue of the blind women of planet Zycron, would be cut off to stop them from rebelling, days before they were to be sacrificed to the gods. Cultural conditioning makes sure that education doesn't set a woman free or make her fearless. Her ability to earn or the right to property and alimony doesn't make her independent or vocal. It'll take a lot more to help women grasp that it is liberating to be explicit with emotions, opinions and demands. After reading this book I realized that if I'm a silent witness to pregnant Nepali women being served the creamy layer of yoghurt so that she'll bear a son and not a daughter, I'm part of the problem. The sexism should be pointed out to women who're embarrassed to be women themselves and inturn are coercing another not to bring a female child into the screwed system. The change should begin within each of us and we should be mindful of the gender bias within and around us. If speaking up can help our daughters find the space they deserve, it's high time we break the silence and create new cultural codes.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Neha Garg (thereadingowl_)

    This book is an experience. When I read the very first chapter, I could not sleep for hours, debated with my husband, and finally posted a long rant about how Girls are made to stay invisible. They are smothered in the name of safety. They are diminished and forgotten. . I took my own time to read through this book, finishing each chapter and then taking time to reflect and discuss with friends if they related to what was mentioned in the book. I personally related to not all, but most of it. If n This book is an experience. When I read the very first chapter, I could not sleep for hours, debated with my husband, and finally posted a long rant about how Girls are made to stay invisible. They are smothered in the name of safety. They are diminished and forgotten. . I took my own time to read through this book, finishing each chapter and then taking time to reflect and discuss with friends if they related to what was mentioned in the book. I personally related to not all, but most of it. If not me, if I am lucky enough to have parents and parents in law who support me at every step of the way, I could see the writing reflected in lives of my mother and other elder women relatives. . It does get confusing at times. Lines to distinguish respect and fear are diminished and I was unsure of where to place myself on this division line. There are stories in there which make you furious enough to take action and stories which make you proud and believe in yourself. . The best thing I liked about this book though, is that it brings issues of women empowerment from lower middle class to upper and upper middle class, to women who are working and yet live a dual life, to the next generation which is screaming to be let free. . I recommend this read to each and every one of us irrespective of gender or age or profession. . Thank you @juggernaut.in for a copy. I had an eye-opening time reading it ๐Ÿ’–

  3. 5 out of 5

    Swati

    In her book Chup: Breaking the Silence About Indiaโ€™s Women (Juggernaut), author Deepa Narayan writes that she โ€œdid not set out to do research or write a bookโ€ฆ It emerged from my determination not to be complacent after the rape of Jyoti Singh, Nirbhaya.โ€ Narayan, a trained social scientist, decided to address the gender question by interviewing several women and a few men across India and the world. The results, at the end of 8000 pages of notes, were nothing less than surprising. ----- Read my full In her book Chup: Breaking the Silence About Indiaโ€™s Women (Juggernaut), author Deepa Narayan writes that she โ€œdid not set out to do research or write a bookโ€ฆ It emerged from my determination not to be complacent after the rape of Jyoti Singh, Nirbhaya.โ€ Narayan, a trained social scientist, decided to address the gender question by interviewing several women and a few men across India and the world. The results, at the end of 8000 pages of notes, were nothing less than surprising. ----- Read my full review for this impactful book on eShe

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pallabi Priyaadarshini

    When I came across the book, somehow the instant internal reaction was another rant about how woman are treated with a list of guidelines and motivational pages filled with what women can do to break the shackles and emerge victorious. Still I went ahead spent my hard earned money and bought it. As I kept flipping through pages many places I saw myself, my mother, friends, bosses, society so on and so forth. Have you ever remotely or actively seen or faced or been a part or even felt there is th When I came across the book, somehow the instant internal reaction was another rant about how woman are treated with a list of guidelines and motivational pages filled with what women can do to break the shackles and emerge victorious. Still I went ahead spent my hard earned money and bought it. As I kept flipping through pages many places I saw myself, my mother, friends, bosses, society so on and so forth. Have you ever remotely or actively seen or faced or been a part or even felt there is this thing between your legs(I thought twice before writing this also) decides the freedom, mindset, likes and dislikes. This book does make you understand one thing that women themselves have conclusively decided (men have contributed but women have left no stone unturned to make it a reality) that being a good woman means to be dutiful(at all and any cost), not saying NO (to maintain peace and harmony, like its the vaginas sole duty), not demanding what they need and feel like doing, being the only sensible one, the list is endless. There have been times :I've kept quite when I wanted to fight back , I've really wanted to go out meet someone but I haven't or may be one of those days when I've wanted to sit back do nothing or wanted to drink more ( yes and i mean alcohol) or may be wanted to just do that ( I cannot utter "that" word) I do not want to end this review by telling how my I love myself and all that, but i've come to do that finally (took hell lot of effort) . We all are conditioned in a certain way, and that is an excuse enough cited many a times to counter change. If you do not want to change anything about existing the way you are , don't, but then lets telling our daughters, friends, mothers the right thing, give them the confidence, build them up and probably start a small change.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kartike Bhardwaj

    Eye opening. It is deeply saddening and frightening to observe how subtly and minutely discrimination and bias are interwoven in the social and cultural fabric of India, and how easily it is overlooked almost everyday even by the self proclaimed feminists, intellectuals and modernists. The way the author has analysed and tore open this carefully and deliberately sewn fabric to reveal how this narrative is imbibed and internalised by men and women alike, often without their knowledge is what is m Eye opening. It is deeply saddening and frightening to observe how subtly and minutely discrimination and bias are interwoven in the social and cultural fabric of India, and how easily it is overlooked almost everyday even by the self proclaimed feminists, intellectuals and modernists. The way the author has analysed and tore open this carefully and deliberately sewn fabric to reveal how this narrative is imbibed and internalised by men and women alike, often without their knowledge is what is most shocking to me as one of the above mentioned feminists. Mind boggling and eye opening, I am thankful for the author for probing into the heart of this suffering and explaining it in easy language. I request everyone to read and understand this book to not just be better educated in this matter, but also to hopefully become better men and women for the better half of our people. A must read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jyotsna

    'Now it is very difficult for to go out. There is always fear. You know people are watching. You have to protect yourself and there is one with you. You don't feel relaxed outside; you feel relaxed only when you are at home. I can't just go freely no anywhere, even when my parents dont say come home early. Why was I born a girl? Why was I not born in place of my brother?' Her brother, who is not restricted, does not fear going out, but she is fear-filled and stays home even when she has a 'real 'Now it is very difficult for to go out. There is always fear. You know people are watching. You have to protect yourself and there is one with you. You don't feel relaxed outside; you feel relaxed only when you are at home. I can't just go freely no anywhere, even when my parents dont say come home early. Why was I born a girl? Why was I not born in place of my brother?' Her brother, who is not restricted, does not fear going out, but she is fear-filled and stays home even when she has a 'real' choice. She is overcome with anxiety. She has been perfectly trained for dependence on men. She adds, 'What I want most from a future husband is protection.' This triggering read which talks about how women have been suppressed for years in a patriarchal society is an eye opening read. To find women who have been beaten physically and emotionally is heartbreaking, but the way deal with it, this is a piece of observation. The book doesn't provide solutions per say, but what it tries to do is get you the real picture from many interviews the author had conducted. Interesting for sure and a must read for men and women alike.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Smitha Murthy

    I donโ€™t read many thrillers, but this work of nonfiction is haunting. It holds a mirror to everything I have done in life, and everything I have seen. This should be required reading in schools and colleges. It should be there in bookshops, in offices, in coffee shops. It should be there in our minds. Nothing I can say will do justice to it. Yes, the book has certain structural weaknesses in terms of reading flow. But it didnโ€™t matter to me. The content is just thought-provoking.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Prashanthi Kadambi

    Unsettling is what this book is. I picked it up after reading the summary. I thought to myself, I'm not one of the women the author is referring to. Nevertheless, it should be interesting to see what she has to say. But a couple of chapters into the book, I realised that I had several of the traits the author talks about. That's how powerful and deep cultural indoctrination is. We never even realise it, but we embody it and propagate it forward. This book is much like Harvard's famous implicit b Unsettling is what this book is. I picked it up after reading the summary. I thought to myself, I'm not one of the women the author is referring to. Nevertheless, it should be interesting to see what she has to say. But a couple of chapters into the book, I realised that I had several of the traits the author talks about. That's how powerful and deep cultural indoctrination is. We never even realise it, but we embody it and propagate it forward. This book is much like Harvard's famous implicit bias test. Reading it is like holding up a mirror, and suddenly seeing the truth staring you in the face. So much of society's messaging to women - duty, sacrifice, compromise - is centred around a silencing of women's identities and voices. Just plain erasure. And once you see this elaborate social charade from this perspective, you will never be able to unsee it. Recommended reading for everyone!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Anu

    It is a well researched book on how Indian women are raised to be a quiet, non existing human being. The author qoutes various examples from real life, talking about what happens when girls have been raised to be quiet and have been asked to adjust to just about anything. It not only impacts them psychologically but makes them nonexistent. A lady who adjusts to her abusive husband and tolerates every harm inflicted upon her is rendered inanimate, like a piece of furniture. The way to change this It is a well researched book on how Indian women are raised to be a quiet, non existing human being. The author qoutes various examples from real life, talking about what happens when girls have been raised to be quiet and have been asked to adjust to just about anything. It not only impacts them psychologically but makes them nonexistent. A lady who adjusts to her abusive husband and tolerates every harm inflicted upon her is rendered inanimate, like a piece of furniture. The way to change this is to raise our children giving them equal opportunities, be it knowledge, sports or voicing their opinions. It's the duty of both the parents to consciously imbibe these values so that girls are as outspoken as boys. The book talks about jealousy among women. I feel jealously is a trait present in Men and in women. It just gets reflected in different ways. I strongly feel: ๐ŸŒž Girls in India should be brought up not to be CHUP (QUIET). ๐ŸŒžParents need to have open dialogues with their children at every level. They should be friends after a certain point, so that they are able to discuss any matter openly with each other. ๐ŸŒž Women must be part of a group, meeting at least once in a month, to vent out their woes, hence releasing their happy hormones. ๐ŸŒž When a couple works, it's the duty of both the partners to do the house chores. It is not just the wife's duty! ๐ŸŒžWomen must have the courage of conviction to say NO It's easier said than done when there are things built into the system so rigidly, it takes time and patience to bring about a change in the whole country.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tushar Mangl

    Recently finished reading Deepa Narayan's book on women in India and the way society is sculpting their identity. The book is an intriguing read and does live up to its slogan to hold a mirror to every Indian woman. So is this a feminist read meant for those all-women book club list readings? Definitely not. Such books are meant to be read by the entire society irrespective of gender or age. You can read the complete review at my blog Recently finished reading Deepa Narayan's book on women in India and the way society is sculpting their identity. The book is an intriguing read and does live up to its slogan to hold a mirror to every Indian woman. So is this a feminist read meant for those all-women book club list readings? Definitely not. Such books are meant to be read by the entire society irrespective of gender or age. You can read the complete review at my blog

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pooja

    This is a book that makes you uncomfortable and question where many of your beliefs come from and the bubble you live in. A thought provoking book that paints a very realistic picture of women in India.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Piyusha Vir

    An insightful and well-researched book on the traditional practices and customs that led to a systemic silencing of women's voices. Must read to understand what society and parents did wrong and how we can now correct it to make women fearless and confident individuals. An insightful and well-researched book on the traditional practices and customs that led to a systemic silencing of women's voices. Must read to understand what society and parents did wrong and how we can now correct it to make women fearless and confident individuals.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Vikas

    This is one book which I picked in the book store and bought it right then and there. And this book shows the proof for and asks some very interesting and difficult questions. And makes you think too. It's amazing to read that despite all the hoopla about education and women empowerment still, then things haven't changed too much and I know and understand that despite believing down from my heart that things should be better I still have my own biases too. And like the author says we all have to This is one book which I picked in the book store and bought it right then and there. And this book shows the proof for and asks some very interesting and difficult questions. And makes you think too. It's amazing to read that despite all the hoopla about education and women empowerment still, then things haven't changed too much and I know and understand that despite believing down from my heart that things should be better I still have my own biases too. And like the author says we all have to work together to ensure that we try to forget our biases and work towards a better society where both women and men work together to ensure that things are better for all. After all, a woman is so much more than a daughter, sister, wife, girlfriend or mother. People who don't read generally ask me my reasons for reading. Simply put I just love reading and so to that end I have made it my motto to just Keep on Reading. I love to read everything except for Self Help books but even those once in a while. I read almost all the genre but YA, Fantasy, Biographies are the most. My favorite series is, of course, Harry Potter but then there are many more books that I just adore. I have bookcases filled with books which are waiting to be read so can't stay and spend more time in this review, so remember I loved reading this and love reading more, you should also read what you love and then just Keep on Reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bharathi Arunan

    This should be a part of the Indian school curriculum. Period. We consume a lot of western news, western views about what it is to be a woman, and feminism and its effects. Deepa Narayan has done much-needed work and shown a light on the state in India. She digs deep and states facts that are staring at our faces, which we sometimes cannot see or choose to ignore. It is the blatant, painful truth. Narayan, through 600 interviews with upper and middle-class women, has gotten down to some of the root This should be a part of the Indian school curriculum. Period. We consume a lot of western news, western views about what it is to be a woman, and feminism and its effects. Deepa Narayan has done much-needed work and shown a light on the state in India. She digs deep and states facts that are staring at our faces, which we sometimes cannot see or choose to ignore. It is the blatant, painful truth. Narayan, through 600 interviews with upper and middle-class women, has gotten down to some of the root causes of the plight of women in our country. The book covers fear, lack of confidence, denial of sexuality, rape culture, and much more. The scary part is that this is only half of it, with the stories of the uneducated and improvished women still begging to be told. In her own words: "This book is about the power of everyday culture over the intellect. It is about the all-pervasive cultural indoctrination that starts in childhood and prepares women to be deleted" "When hundreds and thousands of women are constantly afraid and apologetic, it is no longer personal, it is systemic" "It was Indian and spiritually superior to be detached" "Trained to be afraid of their bodies, women too become perpetrators of a war against women, a war against each other" "Men systemically overestimate their abilities and women underestimate theirs.." "Having a self becomes confused with being selfish"

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rosh

    I wanted to like this book so much. I tried my best to. But sadly, I just couldn't. It just drags and drags after the first couple of chapters. I would have DNFed it were it not for the guilt factor to read it out of loyalty to my gender. The writing style is more like a feminist rant. I am agree with many of the points given in the book but not all. A more grounded approach and a different writing style (less of the bluster and more of pragmatic action points) would have made this book so much I wanted to like this book so much. I tried my best to. But sadly, I just couldn't. It just drags and drags after the first couple of chapters. I would have DNFed it were it not for the guilt factor to read it out of loyalty to my gender. The writing style is more like a feminist rant. I am agree with many of the points given in the book but not all. A more grounded approach and a different writing style (less of the bluster and more of pragmatic action points) would have made this book so much better and impactful. This is a case of good intention with bad execution.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Vinod Narayan

    My Video Review is here https://youtu.be/h8wLuxJmwTA My Video Review is here https://youtu.be/h8wLuxJmwTA

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kamakshi

    A great book. Havenโ€™t read a well researched book about Indian society and how women fit into the same. Could have been a bit short on some sections. But a great read nonetheless. ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ

  18. 4 out of 5

    Radha Taori

    "Our culture bestows power on men and morality on women". "Character assassination is the first tool used to silence women who dare to step out and challenge" This book has all my heart.๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜. Not even exaggerating. It's not just a book, it's the voice and the emotions of the women. I dont know why I chose this book in the first place, maybe because of the title that appealed to me.. ๐Ÿ 'Chup', silencing that is all what the girls are experiencing at every stage. May it be a small house party or some p "Our culture bestows power on men and morality on women". "Character assassination is the first tool used to silence women who dare to step out and challenge" This book has all my heart.๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜. Not even exaggerating. It's not just a book, it's the voice and the emotions of the women. I dont know why I chose this book in the first place, maybe because of the title that appealed to me.. ๐Ÿ 'Chup', silencing that is all what the girls are experiencing at every stage. May it be a small house party or some political issues. Through this book I've realised if not in big things, discrimination towards girls are acted upon in small acts too, from a very tender age and that adds up to what she eventually becomes. ๐Ÿ The second most common thing that was lingering in my mind was the powerful truth that every woman is jealous of each other. We often blame men but until and unless women do not support each other, help each other to grow and make space for themselves in this world, there won't be any sense of equality and discrimination cannot be ever eradicated. ๐Ÿ The biggest misunderstanding about power is that if women become powerful, men becomes powerless. This is just not true. Power is not a zero-sum game. It expands. ๐Ÿ The book quotes daily life instances and its impacts which leaves you in a deep thinking state. The author has conversed with a lot of women and girls to prove her facts. She has quoted real life occasions of girls of different castes, regions and occupations. ๐Ÿ It is a must read for all the people out there, especially the youth who can understand the essence of this book and ensure that the same does not continue.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Pragnya Mishra

    This book is not for everyone, weak-hearted. For centuries women are trained to act, think, respond in a particular fashion - mutely. Irrespective of education, job, status, or economic condition. In this intensely researched book, author and social scientist Deepa Narayan identifies seven key habits that may dominate the lives of women - Deny your body, Be Quiet, Please Others, Deny Sexuality, Isolate yourself, Have no individual identity and Be Dependent. The book might fill many women with rag This book is not for everyone, weak-hearted. For centuries women are trained to act, think, respond in a particular fashion - mutely. Irrespective of education, job, status, or economic condition. In this intensely researched book, author and social scientist Deepa Narayan identifies seven key habits that may dominate the lives of women - Deny your body, Be Quiet, Please Others, Deny Sexuality, Isolate yourself, Have no individual identity and Be Dependent. The book might fill many women with rage, it would remind them of the encounters they were forced to remain quiet. The encounters that left many scarred but still bound to swallow the toxic pill. A must-read for both genders and as a parent to be mindful while raising a girl who can embrace herself, speak her thoughts. And if raising a boy to give them a foundation to listening ears and understand consent. Though I do not cent percent agree with the author yet I feel this is a powerful book and right start towards the battle of existence.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Privy Trifles

    A brilliant read! An eye opener and one that left me thinking.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Priyanka

    I happened to hear about Deepa's research through the podcast 'Women in Labour' and boy am I thankful I found this one at the time I did! The insights she uncovers answer so many questions I have been sitting with since I graduated from college. Through Deepa's research, hundreds of men and women narrate their stories over three years to help take apart the desi upper middle class notion of having found equality /balance / modernity. Seven simple habits socialized into desi women brains: you don' I happened to hear about Deepa's research through the podcast 'Women in Labour' and boy am I thankful I found this one at the time I did! The insights she uncovers answer so many questions I have been sitting with since I graduated from college. Through Deepa's research, hundreds of men and women narrate their stories over three years to help take apart the desi upper middle class notion of having found equality /balance / modernity. Seven simple habits socialized into desi women brains: you don't have a body, no voice (chup), people pleasing, no sexuality, don't trust women, duty over desire and total dependence. Seven simple habits that undo women. I can't remember exactly when but at some point as I was growing up, I started seeing education as the solution for all the problems I saw around me (in Pakistan). In my mind, this was especially for any problems pertaining to women (the true bichaaris of any solid desi girl narrative)! If only we could get our hands on more pieces of paper handed out by prestigious institutions our generation wouldn't see as many women who constantly /needlessly obsessed over their relationship status, stayed in abusive marriages. as many women with low self esteem, as many women who hated other women etc. That narrative built up as I rushed to get my hands on degree after degree until my late twenties when I was eventually jolted out of this belief by my similarly (or even better) educated desi female friends saying and doing exactly the kind of things our mothers (and their peers) were saying and doing. For several years, I kept telling myself that these friends were the outliers. The ones who had 'caved' or had found themselves in particularly difficult situations or women who just got unlucky despite their best efforts to break free. I also blamed the men in their lives (mostly the fathers) who I {quite naively} assumed were making these decisions for the daughters. It took several years of witnessing friends (long time friends, the ones I saw as being just as liberal, intelligent and woke as I like to think I am) make regressive decisions for the sake of family, love, duty, honor and even fate to help me understand that education is not a one-stop solution and that women themselves are a significant part of the problem. Our own habits and beliefs hold us back before anyone else gets involved. And even God apparently only helps those who help themselves. I have heard several women in my life (friends and family) sit across from me and list down the reasons they think they ended up in the situation they did: lack of resources, lack of intelligence, lack of support blah blah blah. Each story eventually finds an external villain and all these women endlessly wonder why they feel so miserable while XYZ lives their dream life. I have had the unfortunate please of seeing the levels of fear, resentment, jealousy and insecurity rise as we look for someone to blame for our predicaments. It took years of listening, trying and failing to finally understand that the problem lies within. The issue is the mindset of women like me: young, educated, seemingly modern, liberal women living 'remarkable' lives in developing and developed countries. Women whose circumstances on the surface have changed but in our minds we are still living through the traumas we inherited from previous generations who raised us. This book captures this concept brilliantly and repeatedly until there is no denying it. None of this is to say that external factors do not add to our list of woes. I would have to be exceptionally stupid to make that claim but for the first time in a very long term, a book made me stand up and admit that I am part of the problem and it will take practice to work my way out of that! Highly recommend to all desi humans! Please read it even if you believe you're the most woke person alive today. Expect a bit of sleeplessness and at least one heated debate with family/friends as you read this one.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ritu

    A Mirror to the Gaslighting Indian Society Can an entire culture engage in the gaslighting and belittling of women? Yes, I think so. As an Indian, I know that I have grown up like this. Living now in America in a multicultural area, I also know that this gaslighting happens all over the world. Most of the world is patriarchal. Just to different degrees. As a woman who became an adult in India and spent her 20s there, I know that my low self-esteem and the problem with finding my voice as an artis A Mirror to the Gaslighting Indian Society Can an entire culture engage in the gaslighting and belittling of women? Yes, I think so. As an Indian, I know that I have grown up like this. Living now in America in a multicultural area, I also know that this gaslighting happens all over the world. Most of the world is patriarchal. Just to different degrees. As a woman who became an adult in India and spent her 20s there, I know that my low self-esteem and the problem with finding my voice as an artiste is not because of some character deficiency. It is because of being conditioned that "good women" abandon their self. It is the terrible, terrible choice that women are asked to make in small ways and big -- Either belong by cutting off a piece of yourself or make yourself vulnerable (both to the judgment of others and the shame attacks from your own internalized critic) by expressing what you really think. Sometimes, it feels like a Catch 22. BUT in my life, I have found a 3rd way in some areas. And while I chose belonging over authenticity when I was younger, I am no longer willing to do that. Because false belonging is not love. This is a book for all women, everywhere and specifically for Indian women and men. Deepa Narayan focuses on telling us that even so-called "educated" Indians who belong to the middle and upper middle class, who live in Delhi or Bombay, or as NRIs around the world, haven't really made enough progress. Here, in the Silicon Valley, I have heard men diminish their wives verbally when she took a break to raise kids and left work for a while. I have seen people tell women what to do, what to eat, what to wear as if they are not human beings with a brain, but little children. And at this point in my life, I have frankly had enough. I have seen that keeping quiet does not guarantee happiness. And going along does not guarantee safety. I think this is a very valuable book, a mirror to us all. We are all part of this system. And we all enable it, in some way or the other. And as women, we often feel all alone because it's inculcated in us to not talk about "family matters" outside. So, we never come to know that we are not the only one who feels so lost and as if we are asked to make terrible choices at different times in our lives. This book will make you angry, and anger is better than self-abandonment. It will make you rage, and Kali is as much an Indian Hindu goddess as Sita (even Sita got sick of it and disappeared into the earth). I hope you don't abandon yourself, dear sister, even if you have to walk alone in the forest for a while. Because if you abandon yourself and get everyone else, what really have you gotten in the end?

  23. 4 out of 5

    Prachi Pati

    This book is a work of non fiction, based on 600+ interviews that the author and her team carried out from Indian women living in metro cities in India or abroad, belonging to rich or upper middle class families - aka, families earning more than 20L rupees per annum. Educated women. Financially independent women. And what their thoughts were on "what it means to be a woman in India." The discussion topics are categorized into these areas: Body, Voice, Pleasing, Sexuality, Isolation and Identity. This book is a work of non fiction, based on 600+ interviews that the author and her team carried out from Indian women living in metro cities in India or abroad, belonging to rich or upper middle class families - aka, families earning more than 20L rupees per annum. Educated women. Financially independent women. And what their thoughts were on "what it means to be a woman in India." The discussion topics are categorized into these areas: Body, Voice, Pleasing, Sexuality, Isolation and Identity. Similar to the book I read recently on disability in fairy tales by Amanda Leduc, the author Deepa Narayan, uses facts and arguments to build a strong case for societal and cultural changes instead of asking individual women to fight for their rights or blaming men. I appreciated the fact that along with interview snippets and research based statistics, the author clearly articulates the deeply ingrained societal issues when it comes to women's rights and safety and also suggests workable solutions. Majorly triggering for me was the first chapter on Body, that talks about molestation, rape and physical abuse. How 50% of Indian women (yes, me too), have been molested or abused once or more and have to be constantly on fight/flight mode, which is absolutely exhausting. That education and financial independence still do not equate to respect and safety for women. In this regards, instead of asking women to change, stay indoors, cover herself more, attract less attention, the society as a whole should emphasize men to behave and keep their lust and rage in check, or better, use it in a boxing ring! Finally, the key takeaway for me as an individual woman from this book was, that we women need to encourage and champion other women and stand up for each other. When I was younger, I also used to think men were cool, or made better friends and that women were jealous and gossiped too much, until I grew older and realized when push comes to shove, only women stand up with you, beside you. Now I have female friends who are like soulmates to me. Women who are simply amazing in every respect.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jiten Upadhyay (Team ThinkerViews)

    [Detailed book review is available at: http://thinkerviews.com/books/english... ] Not all the books are written for entertainment purpose. Some has substance in it in the form of statistical information. Author Deepa Narayan has decided pen down her research work about the conditions and circumstances a large number of women are facing, especially in India. The book has to be read as a study paper and one should not consider it against India or male in general. In fact, the author herself recognize [Detailed book review is available at: http://thinkerviews.com/books/english... ] Not all the books are written for entertainment purpose. Some has substance in it in the form of statistical information. Author Deepa Narayan has decided pen down her research work about the conditions and circumstances a large number of women are facing, especially in India. The book has to be read as a study paper and one should not consider it against India or male in general. In fact, the author herself recognizes the contribution of her male family members and other friends. Well, we may or may not agree with many things of the book but we must understand that it is a result of research work. one can argue anything for or against the book, but actually one cannot deny the fact that women in general has often experienced gender based discrimination. Of course, there are exceptions in both the genders, but in general it is not an easy world for women. Actually, women were considered as the equal and there is a well-respected word โ€œbetter-halfโ€ for the spouse. So, the culture was diluted in the medieval times. No matter what is the root cause of the same, we can update it and make a healthy society only if we care to do so. The book is not a light read and it brings some of the important topics, we often avoid to answer, but are important ones. So this book is for those who can read it with positive attitude, and try to put in his/her efforts to make the world a better place. The book could have been written in interesting manner or by weaving the stuff in stories, and the price could have been less.

  25. 5 out of 5

    PK

    Often times with non-fiction books I find it difficult to finish until the end, especially if there is no "plot line". I read it for whatever info I need out of it and then I get bored and move on to my next fantasy. This one, however, kept me hooked til the end- but I think I might owe that to certain phrases throughout the book that resonated with me. For example, where she talks about the feeling of being choked (not literally) but through not speaking up, keeping quiet or simply not being he Often times with non-fiction books I find it difficult to finish until the end, especially if there is no "plot line". I read it for whatever info I need out of it and then I get bored and move on to my next fantasy. This one, however, kept me hooked til the end- but I think I might owe that to certain phrases throughout the book that resonated with me. For example, where she talks about the feeling of being choked (not literally) but through not speaking up, keeping quiet or simply not being heard, it resonated so deeply within me. I thought I was the only one feeling that way! Or how a woman's life changes after marriage in Indian culture. I think every woman, but especially Indian woman should read this. I did take a star off because while I really enjoyed her approach to the book- direct quotes from the people she interviewed, I wish she had included larger quotes including those that went contrary to her thesis. I have a feeling that some information was left out selectively. But the rest of it made so much sense that I couldn't help but agree with it. Also- I appreciate the fact that she argued for equality, not female dominance. I find that occurring often and it irritates me because its the same as becoming your oppressor- you've advanced nothing. Overall- highly recommended read!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Agni Guha

    This is a manifesto as well as a log book of female experiences in India. Legitimising feminine fears, anxieties and trauma, both physical and mental. It lays bare the cultural systems which render women powerless and non-existent. "An unequal culture survives on collapsed women. It is political strategy." I felt disappointed with the omnipresence of the experiences shared but also empowered. I saw myself and all the women I know in the women interviewed. "Our culture bestows power on men and mo This is a manifesto as well as a log book of female experiences in India. Legitimising feminine fears, anxieties and trauma, both physical and mental. It lays bare the cultural systems which render women powerless and non-existent. "An unequal culture survives on collapsed women. It is political strategy." I felt disappointed with the omnipresence of the experiences shared but also empowered. I saw myself and all the women I know in the women interviewed. "Our culture bestows power on men and morality on women." The book is meant to establish solidarity. It's not just about women though. The same cultural conditioning that chokes women also suffocate men with ultra masculine codes pf conduct. Liberation of women is also liberation of men from shackles of societal expectations and gender performances. " Women's love without any power becomes anaemic and men's power without love becomes abusive." "Bias is cultural dirt. Accumulated dirt becomes filth. It kills." This book dissects every form of a woman's lived encounter with patriarchy, from the most "negligible" or the most "violating" of offences against women by the society. This is a very very important catalogue of what's it like being a woman in India and HOW TO CHANGE THESE CULTURAL SYSTEMS.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pratibha Jain

    This book will make you very sad especially if you are a woman. Women are living in a world designed by men, for men. It reminded me of one time when I was on a course-related trip, we asked children what will they do if they had magic pencils. The girls replied - they would like to become a boy. Sigh. Coming to the book, Ms Narayan has exposed many many social evils. This book explores the cultural set-up, it carefully examines out the society's current social fabric. You would think that women This book will make you very sad especially if you are a woman. Women are living in a world designed by men, for men. It reminded me of one time when I was on a course-related trip, we asked children what will they do if they had magic pencils. The girls replied - they would like to become a boy. Sigh. Coming to the book, Ms Narayan has exposed many many social evils. This book explores the cultural set-up, it carefully examines out the society's current social fabric. You would think that women in upper middle class families will not be exposed to any bias, but the reality is far away from that. I just wish this book was edited better. I would have liked this book even more if the author had given quantitative research backing over anecdotal examples. Nevertheless, if you question the need for another feminist movement, this book might just be your answer. PS: I have heard so many women saying we should not be feminists but more like 'human activists'. I think a male dominated culture cannot win more when it makes females guilty for speaking up against discriminatory behaviour and for their basic human rights.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shreya Tulsyan

    Chup: breaking the silence about India's women. Is silence a virtue or is silence betrayal? Chup is a collection of stories that questions how patriarchy has shackled the voice of Indian women. Written after an extensive survey conducted on a big sample of women across demographies, locations, age groups and social and income strata, the anecdotes are heartbreaking and disturbing. Yet these are stories that must be told. We Indians brush incidents of eve teasing, molestation and even a horrendous Chup: breaking the silence about India's women. Is silence a virtue or is silence betrayal? Chup is a collection of stories that questions how patriarchy has shackled the voice of Indian women. Written after an extensive survey conducted on a big sample of women across demographies, locations, age groups and social and income strata, the anecdotes are heartbreaking and disturbing. Yet these are stories that must be told. We Indians brush incidents of eve teasing, molestation and even a horrendous crime like rape under the carpet. It's time to get rid of this carpet. Once in a while a #metoo campaign encourages a victim to speak up. But what happens after the the limelight fades from the whistle blower? Nobody cares once the newspapers and television channels get their breaking news. Author @deepaunchup has collated the stories in a way that I'm sure some part of the narrative resonates with every reader. As a mother of a girl child I wonder how should I prepare my daughter in a way that her phsyche is free of biases. Books like these definitely help in that direction. Thanks @juggernaut.in for publishing books like these.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Miles

    Sometimes painful, the realizations I had about life as a woman in India when reading this book were eye-opening. I have been interested in the human rights crises in India in recent years, with news about women who are unable to walk to the outdoor bathroom at night without being attacked, and child brides being married to older men by the thousands each year. What I didn't expect when reading this book was for me to recognize that my own biases kept me from realizing the "invisibility" of wome Sometimes painful, the realizations I had about life as a woman in India when reading this book were eye-opening. I have been interested in the human rights crises in India in recent years, with news about women who are unable to walk to the outdoor bathroom at night without being attacked, and child brides being married to older men by the thousands each year. What I didn't expect when reading this book was for me to recognize that my own biases kept me from realizing the "invisibility" of women everywhere. I have experienced many of the things discussed in the book, but never considered that they were part and parcel of my own dehumanization as a woman. What a telling book. A required read for all.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pon.G.Nithya

    Have you wondered why you started out as an independent, confident woman with strong opinions and today find yourself unsure, indecisive and neutral on most decisions. This book will tell you why. It will tell you how you are not alone. It will show you how to break patterns carefully designed to make you question yourself and whether you are doing justice to your roles. Backed by research, the book is a good read for all women, mangers promoting diversity, and all men who believe in equality of Have you wondered why you started out as an independent, confident woman with strong opinions and today find yourself unsure, indecisive and neutral on most decisions. This book will tell you why. It will tell you how you are not alone. It will show you how to break patterns carefully designed to make you question yourself and whether you are doing justice to your roles. Backed by research, the book is a good read for all women, mangers promoting diversity, and all men who believe in equality of gender. Give it a shot and find a weapon to feel better, get better and be a better you. Be you, the world needs it. I just purchased a few copies and I'm circulating them around.

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