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10 Must Read Books To Get You Through Summers

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By Rahul Maganti:

There’s one thing in common for books and travel, both of them act as windows to the world. They help you learn new languages, understand new perspectives, teach you about diverse places and cultures. They help you change for the better and you get more liberal in action and thinking. Here are 10 books which would make a good read in the summer vacations. The books are spread over the genres of Inspirational, Non-Fiction, Fiction, Political from Indian Context, Classics and Philosophy.

Summer reading

1) The Diary of the Young Girl — Anne Frank: Sheer indomitable courage is all this book is about. I am sure this is also one book you have postponed for long. Do give it a read, worth every second you give to it.

2) Gabriel Garcia Marquez Works – Love in the time of Cholera & One Hundred Years in Solitude: Marquez, famous as Gabo amongst his followers for his ‘Magical Realism’ idea, was an outstanding author and tried to answer many questions regarding love and relationships. Love in the Time of Cholera is a stark amalgam of the two contrasting faces of love, purity and practicality. One Hundred Years of Solitude also chronicles the political and economic developments of the 19th century Colombia, such as corruption and capitalism with a touch of fiction. In a deeply touching and thought provoking non-linear narrative, Marquez paints a hundred years of history on the canvas of time. He uses his prerogative of having witnessed the wave of the Colombian revolution to graphically depict its lasting influence. He arrests in prose, the magical realism surrounding life, death, peace and the truth of mankind.

3) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy: An Intelligent and enthralling read that tugs at your heart. This book is the story of five aristocratic Russian families during the time of the Napoleonic invasion. The book moves through Russian family life, the headquarters of Napoleon, the court of Tsar Alexander, and the battlefields of Austerlitz and Borodino. Known for its extensive historical detail and accuracy, its innovative literary devices and, above all, its sheer grandeur and scope, War and Peace is widely regarded as one of the most important works in world literature. You are missing out on one of the greatest literary classics if you haven’t yet read it.

4) Siddhartha by Herman Hesse: For all those college stoners who think that they have attained enlightenment, this book is a must. It explains the very concepts of enlightenment like no other book I have read till date. A must for every bookshelf.

5) The Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Frerie: This book finds its inspiration from Marxism and makes exploratory analysis between the oppressed and the oppressor through the same analogies. The revolutionary text opens with a complete dissection of oppression which engages both the structure and the oppression that is rife but unattended. This, according to Freire, stems from the relationship the oppressor and the oppressed share. There is a certain balance and stability in this skewed scheme of power sharing. Here, Freire expounds upon the theory that freedom is threatening to the oppressed whose lethargy and ignorance is fueled through domination.

6) Everybody Loves a Good Drought by Palagummi Sainath: This book will give you the minute details of exploitation of the poor, especially the marginalized and disadvantaged sections like the tribals and the adivasis by the government, middlemen, landlords and money lenders. We need more of such books which depict the ground reality by journalists in this age where stories are killed by the business minded media. This book establishes poverty as a process but not as a one-off bad luck event.

7) Discovery of India by Jawaharlal Nehru: Gives a fantastic perspective of the idea of India. It traces the evolution of India through the ages and presents a vision of India that inspired millions of men to fight for Independence. Nehru is uniquely positioned to give a perspective on the times surrounding the Independence movement and the ideals that shaped it.

8) India after Gandhi by Ramachandra Guha: If there is any single book which will help you understand the history of the world’s largest democracy, it is this one. Fairly informational, Guha is careful all the while not to mix his opinions with facts and to make this book look objective. Guha touches upon everything that happened since the death of Gandhi with the finest of details. This is a page turner and is definitely a must read for people interested in the politics and history of India.

9) The fiction of Fact finding: Modi and Godhra by Manoj Mitta: Scrupulously researched, The Fiction of Fact-finding exposes a range of unasked questions which helped Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi procure a clean chit. This book demolishes the arguments behind the SIT Clean Chit which is often the defense of Modi and his followers. Manoj, who has previously written about 1984 riots specializes in public policy, legal and Human Rights issues.

10) The Motorcycle Diaries — Ernesto Che Guevera: Road trips and travelogues are always interesting. They contain interesting encounters, adventures and misadventures of the protagonists on their travels. The Motorcycle Diaries has the added attraction of being the road trip of a charismatic revolutionary who altered the course of history in his region. While you are reading the book, you feel taken back to that time and feel that you have been travelling all along with Che and Alberto. The book captures the human life of the continent of Latin America and how it has helped Che become a revolutionary and fight for the oppressed and the poor.

You must be to comment.
  1. Newton

    Nice article.
    I will surely read the books suggested by you.

  2. konika

    Thanks a lot, i will definitely read these books.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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