Bantering With Bandits – Annie Zaidi


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Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales of India is a collection of essays that draws upon reportage, travel, and personal history. The author looks back over a decade of experience as a reporter covering stories as diverse as the decline of the dacoit menace in Chambal; starvation, particularly amongst the Sahariyas, a tribal community in Madhya Pradesh, and weavers in Uttar Pradesh who have lost their livelihood; and discovering that the desperate poverty in Punjab has the underpinnings of an explosive caste dynamic that has caused much religious controversy in recent times. A set of essays looks at the connections between economics, social disempowerment, and the moral pressures that make for a society where girls must fear assault or murder at any time, even before birth. Through other essays, Zaidi examines the meaning of home and belonging, identity, the right to public spaces, and a perfectly brewed cup of chai.

Bringing together the personal and political, the essays in the book offer a clear-eyed and unflinching view of lesser-known aspects of our country and its people.


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