Monday, April 20, 2015

The Silent Scream - Book Review

The Silent Scream
By Siddhartha Garg
Review By Ila Garg

The Silent Scream, a beautiful novel by the author, Siddhartha Garg is published by Rumour Books India. He is earlier known for his debut book, In Love with Your Friendship, a story of love and friendship and its complications.

The title The Silent Scream, indicates that the book must be about some social issues since the ‘screams’ are often silenced by the ironical life that we live. The patriarchal society, and the feminist fights, or the child abuses would be the natural themes. Even the cover art, though very simple, intrigues the reader from within. The color red screams from across as if a blood stained victim is trying to seek help but is helpless, or may be red indicates anger that is engulfing out of the years of pain and trauma. Who knows? It is the reader who can interpret this cover in any way they want but the stories that await them inside, will surely leave them gasping for a breath.

The author is a techie by profession, a woman and child rights activist by passion and an active blogger. He intends to focus on issue-based writing to sensitize the nation on the various problems that plague our society. He believes his writing would be a very potent weapon in his fight against social ills. In this book, The Silent Scream, he talks about child sexual abuse, one of the filthiest crimes that persist within our society. It targets teenagers, the youth, parents and all the child abuse survivors and acts like a handbook/guidebook to them providing solutions and measures to deal with the hideous crime along with some preventive measures.

The blurb reads as “Child abuse, one of the many problems that persist in India today, is arguably the filthiest. Of late, we have heard of instances of children being exploited but the most gruesome abuse is child sex abuse. The Silent Scream takes up this issue which people normally turn a blind eye towards. Through the subtlety quoted instances mentioned in this narrative non-fiction we are exposed to the disturbing lives of child predators and their innocent, young unassuming victims.

The Silent Scream is a ready guide to create awareness about this rampantly growing evil with the aim of sensitising the general public on the ways in which sex abusers operate. A humble effort is also being made to counsel the victims and carry forward the war against this menace so that other innocent souls are saved.”

My blog readers must have noticed that my recent posts have been about the turmoil that the innocent kids go through. The snippets that I have shared have troubled me a lot and that is why I decided to bring them out in public. Since a long time, I have been following these topics. I personally connect to these issues. In the anthology Crumpled Voices, we took up crimes against women as the central theme and now in Crumpled Voices 2, we have focused our attention on Child Abuse and coincidently this book by Siddhartha Garg talks about the similar theme. All the more reasons for me to read this and reflect on the stories that follow.

I am glad that the author shares my sentiments. With a well-defined preface, the book is a collection of some gruesome tales that the children often go through. Sometimes these adversities are directly imposed on them and at several occasions they become the indirect victim. For example, a father beating the mother in front of the child may traumatize him for his entire lifetime. He may grow up with similar apprehensions too and may start a chain of domestic violence. 

In the interview the author himself agreed that it’s a form of child abuse – “Definitely! Let us understand the fact that the abuse is not limited to physical harm to a person or a child. In fact the abuse is more related to the persecution of mind, the thoughts of the other person and when that person is someone as innocent as a child, the impact is severe and long lasting. An important aspect that I have emphasized on in the book is bonding in a parent child relationship and winning the child’s trust. When a child sees his parents fighting he loses a lot more than trust. The child can’t look forward to discuss their problems or share their secrets with them easily. In fact at times, it may also lead to the situation where the child may start looking out for harmony outside his house and gets involved in undesirable stuff. They have a tender heart, you got to handle it with care, utmost care.”

It is a bold attempt by the author to put forward the poignant truth about the situation of children in our country. The statistics are indeed very shocking. I finished reading the book last night and I left me alarmed. Some really strict and fast actions are needed to be implemented. Children should be encouraged to talk about it openly and should be counseled by the families as early as possible.
It is time that India woke up to the harsh and ugly side of the reality and stop victimizing children and women alike. Siddhartha has indeed done a wonderful job in compiling the stories with crude reality and presented them before us in a raw state. There is no glorification done, or any fact added to enhance the commercial value of the book. The stories are presented in their real form to the nation showing them a mirror.

Also, at this very point I would like to highlight this - this book The Silent Scream isn’t just a narrative, or a simple story. Please don’t pick it up if you find it to be a mere story. You will be disappointed because it is not a tale, it a hard core reality. It’s a compilation of sagas, facts that will wake you up from your deep slumber and shake you from within. It would give you chills!

A lot of research is put into the book which is clearly evident as you turn the pages. The author, Siddhartha has presented his readers with facts without exemplifying them. He is not subtle; he is not being over the top either. He is just presenting everything as transparently as possible in this book. What makes this clearer is the accompanying bibliography and further readings.

Overall, it’s that kind of a book which will hit you squarely on your face if you have ever bullied someone or done anything wrong and get you to nod away if you have been a victim. This book is highly recommended for one and all, for the sake of humanity. I wish people understand what they are doing.

The book in a nutshell is about sufferings, hurt, unceasing bully, rapes, murders, etc. In addition, it also talks about how parents can help their children from overcoming such incidents and how the teenagers can be aware about certain things. The families should be open to talk and debate on these topics so that the child finds it easier to discuss his problems. The language is easy to comprehend and there would be no difficulty in understanding what Siddhartha wants to convey through this. The only thing you perhaps require is a kind heart, a human heart!

Kudos to the writer for writing such a bold narrative which only few authors pick up...! I hope he continues to shed light on such issues.

Ratings: 4/5

Buying Links: Amazon | uRead

Links to snippets on child abuse: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

1 comment:

  1. "Some really strict and fast actions are needed to be implemented."

    I agree absolutely!

    God bless you!