Dube, Siddharth 1961-
DUBE, Siddharth 1961-
PERSONAL: Born 1961, in Calcutta, India; Education: Attended Tufts University, University of Minnesota School of Journalism, and Harvard School of Public Health.
ADDRESSES: Home—New York, NY. Offıce—c/o South Asian Journalists Association, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, 2950 Broadway, New York, NY 10027. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Zed Books, 7 Cynthia St., London N1 9JF, England. E-mail— [email protected].
CAREER: Author and development policy analyst. Consultant and health policy analyst for UNAIDS, UNICEF, World Bank, and World Health Organization. Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi, India, visiting scholar.
MEMBER: South Asian Journalists Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: South Asian Journalists Association Award for "outstanding editorial/op-ed on South Asia, all media," 2000, for "India's Tragic Destiny."
Words Like Freedom: Memoirs of an ImpoverishedIndian Family, 1947-1997, HarperCollins (New Delhi, India), 1998, published as In the Land of Poverty: Memoirs of an Indian Family, 1947-1997, Zed Books (London, England), 1998.
Sex, Lies, and AIDS, HarperCollins (New Delhi, India), 2000.
(With Sebastiao Salgado) The End of Polio: A GlobalEffort to End a Disease, Bulfinch (New York, NY), 2003.
Author of "India's Tragic Destiny," Washington Post, 1999. Also contributor to the Financial Times and the Economic and Political Weekly.
SIDELIGHTS: Siddharth Dube is a Western-educated Indian whose books on poverty and the AIDS epidemic in his native land have provided a human face to social problems. In Words Like Freedom: Memoirs of an Impoverished Indian Family, 1947-1997 (published as In the Land of Poverty: Memoirs of an Indian Family, 1947-1997 in the United States), Dube, a former consultant and policy analyst to international organizations including the World Bank and UNICEF, takes to task the trickle-down arguments that increased economic growth in India will ultimately bootstrap the nation's chronically impoverished. Following the personal saga of the Ram Dass Pasi family of "untouchables" in the Indian district of Uttar Pradesh from 1947 to 1997, Dube demonstrates how the caste and economic systems in India conspire to keep people in poverty, regardless of the gains made on a macro economic level. "The testimony of this family, and of the poor, is the most compelling evidence of the need to get rid of poverty, inequality and oppression," Dube told Amitabh Dubey on Rediff on the Net, "and how important owning land is in the fight against rural oppression and poverty." For Dube, the way out of such poverty is land reform and redistribution of wealth rather than the filtering down of wealth, but such a proposition is counter to prevailing government policies. "One reason for this widespread conservatism," Dube told Dubey, "is that international institutions are dominated by the United States which prefers conservative policies."
Critical response was largely favorable for Dube's first book, both in India and around the English-speaking world. Geeta Sharma-Jensen, reviewing the title in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, called the book "a powerful journey into the heart of poverty" and one that "will give students of socioeconomic disparity plenty to chew on." Sharma-Jensen also noted that Dube "relentlessly catalogs the powerlessness of the rural poor, the sickness, the fear, the rigid customs and ownership structures that keep many peasants in the vice of poverty." For Bob Currie, writing in Contemporary South Asia, "Dube provides an informative and highly readable study of poverty and caste discrimination in north India." And reviewing the book in the Times Literary Supplement, Pankaj Mishra dubbed it "compelling" but also observed that "we would like to know more about just how a Western-educated, obviously affluent Indian got to know an untouchable rural family so intimately."
From poverty, Dube turned his focus to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in India with his 2000 title, Sex, Lies, and AIDS, again using the personal face of the tragedy to illuminate the crisis. Interviewing people from all walks of life, from sex workers to professionals, Dube presents "an impassioned and lucid analysis of why the Indian government has failed to address the growing . . . crisis within its borders," according to Anne Marie Ruff in the Far Eastern Economic Review. According to Dube, India, which along with South Africa had five million inhabitants infected with HIV, had the world's largest number of people afflicted by the disease at the time he wrote his book. Dube goes on to show in his study that the World Bank estimates that these numbers could skyrocket to fifteen million by the middle of the first decade of the twenty-first century. More than two million Indians had died of AIDS by 2000. Dube asks in his book why the average Indian is so vulnerable and why the Indian government has been failing in halting the spread of the virus.
Working with Sebastiao Salgado, Dube has also written about another disease, polio, in the 2003 title The End of Polio: A Global Effort to End a Disease. Salgado, a photojournalist, has documented disease and disaster around the globe, and for this study he dealt with inhabitants of five countries: Congo, India, Pakistan, Somalia, and Sudan. Dube provided a text to accompany these photographs, outlining the efforts of the World Health Organization and others in the international community to eradicate polio. Writing in Black Issues Book Review, Clarence V. Reynolds praised both Salgado and Dube for contributing "encouraging expressions in regards to the goals and the progress thus far" in the battle against polio.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Asian Affairs, February, 2000, Maurice Zinkin, review of In the Land of Poverty: Memoirs of an Indian Family, 1947-1997, p. 62.
Black Issues Book Review, January-February, 2004, Clarence V. Reynolds, review of The End of Polio: A Global Effort to End a Disease, p. 37.
Contemporary South Asia, July, 1999, Bob Currie, review of In the Land of Poverty, pp. 232-234.
Far Eastern Economic Review, March 29, 2001, Anne Marie Ruff, review of Sex, Lies, and AIDS, p. 37.
Journal of Economic Literature, June, 1999, review of In the Land of Poverty, p. 789.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI), September 26, 1999, Geeta Sharma-Jensen, review of In the Land of Poverty, p. 9.
Times Literary Supplement, January 7, 2000, Pankaj Mishra, review of In the Land of Poverty.
Rediff on the Net,http://www.rediff.com/ (May 19, 1999), Amitabh Dubey, "Interview: Siddharth Dube."
South Asian Journalists Association Web site,http://www.saja.org/ (January 18, 2004), "Siddharth Dube."*