AIDS- stigma and taboo-a quest for right of living……….

HIV – is not merely a medical problem in India, but more than a social problem. So much so is the non acceptability of AIDS patients in India that if in a social gathering a confirmed AIDS patient is seen everyone’s face turns pale-as if seeing a ghost walking in front of them. If someone’s relative is found to be confirmed ELISA positive, he or she thinks that it is better to be swallowed by earth. We are not talking of the victims, because society does think they have the right to be denied of all rights by the society-they are the excluded ones. Everybody tends to forget in a hurry that although 87% of the cases contracted sexually and transfusion associated and the rest are from intravenous drug use and vertical transmitted infections. And anybody including those faces of hate can be the unfortunate victim.
The victims are stigmatized in the society leading to severe social consequences related to human rights, health care services, freedom, human dignity and social interaction. and if the unfortunate victim comes from the marginalized section of the society then he or she will compelled to lead a life that the cattle will not even dream (if it can dream) of living. It is all the fault of the individual….
sh Awannvar and Santosh I. Biradar is a pious attempt to wipe out darkness, ignorance and untruth- the three greatest enemies of humanity, about the killer disease. The book consists of five stories –each presenting unique shades of colours, judging the problem from different perspectives.
The stories are 1. Shahid-the Martyr, 2. Chintu-the earth is round, 3.A game of life,lust and death, 4. Highway sex-a journey of hope, 5. Abraham and His prodigal son. Out of these five stories we shall discuss at depth the first and the third.
Shahid –the Martyr is an absolutely delightful read. It is a thriller written in the form of a drama. Suspense and surprise stacked at every corner of the story-woven neatly in the fabric of mystery-I am simply at love with this story. The protagonist, Shahid working in a media house received a mystery letter one day. It simply says “life become meaningless in case one doesn’t take a step towards making it meaningful.” the authority and Shadid himself was in dilemma whether to give this crank letter any importance or simply choose to ignore it. It was addressed to some Anjali and it was revealed to the reader that there were three Anjali’s in the office. And it was not the end of that. The second letter arrives and the third. The third letter seems a bit unusual –written in blood it announces “life become meaningless in case one doesn’t take a step towards making it meaningful. This is my first step.” journalistic doggy nose of Shahid smells foul and he no longer chooses to be apathetic to the turn of events. the letter sends him to the trail of the letter and the quest takes him to remotest corners of India in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and the clues gives him a hazy picture of a woman with a child who may or may not have mailed those letters from different places.
As the story continues to progress the readers are encountered with twists and turns and in completely unexpected manner it was revealed that the letter has something to do with the past history of the place. Clues take our protagonist to a mental hospital.
Why he was there? What further he can go to penetrate to the mystery of the letter? What horrible truth is going to be unearthed?
You have to read the story to discover. It is a completely fluid read and once you have started with the story you can’t put it down till it is completed. The asset of the story is that it is thoroughly unpredictable. Another added bonus to the reader is the sense of humour of the writer. Written in a witty language, this thriller is sure to attract a hint of smile in your lips.
And still the social message is there-clear and prominent. The conclusion is quoted for the reader
“A myth is a like religion and it’s addictive. Unfortunately the fear of death is high; a man goes to any extent to save himself, there are few such cases that have come into the light; even the educated people get trapped in such belief.”
Let us now come to the third story-A game of life, lust and death. Multilayered human emotions have been given a new dimension in the story. The protagonist Mithali – a budding model is seen here to compromise to any extent for her modelling assignment. She is seen here provocative-even compelling the persons to go physical with her.
But is she the innocent prey-a victim of the situation? Or is it a case where hunter becomes the hunt? What compels her to choose the extreme path?
You have to read the fascinating story to learn. Here also the writing on the wall is crystal clear-never hate the victim of the disease. The same fate can be yours also and if that happens-where you are going to hide?
The victim has the right to live-in this world. The stories will tell you in a heart touching way that they too are human and deserve the dignity of living and social right. The pandemic that caused the erosion of the social, economic, political imperatives needs to be minimized.
For that a crusade against the disease needs to be fought.
No, not for the sake of the victims, but for our own cause…..
After all, we all live in a small island called the earth.

This book is worth reading.
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