BookBrowse Reviews A Free Man by Aman Sethi

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A Free Man

A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi

by Aman Sethi

A Free Man
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2012, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2013, 240 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

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A penetrating look at the life of a migrant laborer in Old Delhi, India

A Free Man is a heartbreaking and troubling portrait of poverty and loss, and also an unvarnished record of one journalist's complicated relationship with his subject. The narrative is the product of five years Aman Sethi spent following a group of day laborers in Old Delhi as urban renewal programs upended the chaotic lives of its poorest residents.

Sethi wants to "understand the mazdoor ki zindagi - the life of the labourer" in Old Delhi. His subjects are the mazdoor - carriers, builders, trench diggers, painters and plasterers who earn up to one hundred and fifty rupees a day, approximately three U.S. dollars. India has large pockets of migrant laborers who live in urban areas, and though many send money home to their families and maintain strong family ties, the itinerant mazdoor that Sethi focuses on are "free" in that they are unencumbered by family, home, or money. What they do ...

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