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Chup: Breaking the Silence About India's Women

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  220 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Do you pride yourself on being a strong woman? Do you aspire to be one or support one? Do you consider yourself a feminist? Chances are that you behave in ways that are
exactly the opposite, as this pathbreaking book argues. In this rigorously researched book, based on 600 detailed interviews with women and some men across India's metros, social scientist Deepa Narayan iden
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 8th 2018 by Juggernaut
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Elsa Rajan Pradhananga
I remember getting into a heated debate with my female colleagues back in 2017 when the Parliament of Nepal passed a bill granding sons and daughters equal rights to paternal property. The women I spoke to felt it unjust that they inherit property from their family as well as their husband's. This, is withstanding the fact that co ownership of one's husband's property amounts to almost no authority over it and thus, offers no security. This attitude, a result of conditioning that girls are subje ...more
Neha Garg (thereadingowl_)
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is an experience. When I read the very first chapter, I could not sleep for hours, debated with my husband, and finally posted a long rant about how Girls are made to stay invisible. They are smothered in the name of safety. They are diminished and forgotten.
I took my own time to read through this book, finishing each chapter and then taking time to reflect and discuss with friends if they related to what was mentioned in the book. I personally related to not all, but most of it. If n
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
In her book Chup: Breaking the Silence About India’s Women (Juggernaut), author Deepa Narayan writes that she “did not set out to do research or write a book… It emerged from my determination not to be complacent after the rape of Jyoti Singh, Nirbhaya.”

Narayan, a trained social scientist, decided to address the gender question by interviewing several women and a few men across India and the world.

The results, at the end of 8000 pages of notes, were nothing less than surprising.

Read my full
Pallabi Priyaadarshini
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I came across the book, somehow the instant internal reaction was another rant about how woman are treated with a list of guidelines and motivational pages filled with what women can do to break the shackles and emerge victorious.
Still I went ahead spent my hard earned money and bought it. As I kept flipping through pages many places I saw myself, my mother, friends, bosses, society so on and so forth.
Have you ever remotely or actively seen or faced or been a part or even felt there is th
Kartike Bhardwaj
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Eye opening. It is deeply saddening and frightening to observe how subtly and minutely discrimination and bias are interwoven in the social and cultural fabric of India, and how easily it is overlooked almost everyday even by the self proclaimed feminists, intellectuals and modernists. The way the author has analysed and tore open this carefully and deliberately sewn fabric to reveal how this narrative is imbibed and internalised by men and women alike, often without their knowledge is what is m ...more
Aug 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
'Now it is very difficult for to go out. There is always fear. You know people are watching. You have to protect yourself and there is one with you. You don't feel relaxed outside; you feel relaxed only when you are at home. I can't just go freely no anywhere, even when my parents dont say come home early. Why was I born a girl? Why was I not born in place of my brother?'

Her brother, who is not restricted, does not fear going out, but she is fear-filled and stays home even when she has a 'real
Smitha Murthy
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I don’t read many thrillers, but this work of nonfiction is haunting. It holds a mirror to everything I have done in life, and everything I have seen. This should be required reading in schools and colleges. It should be there in bookshops, in offices, in coffee shops. It should be there in our minds.

Nothing I can say will do justice to it.

Yes, the book has certain structural weaknesses in terms of reading flow. But it didn’t matter to me. The content is just thought-provoking.

Prashanthi Kadambi
Apr 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Unsettling is what this book is. I picked it up after reading the summary. I thought to myself, I'm not one of the women the author is referring to. Nevertheless, it should be interesting to see what she has to say. But a couple of chapters into the book, I realised that I had several of the traits the author talks about. That's how powerful and deep cultural indoctrination is. We never even realise it, but we embody it and propagate it forward. This book is much like Harvard's famous implicit b ...more
Jul 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
It is a well researched book on how Indian women are raised to be a quiet, non existing human being. The author qoutes various examples from real life, talking about what happens when girls have been raised to be quiet and have been asked to adjust to just about anything. It not only impacts them psychologically but makes them nonexistent. A lady who adjusts to her abusive husband and tolerates every harm inflicted upon her is rendered inanimate, like a piece of furniture.
The way to change this
Tushar Mangl
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recently finished reading Deepa Narayan's book on women in India and the way society is sculpting their identity. The book is an intriguing read and does live up to its slogan to hold a mirror to every Indian woman.
So is this a feminist read meant for those all-women book club list readings? Definitely not. Such books are meant to be read by the entire society irrespective of gender or age.

You can read the complete review at my blog
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book so much. I tried my best to. But sadly, I just couldn't. It just drags and drags after the first couple of chapters. I would have DNFed it were it not for the guilt factor to read it out of loyalty to my gender. The writing style is more like a feminist rant. I am agree with many of the points given in the book but not all. A more grounded approach and a different writing style (less of the bluster and more of pragmatic action points) would have made this book so much ...more
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book that makes you uncomfortable and question where many of your beliefs come from and the bubble you live in. A thought provoking book that paints a very realistic picture of women in India.
Piyusha Vir
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An insightful and well-researched book on the traditional practices and customs that led to a systemic silencing of women's voices. Must read to understand what society and parents did wrong and how we can now correct it to make women fearless and confident individuals. ...more
This is one book which I picked in the book store and bought it right then and there. And this book shows the proof for and asks some very interesting and difficult questions. And makes you think too. It's amazing to read that despite all the hoopla about education and women empowerment still, then things haven't changed too much and I know and understand that despite believing down from my heart that things should be better I still have my own biases too. And like the author says we all have to ...more
Bharathi  Arunan
Aug 01, 2022 rated it really liked it
This should be a part of the Indian school curriculum. Period.

We consume a lot of western news, western views about what it is to be a woman, and feminism and its effects. Deepa Narayan has done much-needed work and shown a light on the state in India.
She digs deep and states facts that are staring at our faces, which we sometimes cannot see or choose to ignore. It is the blatant, painful truth.

Narayan, through 600 interviews with upper and middle-class women, has gotten down to some of the root
Harshita Tiwari
Sep 12, 2022 rated it really liked it
It definitely brings up a lot of great points about culture and how women are indoctrinated to pit against eachother, stay alone and sacrifice themselves. However it's still a long long fight. Despite the revolution ,there are newer problems in India now which includes women having completely wrong idea of what feminism means and taking advantage of them being women. People from my country will know what I am talking about. This in turn make other women, and men, hate feminism in general as they ...more
Vinod Narayan
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
My Video Review is here
Sep 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great book. Haven’t read a well researched book about Indian society and how women fit into the same. Could have been a bit short on some sections. But a great read nonetheless. 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Radha Taori
"Our culture bestows power on men and morality on women".

"Character assassination is the first tool used to silence women who dare to step out and challenge"

This book has all my heart.😍😍. Not even exaggerating. It's not just a book, it's the voice and the emotions of the women.
I dont know why I chose this book in the first place, maybe because of the title that appealed to me..

🍁 'Chup', silencing that is all what the girls are experiencing at every stage. May it be a small house party or some p
Pragnya Mishra
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is not for everyone, weak-hearted.

For centuries women are trained to act, think, respond in a particular fashion - mutely. Irrespective of education, job, status, or economic condition.

In this intensely researched book, author and social scientist Deepa Narayan identifies seven key habits that may dominate the lives of women - Deny your body, Be Quiet, Please Others, Deny Sexuality, Isolate yourself, Have no individual identity and Be Dependent.

The book might fill many women with rag
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I happened to hear about Deepa's research through the podcast 'Women in Labour' and boy am I thankful I found this one at the time I did! The insights she uncovers answer so many questions I have been sitting with since I graduated from college. Through Deepa's research, hundreds of men and women narrate their stories over three years to help take apart the desi upper middle class notion of having found equality /balance / modernity.

Seven simple habits socialized into desi women brains: you don'
Jul 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Mirror to the Gaslighting Indian Society

Can an entire culture engage in the gaslighting and belittling of women? Yes, I think so. As an Indian, I know that I have grown up like this. Living now in America in a multicultural area, I also know that this gaslighting happens all over the world. Most of the world is patriarchal. Just to different degrees. As a woman who became an adult in India and spent her 20s there, I know that my low self-esteem and the problem with finding my voice as an artis
Prachi Pati
Jul 30, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is a work of non fiction, based on 600+ interviews that the author and her team carried out from Indian women living in metro cities in India or abroad, belonging to rich or upper middle class families - aka, families earning more than 20L rupees per annum. Educated women. Financially independent women. And what their thoughts were on "what it means to be a woman in India."

The discussion topics are categorized into these areas: Body, Voice, Pleasing, Sexuality, Isolation and Identity.
Jiten Upadhyay (Team ThinkerViews)
[Detailed book review is available at: ]

Not all the books are written for entertainment purpose. Some has substance in it in the form of statistical information.

Author Deepa Narayan has decided pen down her research work about the conditions and circumstances a large number of women are facing, especially in India.

The book has to be read as a study paper and one should not consider it against India or male in general. In fact, the author herself recognize
Apr 25, 2022 rated it really liked it
Often times with non-fiction books I find it difficult to finish until the end, especially if there is no "plot line". I read it for whatever info I need out of it and then I get bored and move on to my next fantasy.

This one, however, kept me hooked til the end- but I think I might owe that to certain phrases throughout the book that resonated with me. For example, where she talks about the feeling of being choked (not literally) but through not speaking up, keeping quiet or simply not being he
Agni Guha
Aug 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a manifesto as well as a log book of female experiences in India. Legitimising feminine fears, anxieties and trauma, both physical and mental. It lays bare the cultural systems which render women powerless and non-existent. "An unequal culture survives on collapsed women. It is political strategy."

I felt disappointed with the omnipresence of the experiences shared but also empowered. I saw myself and all the women I know in the women interviewed. "Our culture bestows power on men and mo
Pratibha Jain
Sep 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book will make you very sad especially if you are a woman. Women are living in a world designed by men, for men. It reminded me of one time when I was on a course-related trip, we asked children what will they do if they had magic pencils. The girls replied - they would like to become a boy. Sigh.

Coming to the book, Ms Narayan has exposed many many social evils. This book explores the cultural set-up, it carefully examines out the society's current social fabric. You would think that women
Shreya Tulsyan
May 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Chup: breaking the silence about India's women.

Is silence a virtue or is silence betrayal?

Chup is a collection of stories that questions how patriarchy has shackled the voice of Indian women.
Written after an extensive survey conducted on a big sample of women across demographies, locations, age groups and social and income strata, the anecdotes are heartbreaking and disturbing. Yet these are stories that must be told. We Indians brush incidents of eve teasing, molestation and even a horrendous
Danielle Miles
Nov 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Sometimes painful, the realizations I had about life as a woman in India when reading this book were eye-opening. I have been interested in the human rights crises in India in recent years, with news about women who are unable to walk to the outdoor bathroom at night without being attacked, and child brides being married to older men by the thousands each year. What I didn't expect when reading this book was for me to recognize that my own biases kept me from realizing the "invisibility" of wome ...more
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Have you wondered why you started out as an independent, confident woman with strong opinions and today find yourself unsure, indecisive and neutral on most decisions. This book will tell you why. It will tell you how you are not alone. It will show you how to break patterns carefully designed to make you question yourself and whether you are doing justice to your roles. Backed by research, the book is a good read for all women, mangers promoting diversity, and all men who believe in equality of ...more
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