In Aruna s Story, journalist Pinki Virani has recreated the real-life tragic events of Aruna Shanbaug, a nurse who once worked at King Edward Memorial Hospital. In this well-researched narrative, Virani has pieced together many details of the victim s life, which paints a personal account of this woman s life. Virani has also provided a detailed account of the events that followed after the incident occurred, including and up to the latest developments in the case.
Aruna Shanbaug was a top-ranked nurse at Mumbai s KEM Hospital. She was described by her colleagues as independent, hardworking, and headstrong. Aruna was very dedicated to her profession. In her personal life, Aruna was getting ready to wed a doctor at the very hospital where she worked. Aruna had no contact with her family, which she never seemed to mind.
The fateful events of November 27, 1973, forever changed the course of Aruna s life. A sweeper at KEM brutally assaulted Aruna with a dog chain. He then proceeded to rape and sodomize her. The brutality of this criminal act left Aruna in a persistent vegetative state in which she remains even today. Her attacker was charged with robbery and assault and only served a seven-year sentence. To protect KEM s reputation, the hospital authorities requested the police to register the incident as a robbery and assault instead of anal rape. While her attacker is now a free man, Aruna lies in a hospital with irreversible brain damage.
Aruna s case has sparked controversy all over the nation. Some would argue that she should be euthanized while others believe that she has the right to live with dignity. Currently, there are no laws on euthanasia in India. Due to constant pressure from various advocacy groups, the Supreme Court has now legalized the practice of passive euthanasia.
Virani s Aruna s Story has been described as India s answer to Truman Capote . The book was a national bestseller.
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Pinki Virani is an author, journalist, social campaigner, and human rights activist, who hails from Mumbai. She has written other nonfiction books such as Bitter Chocolate: Child Sexual Abuse In India, Once Was Bombay, and Deaf Heaven. Virani obtained a Master s in Journalism from Columbia University. After returning to Mumbai, she worked as an editor for Mid Day. She tirelessly advocates for various human rights laws which promote human dignity. The success of all four of her books earned her a National Award. Virani is married to Shankkar Aiyar, a noted journalist and public intellectual. Together, they divide their time between Pune, Mumbai, and New Delhi.
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