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Synopsis

Rising from the Dust ~ India's Hidden Voices

New, updated edition.

Quitting his job and selling his house, Mark travels to India. He lands in Delhi, belted, braced and prepared for all eventualities. Or so he thinks. Though he craves the ultimate travel adventure, a load of western baggage weighs him down: a rucksack rattling with medication, reams of ‘to do’ lists and a mobile phone loaded with MP3s of his favourite band, The Divine Comedy.

Travelling south to Andhra Pradesh, Mark spends Christmas with Lakshmi Roja, an orphan girl he has sponsored for several years. She’s the inspiration behind his trip.

In the New Year, he travels to Vijayawada to work with street kids. One day he is attacked by a gang of seven-year-old boys. His world spins. But the encounter is just the trigger he needs to catapult him into the unknown. Lured towards Mamallapuram, a coastal town ravaged by the tsunami, he becomes caught up in an orphanage intrigue and his journey starts to go in another direction…

Discovering a dynamic side to its vast land and people, Marks’ quest for adventure becomes a labour of love as he gains intimate access into the heart of a society rarely experienced by the western world. Travelling north, he discovers he’s the first Angrez, English person, to visit some of the remote villages of the Garhwal region in the Himalayan foothills.

Sharing the hopes and fears of the young, the trials of Himalayan hill women and the anxieties of the older generation, he encounters a society in transition, continually torn between tradition and development, culture and belief.

As India emerges as a major world player, many people and communities are being left trampled in the dust. Their stories, bursting with life, paint a timely and revealing portrait of the spirit and determination of India’s hidden voices.

This 2012 edition includes updates on some of the stories as well as links to other relevant news stories, publications and online material released since the book was first published in 2008.

More than a Travel Book:

Rising from the Dust is perfect preparation for gap year students, volunteers or anybody else planning to travel to India. By raising awareness about tough issues through humour and personal anecdote, it will also appeal to anyone who wants to read ‘behind the scenes’ stories about development and education in India from the comfort of their own armchair.

Praise for Rising from the Dust:

“Without any shadow of doubt the finest and most enjoyable piece of non-fiction that I have ever read.” Jack Kelsey, a founder trustee of SKCV, an internationally-renown project working with street kids in South India.

“Beautifully written, utterly compelling, this is a book about economic and educational challenges in India. Funny and shocking in turns, it's a deeply honest and unpretentious book. The author does not shy away from describing his introspective moments, mistakes or the effects of his own Western outlook. Backed up by well-researched notes and sources, this book should be compulsory reading for anyone who needs to learn gratitude for our free, accessible education system and welfare state.” Heather Tracy, London

“A really great read. Very well written, readable & enjoyable. A review of travels through India from a very personal point of view. I particularly enjoyed the mix of travel writing, history and direct contact with all levels of current Indian culture.” R Trigger, Bristol

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