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 Post subject: Shantaram ~ Prabaker
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:36 pm 
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http://www.mumbaimirror.com/nmirror/mmpaper.asp?sectid=1&sectname=Lead%20Story&sess=118227947


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:59 pm 
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What an inspiring story of courage and selflessness!

Thanks for posting this, DID!
:thanks!:


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 8:47 pm 
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The crack down on abuse of young boys and girls is only just starting..There's been some headline cases recently..but some have managed to get away with just fines..Kishore is a true hero :cloud9:



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 10:48 pm 
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Thanks, Deep. That's really touching.... I don't know what else to say right now.



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:20 pm 
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Should never have looked at that. I'm in the middle of the book at they just told me something that happens at the end. :banghead:



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:21 pm 
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Thanks, Deep. :thanks!: This is very cool! :cool: Let's hope that Kishore is on the up & up. :hope:



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:34 pm 
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I suppose I'm a little surprised that he revealed the name of his village when Roberts has said that he didn't want to because of the tourist potential to ruin it. It sounds like he definitely did it for a good cause though. :cool:



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 25, 2006 11:03 pm 
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The link that Deep posted has a new "lead story" on it, so I thought I'd post the article here (from the archives) in case anyone has a hard time finding it.

If you haven't read Shantaram yet --
SPOILERS!

Book hero is for real
Thursday, March 23, 2006 | Lead Story

Gregory David Roberts’s sidekick in Shantaram is a real-life taxi driver who led Anchorage victims to activists and helped them fight paedophilia

Manoj R Nair

What's the connection between the Anchorage paedophilia case and a best-selling magnum opus on Mumbai?

It's a forty-something, ever-smiling taxi driver, Kishore, who has been immortalised by Gregory David Roberts in his gritty novel Shantaram. Kishore is one of the main protagonists Prabaker, in the book which is soon to be turned into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Johnny Depp.

In the novel, Prabaker, whose character is bumped off in the end, introduces the author to the seamy underclass of Colaba and takes Roberts to his village in Aurangabad where his mother gives the brooding Australian fugitive his Indian name, 'Shantaram'. It now emerges that Kishore/Prabaker who spent his childhood in Colaba and was sexually abused by foreigners, was the first man that the children from Anchorage shelter home approached for help since he was a familiar figure to them. After the children complained to him Kishore, who drove his taxi around Colaba, put them in touch with American sculptor and Colaba resident Carmen Berkson who then took their case to writer Meher Pestonjee and activists from Childline. "He himself was not a witness as he had nothing to do with Duncan Grant but he did put the investigators in touch with the boys," says advocate Yug Chaudhary who represented Childline in the case.

"I was 12 years old when I became a victim of paedophilia. The exploitation went on for eight years. I was angry but I did not complain because I got gifts and money from the foreigners," he says. "I had seen these children (from Anchorage) so when they came to me for help I knew exactly what was happening to them."

Earlier, say activists, Kishore also played a leading role in nailing the Swiss couple Wilhelm and Lili Marti who were convicted for child abuse and abduction in March 2003.

And it was his extensive understanding of the seamy underside of Colaba which eventually drew Gregory Roberts to his story. "He had wanted to see what life in an Indian village was like, so I took him to my home," says Kishore.

But more interesting than fiction, is his own life story. Married and a father of four, Kishore ran away from home when he was just seven.

He had received no formal education because his caste-conscious village would not allow Dalit children like him to share the school with upper caste children. He survived his first few months in the city by polishing shoes outside CST and picking rags till one day he ventured to the Gateway of India where he found that it was easier to make a living begging from the foreigners who thronged the area.

In the late seventies, when he was a teenager, Kishore met Freddy Peats, who was later convicted for paedophilia. Peats ran a home for children in Goa and in 1978 or 1979 (he is not sure of the year, he says), Kishore, lured by tales from other children about gifts from Peats, went to his shelter at Colva beach. But he ran back to Mumbai after he was physically abused. Later, when he became a taxi driver, Kishore says he met Duncan Grant too. "Since I drove my taxi around Colaba and knew many of the street children who lived there, I knew about his activities. He was yet to set up the Anchorage home and he had a boat on which he used to take boys from the street for a ride in the harbour. After he set up the home, he brought Allen Waters (co-convict in the case) and a Frenchman," he discloses.

And just as in Shantaram where Prabaker is the Australian's link to a better world, in real life too Kishore helped the children by leading them to the activists. "I wanted justice for the children and for myself," he says.

As for his future plans--having seen a certain writer at work at close quarter, Kishore is inspired. He is writing his autobiography in Marathi and has finished "about hundred pages."


What's Shantaram about?
Gregory David Roberts's 936-page novel is the first volume of a projected four based on his own life. In 1980, while serving a 19-year sentence for robbery in Australia, Roberts escaped from prison and fled to India, spending a decade on the lam before he was recaptured and extradited.

As Australia's most wanted man he arrives in Mumbai on a fake passport and bumps into Prabaker the taxi driver who becomes his side-kick. Prabaker calls him Linbaba and helps him find a hut in a slum, where he earns his neighbours' respect by opening a makeshift clinic and learning Hindi and Marathi.

What happens next, how he lands up in Arthur Road jail, and his subsequent adventures in Afghanistan inform the rest of the book.


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