Magazine Reporting


Adam Hochschild

San Francisco Examiner Magazine

South India Paradox

"India is overwhelming and humbling," explains author and free-lance journalist Adam Hochschild. "The longer you're there the more you see how little you know. If I'd been there only a month, I would have had the confidence to write a book. Being there five months, I was able to manage to write three articles. If I'd been there 10 years, I could manage a paragraph."

Hochschild's piece for the San Francisco Examiner magazine, "South India Paradox," revolves around the mysteries and contradictions Hochschild observed in his five-month tenure in the south Indian state of Kerala.

Kerala is the one state in India with nearly 100 percent literacy. Although its per capita income is roughly 1/70 that of the United States, infant mortality and life expectancy statistics are nearly at European and U.S. levels - better, in fact, than they are for black Americans. Severe problems remain, but, compared with the rest of its unhappy subcontinent, Kerala's achievements are remarkable.

As Fulbright lecturers in journalism living in provincial India, Hochschild and his wife bore witness to a complicated people and culture that were more than just the images of extreme poverty and suffering held by their Western home country. The winning article is based on interviews and impressions gathered throughout Hochschild's time in India and offers the historical and background research needed to understand the psyche of the region.

Hochschild's lyrical narrative and rich language draws his readers into the exotic world that he had been able to experience. …

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