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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Gender bias is a massive problem in India: Jeffrey Archer

Mugdha Variyar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 12, 2013
First Published: 02:04 IST(12/3/2013) | Last Updated: 02:07 IST(12/3/2013)

Author Jeffrey Archer, who was in the city on Monday to launch the third book in his five-part series The Clifton Chronicles, told Hindustan Times that a “massive problem” in India is that women are not treated as equals.

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“There is a massive problem [in India], and it is a terrible thing for any woman to not be treated as an equal. The instance [of the Delhi gang rape] is very terrible,” said Archer. “But I am very aware of the next generation of young women in this country being very self-confident and assured. Education is the key, and education not only of women, but also of 'stupid' men who think they are superior.”

Archer, 72, said the gender bias existed to some degree in England as well.

“We still have people in England who treat women as inferior. You will never get rid of all of it. The mindset has to change over the years. We have had a woman Prime Minister and so has India,” he said.

Archer, whose books have been bestsellers in India, admitted he did not know why he was so popular here. “It is a complete mystery to me as to why, in India, I outsell everyone. In the rest of the world, I am fighting with two or three others [writers], but not in India. This is my country,” said Archer.

However, fans should not expect a novel about the country any time soon.

“I love this country and know this country, but I don’t have the confidence to write an Indian novel, though Indians fans always ask me to write one,” Archer said.

He added that he plans to write a set of short stories after completing the series and then work on a novel.

“I will continue writing for another 20 years,” he said.

Best Kept Secret is the third installment of The Clifton Chronicles, a quintology. The books revolve around the protagonist Harry Clifton’s life from 1920 to 2020.

Archer said the books are almost autobiographical.


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