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Pinki Virani

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Pinki Virani
Born (1959-01-30) 30 January 1959 (age 65)
Bombay, India
OccupationJournalist and writer
SpouseShankkar Aiyar

Pinki Virani (born 30 January 1959) is an Indian writer, journalist, human-rights activist and writer. She is the author of Once was Bombay,[1] Aruna's Story, Bitter Chocolate: Child Sexual Abuse in India (which won the National Award),[2] and Deaf Heaven.[3] Her fifth book is called Politics of the Womb -- The Perils of Ivf, Surrogacy & Modified Babies. [4]

Early life and education


Virani was born in Mumbai, India, 30 January 1959, to Gujarati Muslim parents. Her father owned a shop, and her mother was a teacher. She attended school in Mumbai, Pune and Mussoorie. She went to the US to study for a Masters in Journalism on the Aga Khan Foundation scholarship. She did an internship at The Sunday Times, where she reported extensively on the race riots in Britain.



She started working as a typist at the age of 18. When she returned to India after her scholarship, she worked as a reporter and went on to become India's first woman editor of an evening paper.[5] She moved from daily journalism when she published her first book.

Virani is the author of five books. Aruna's Story is about the rape of a nurse that left her in a coma. The book forms part of a 52-minute documentary, produced by the PSBT, titled 'Passive Euthanasia: Kahaani Karuna Ki'.Theatre director Arvind Gaur scripted and directed it as solo play 'Aruna's Story'. Solo act performed by Lushin Dubey[6][7] Bitter Chocolate is about child sexual abuse in India. A Solo play based on this book was scripted-directed by Arvind Gaur and performed by Lushin Dubey.[8][9][10] Once Was Bombay is a sociology book. Deaf Heaven, her first work of fiction, experiments with form and style to warn off the danger of the tipping over of a modern country into neo-fascism. In Politics Of The Womb – The Perils Of Ivf, Surrogacy & Modified Babies (2016), Virani criticises IVF and other forms of assisted reproduction when used on women in aggressively repetitive cycles and calls for a worldwide ban on commercial surrogacy and other forms of third-party assisted reproduction [11]

Aruna Shanbaug case


In 2009, Pinki Virani filed a petition in Supreme Court of India on behalf of Aruna Shanbaug, a nurse working at the KEM Hospital in Mumbai on 27 November 1973 when she was sexually assaulted by a sweeper.[12] During the attack, Shanbaug was strangled with a chain, and the deprivation of oxygen left her in a vegetative state. She was treated at KEM following the incident and was kept alive by a feeding tube for 42 years, until her death of pneumonia in 2015.[13] In Virani's 2009 petition, she argued that the "continued existence of Aruna is in violation of her right to live in dignity". The Supreme Court made its decision on 7 March 2011.[14] It rejected the plea to discontinue Aruna's life support but issued a set of broad guidelines legalising passive euthanasia in India. The Supreme Court also refused to recognise Virani as the "next friend" of Shanbaug, a description Virani had used to file the petition.[15]

Personal life


She is married to Shankkar Aiyar, who is a journalist and the author of Accidental India.[16]


  • Aruna's Story: the true account of a rape and its aftermath. Viking, 1998.
  • Bitter Chocolate: child sexual abuse in India, Penguin Books, 2000
  • Once was Bombay. Viking. 1999. ISBN 0-670-88869-9.
  • Deaf Heaven, HarperCollins Publishers India, 2009. ISBN 81-7223-849-5.
  • Politics Of The Womb—The Perils Of IVF, Surrogacy & Modified Babies, Penguin Random House, 2016. ISBN 978-0670088720


  1. ^ Virani, Pinki, 1959- (2001). Once was Bombay. New Delhi: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-028791-4. OCLC 49350714.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Srinivasan, Madhumita (5 August 2015). "Theatre tribute to Aruna Shanbaug". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  3. ^ R. Krithika (19 July 2009). "As we see ourselves". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  4. ^ "The Egg Commerce". Daily Pioneer. 25 September 2016.
  5. ^ "Pinki Virani". HarperCollins. Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  6. ^ Pratyush Patra. "Aruna Shanbaug's story retold on stage". Times of India. Delhi,India. Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  7. ^ Shikha Jain (21 October 2018). "Aruna's Story: She was no less a martyr who sparked progressive change". Retrieved 4 December 2018.
  8. ^ Drama critic (7 January 2004). "Nobody's Child". Indian Express. Archived from the original on 29 September 2004. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  9. ^ Drama critic (11 April 2005). "An unspoken bitter truth". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2008.
  10. ^ SHALINI UMACHANDRAN (12 September 2004). "It happens here too". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Archived from the original on 30 September 2004. Retrieved 13 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Pinki Virani on commercial surrogacy: 'Worst kind of patriarchy posturing as pro-woman choice'". Firstpost. 11 September 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  12. ^ "India court admits plea to end life of rape victim". BBC News, Delhi. 17 December 2009.
  13. ^ "Aruna Shanbaug: Brain-damaged India nurse dies 42 years after rape". BBC News. 18 May 2015. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  14. ^ "After 36 yrs of immobility, a fresh hope of death". Indian Express. 17 December 2009. Retrieved 7 March 2011.
  15. ^ "Supreme Court decision on Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug versus Union of India" (PDF). Supreme Court of India. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 January 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Virani saga". The Tribune. 1 August 2009.