Sunaina Luthra/Harsimran Kaur ON Jan 11, 2023, IN BOOK REVIEW, INDEPENDENCE BY CHITRA BANERJEE DIVAKARUNI-FICTION
Fixing our eyes at the bewildered world,
Striving to be a free bird,
In our freedom people find sin,
Without hush we still move.
At times, we are abandoned on the shores,
Waves washing us,
Unflinchingly we still move.
Emotions coil us,
Bleakness, sorrow and disappointment,
The trail insinuates to stop off-guard,
To brighten our spirits,
We momentarily laugh at the perfidy,
Take a stalk of it and we move.
I write these lines as a partaker tothe assail and innuendos a woman is subjected to.
Aren’t these lines a lucidelucidationof the inherent ‘resilience’a woman is born with?
Such was the exemplary courage possessed by Ganguly sisters—daughters of Dr Nabakumar Ganguly, a philanthropist. Residing in a tranquil village of Ranipur, all the three sisters exhibited their own idiosyncratic spirit to dissect freedom. Priya, an idealist, is passionate to become a doctor like her father. Deepa is scintillatingand exudes confidence, clasping her beauty in the throngs of her appearance and Jamini is more flawed and self-conscious.
Country is teetering on the brink of independence. The rabble-rousers under the helm of political chicanery are desiccating the country by their fissiparous tendencies. All that is to be seen is Hindu-Muslim animosity, relinquishing the vision of a United India. Under the waterfall of partition cries, a tragedy spooks on the Ganguly family while they are on a vacation to Calcutta. The violence of Direct Action Day takes Nabakumar’s life, creating a shell-shock Bina, Nabakumar’s wife, to become hard-crusted.
With head of the family gone, the family sees itself at the ripper’s edge.Priya’s attempt to get into Calcutta Medical College gets thwarted due to gender bias and she takes admission at a college in New England.
Deepa finds herself estranged from her mother. She falls in love with a member of Muslim League and leads an isolated life in East Pakistan.Their clandestine inter-religious marriage puts her under the load of the matchstick as her husband becomes a powerful political member of the Muslim League. The two must relocate to the newly created Pakistan.
Jamini is a dutiful daughter and talented. She helps her mother to make ends meet. Even though she is resentful of her sisters,she craves attention and is in possession of a secret desire.
‘Independence’ is a highly anticipated book of 2022, the previous book being, ‘The Last Queen’. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has once again with her pellucid writing and her uncanny ability to transform her female protagonist from ordinary to extraordinary, amidst political and historical turmoil is praiseworthy. A woman’s dexterity to rise above discomfiture is the essence of the book.
The book’s rendition of an indefatigable spirit and relentless courage of the three sisters, representing the progressive women of newly awakened India, is inspiring and exhilarating.
I am sure it will be for all the readers too!!
The book is a perfect end to my Reading List of 2022.