Chronicles of the Lost Daughters

 'Narach' - The Original Cover Edition in Bengali

I was hooked to reading this novel and finished it in three sittings. It had such colorful mix of characters both real and fictional. Various known names - ousted Nawab of Awadh settled in his Metiabruz in Calcutta of the 19th century. The Brahmo Samaj - the fight for women's education, doing away child marriage done in the name of shastras, and widow remarriage. Kadambini Ganguly - the first lady doctor of Bengal, Dwarakanath - the reformist, Rabindranath Tagore, and so many from the era. And a family that is divided by the dreams of a deceptive contractual labour, indentures, after slavery was banned, and is shipped off to Surinam. 

Though the blurb mentions only Bhubonmoni, I think there is no one central character in the novel, rather it portrays women - from the child bride who faces death on her marital bed, to a widow assaulted several times by the low rapists to the high pandits, to one who has successfully come out of the inner chambers to make a name for herself and contribute to the society. It is a tale about so many women, and men who are working towards their upliftment and men who consider them no more than slaves. 

It is a melancholic read at times, and courageous and brave in other parts. As a whole, the story gives hope. These are tales we can draw inspiration from- the adversities faced by the people - though somewhat fictional, relates to so many facts of that century, that's lost in history. The author brings to fore, the almost forgotten episode of Indians who were treated as slaves, their hardships, their loss of dignity, the emotional and physical torture. 

But the Nawab's story meeting this one seemed a bit unusual, and ended too quick. I wished the characters of the two parallel stories had some scenes together. They were just mentioned in the others' conversations.

I am eagerly awaiting Debarati Mukhopadhyay's next novel. Hopefully it too would be translated by Arunava Sinha.

I thank Blogchatter for sending this book across. #TBRChallenge

This review is powered by Blogchatter Book Review Program.

You can buy the book at Chronicles of a lost daughter.


Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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