Saturday, 7 January 2017

#BookReview; The Secret Diary of Kasturba by Neelima Dalmia Adhar

He is the Mahatma, a man the world venerates as a prophet of peace. But for Kastur, the child bride who married the boy next door, Mohandas was a sexually-driven, self-righteous, and overbearing husband.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was sworn to poverty, celibacy and the cause for India’s freedom; Kastur spent sixty-two years of her life, juggling the roles of a devoted wife, a satyagrahi and sacrificing mother, who was eclipsed because of a man who almost became God for India’s multitude. Gandhi was an intolerant father to Harilal, his wayward son, driven to debauchery; Kasturba paid the price for her son’s unending misery.
Kastur is long dead, but she lives on in the pages of her diary…. Renowned author Neelima Dalmia Adhar lays it bare to tell the world what it meant to be Kasturba Gandhi, wife of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi - in a gripping tale of unconditional love, passion, sex, ecstasy and the ultimate liberation that every woman seeks.

The Secret Diary of Kasturba is a autobiographical fiction written by Neelima Dalmia Adhar. She is a famed author for writing books like Father Dearest: The Life & Times of R.K. Dalmia & Merchants of Death. She has a Master’s degree in Psychology with specialization in “Personality” which lead to her first & only job of teaching Psychology to undergrads of Delhi University.

Kastur a teenage girl from a Gujrati family Kapadia gets married to the youngest son of the Dewan of Porbandar, Mohandas of the famed Gandhi family in 1882. Though they used to play together but soon their lives were separated for a short time as she was forced to learn the domestic ways which would help her after she gets married, while on the other hand Mohandas grew up as a carefree boy. As they got married she didn’t have any idea what twists & turns her life will take in future. The book starts with the death of Kasturba Gandhi in the arms of Mahatma Gandhi, she relives her whole life while she breathed her last. From that point of the story we travel to her past from the beginning. The author narrates all the life events of Kasturba Gandhi from her birth to marriage & henceforth what she went through with her husband.

I chose this book to read at the end of 2016 hoping to leave the year on a good note & luckily it did. It’s quite refreshing to read about Kasturba Gandhi instead of Mahatma because I feel female individuals of Indian freedom struggle haven’t been quite discussed in detail & definitely not someone like Kasturba Gandhi where she had to endure so much to live with a difficult man like Mahatma. The author’s skill to relate to Kasturba Gandhi shows how much research she has done to write this book. Though at some parts the story focussed more on Mahatma & other entities than Kasturba Gandhi but it seems to be necessary to add the extra detail which strengthened the plot. The cover & title is to the point. There were some editing & factual mistakes but I think it didn’t weakened any part of the book. A total thumbs up for the effort & a must read, no wonder it ended up on top of my Top Ten 2016 Reads.

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