Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Secret diary of Kasturba by Neelima Dalmia Adhar




Book Name         - The Secret diary of Kasturba 
Author                  - Neelima Dalmia Adhar
Publisher              - Westland Books
Number of Pages -395
Publishing Year   - 2016
Edition                  - Hardback
Price                     -699
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Rating : 4.0

Blurb

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.

My Review


The secret diary of Kasturba is a tribute to one of the strongest, supportive and sacrificing females in the history of India.Eclipsed under the shadow of her great husband, very few have thought of the turmoil she had to handle. Kasturba's inner feelings are depicted in detail in this book. Nevertheless, major part of the book is like biography of Gandhiji narrated by his wife. Every coin has two sides, likewise every human being has two faces. The book shows another face of Mahatma Gandhi. He himself has admitted that he was not a good husband and a father for that matter. 


On the flipside, we can see an abusive, suspicious,apathetic human being. The plight of his sons, especially elder one Harilal is explained in detail. Every instances are connected flawlessly. A lot of research has been invested. How Harilal felt left out or discriminated under the shades of principles seems to be the major theme of the book.


The book is like Sita's Ramayana. Author shows the world that Kasturba is not just Mrs Gandhi but a headstrong woman in flesh and blood,whose life and dreams were neglected by her better half, who dedicated his life for a greater cause. Author has thrown light to the life of a woman who was forgotten in the pages of history.


Somewhere down the line, there seems to be a feminist tinge in the whole narration. If not feminism, I would like to call it the product of female chauvinism. Being a woman myself, it was difficult for me to digest the unilateral account of the events. There is a thin line between telling the truth and defaming someone. In some instances the word self-righteous sounded like an invective. The books is a fiction but which is the fictional element ? This is something that is not mentioned anywhere.  An author's note was needed give clarity on that front. 


Overall the book should be read by every Indian to understand this great woman's  contribution to our struggle for Independence but with discretion.


 I received this book as a complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review. I waas not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the author

When Neelima Dalmia Adhar wrote Father Dearest: The Life and Times of R.K. Dalmia in 2003, she was on the bestseller list and labelled a daredevil “family chronicler” who had exposed some fiercely-guarded secrets. She then wrote a novel, Merchants of Death in 2007 to be established as a mistress of the genre. 

Educated in a convent school and a reputed college in Delhi, she has a Master’s in Psychology with a specialization in “Personality”. Her first and only job was to teach Psychology to undergraduate students of Delhi University. 

A passionate “people-watcher”, she is drawn to oddities and thrives on writing about personalities and human behaviour, from the quirky to the mysterious to the bizarre, a subject she does chillingly close to the bone. 

She lives in Delhi with her husband, children and two grandchildren.