Chitra Karuna Banerjee has paid tribute to her roots in Kolkata. Contrary to her previous books, this book is more fiction than facts. However, surely a reader would lose oneself in the atrocities caused in the name of religion. The lines were drawn by the British and Indian politicians – the effect rippled across the people,even more than it was anticipated.

“The year is 1947. It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.”

Independence, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Deepa, Priya, and Jamini lived with their family in Ranipur near Bengal. Each young girl harbored individual dreams for their future. Bina and Nabakumar do their best to give a secure future to each of their beloved daughters. Just like any ordinary family, the family thrives on respect and a meager income. Nabakumar’s medical skills imbibe into the youngest one, Priya who aspires to be a doctor. Jamini, never losing her heart to her deformed legs, tries her best to be the perfect daughter. Deepa plans on utilizing her beauty for a secure match. All of their dreams go for a toss when the Calcutta Hindu-Muslim riots snatch their father’s life. As readers, we stand helpless, as we see the family dwindling into misery and undiscerning hatred toward Muslims.

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When men go off to be heroes, do they even realize what it does to the women they leave behind?

Independence, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

While Deepa succumbs to her choices, Priya fights for her dream to become a doctor. Jamini capitalizes on Bina’s affection. Sibling jealousy and conditional love surpass the sisterhood and throw before each sister, a life-altering decision. The political turmoil sets Ranipur on fire and thus sets fire to the lives of the sisters. they are torn by their choices, often justified in the name of love. Somewhere in the story, I lost myself in the partition fight between the sister over their family, each seeking their own independence. The inner commotion rocks the entire family. The independence of the motherland is entwined with the independence of three sisters and their mother.

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No matter how her story ends, she refuses to believe that a woman cannot have the joys of home and also a place in the world.

Independence, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

This book is not just historical fiction but also a book on sisterhood. I was almost biting my nails toward the end. The storyline appealed to the Bengali soul in me. I was delighted at the mention of Nahoum’s bakery when Nabakumar led the way for his daughters. I was touched by the recognition of Tagore and Nazrul songs. However, my only turn-off was the grammatical mess, especially with punctuation and the random usage of upper and lower cases.

Head to the comment section and let us know if you have read the book. You can also reach me on Facebook or Instagram to share your views.

Cheers to Reading!


Published by Ordo Ab Chao

Indian Blogger

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