Skip to main content

Book Review: The Abandoned Daughter by Hyma Goparaju

The Abandoned Daughter by Hyma Goparaju is a soul-stirring work of fiction. Set in 19th century, the novel takes us to the roots of the Indian patriarchal society, which seemed brutally ruthless towards a gender called female.

The novel opens up with a powerful scene, where a mother has to resist as well as to embrace the death of her newborn baby. Why? Because the newborn is a girl. Shockingly this is quite common in the village Sarhaipur and nearby. As the story chugs ahead, in the limelight comes Gomti Devi. She is a village landlord with five sons. She is the major head of the mansion where all live. She controls a huge family. She has five daughters-in-law, but surprisingly yet to have a grandchild. Why? So far all her grandchildren born were girls, so she killed them brutally.

At Gomti’s house and in the nearby area, it has become a custom to kill baby girls for various reasons. Once you get into the book, you will get introduced to the lineage of beliefs that has always led to killing of girls and subsequently a formation of patriarchal society in India. Tragedy runs like banter in the backdrop, so much so that after one time, either you feel stoned or give up the belief in humanity.

The entire story gallops around the brutality and cruel politics played by Gomti and her sister Gorma, who lives in Lucknow but often drops in to the village. More than fiction and events, the book is into the detailing of gender discrimination. For a long time, the novel runs on the power of antagonistic figures like Gomti and Gorma. However, in snatches we get to see other events from auxiliary characters like Kulbhusan and Rasik Lal.

Every time a baby is born, clouds of suspense keep readers in the fog. But as soon as the gender is disclosed, the activities begin sounding banal. So in this case, the author should have kept the story a bit short, but still the pace of the novel is commendable. The course of the story changed to some route when Kulbhusan goes to Lucknow and gets married to a clever and rich girl. That was a kind of turning point in the novel. Much later, towards the end, we see the intervention of government to prevent female infanticide. The time is around 1870s, post the mutiny of 1857. The British Raj has started working on the demographics of India for tightening grip over the Indian society. Startlingly, the records show that the population of some areas has almost recorded no female births. The inquiry, along with a few officials, reaches Sarhaipur and the trouble begins for Gomti. Will she be changed for the better or what will be her fate under the new female infanticide act. Those who are familiar with Munshi Premchand’s work will definitely reckon with this novel.

The novel is unique as it talks about female empowerment, and its backdrop, which is historical in nature, is riveting. The clarity in writing is the strong pillar of the novel.


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond

Among all Ruskin Bond books, The Blue Umbrella has, so far, gathered immense applaud from readers and critics alike.  This is a short novel, but the kind of moral lessons it teaches to us are simply overwhelming. This is a story of Binya, a poor little girl living with her mother and an elder brother, Bijju, in a small hilly village of Garhwal. One day while herding her two cows back home, she stumbles upon some city people enjoying the picnic in the valley. She is enthralled to see them well-groomed and rich. She craves to be one like them and among many other things of their, a blue frilly umbrella catches her attention. She begins craving for it. On the other hand, the city people get attracted by her innocent beauty and the pendant in her neck. The pendant consists of leopard’s claw – which is considered a mascot widely in the hills. Binya trades her pendant off with the blue umbrella. The blue umbrella is so much beautiful that soon it becomes a topic of conversation fo

Poem Summary: Where The Mind Is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore

Poem by Rabindranath Tagore: Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high Where knowledge is free Where the world has not been broken up into fragments By narrow domestic walls Where words come out from the depth of truth Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit Where the mind is led forward by thee Into ever-widening thought and action Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake. Short Summary: This poem is written by Rabindranath Tagore during pre-independence days, when India was a colony of the British. The underlying theme of the poem is absolute freedom; the poet wants the citizens of his country to be living in a free state. According to the poem, we see that the poet is expressing his views there should be a country, like where people live without any sort of fear and with pure dignity…they should

Character Sketch of Binya from ‘The Blue Umbrella’ by Ruskin Bond

The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond is a popular children’s story. It features Binya as the main character, though there are other important characters as well, but the story revolves around Binya and her little beautiful umbrella. The story is widely popular among children, thus it has also been included in the schools’ syllabus all across the country. Since it is often taught in the school, thus the character sketch of Binya is often demanded by students from year to year. Character Sketch of Binya from The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond Binya is the main character of the novel ‘The Blue Umbrella’ by Ruskin Bond. Her full name is Binyadevi. As in the hills or anywhere in India it is a kind of trend to call children with their short nicknames. Binya’s elder brother’s name is Bijju, whereas his real name is Vijay. Binya aged eleven is a hilly girl. She lives with her small family in the hills of Garhwal. Her father died when she was two years of age. For sustenance, the