Draupadi is a symbol of Indian woman. A character culturalised to represent chastity. A role model created by male chauvinism to show case how they waDraupadi is a symbol of Indian woman. A character culturalised to represent chastity. A role model created by male chauvinism to show case how they want their women to be. Pure, law abiding, beholder or their honour, personification of beauty and sacrifice.
Main thing here is that Pratibha Ray has put Draupadi into the stereotyped repesentation of Indian woman. It was like reading some Ekta Kapoor's tearjerker 'bahu' serial! Too much of melodrama and un-realistic dialogues and artificial emotions. Pratiba, instead of letting her be on her own truly, on the pretext of making a feminist book, has tried to garner more sympathies for Draupadi. To do that she had to change the other characters, like Bhima as a lecherous glutton like one of those dakoos of old movies. And Karna, ever since the original Mahabharata was written, this is one character that everybody wanted to re-define. A poor Aryan who had to live a humiliated life of a Dalit. This is nothing but an invention of a society which couldn't tolerate that a Dalit could be chivalrous. So they have to say that he is not actually a dalit but son of Sun! Why is is hard to accept that he was a Dalit! And the lovestory bit, what a bonkers. It is not that she can't fall in love with Karna due to morality issue. But just because the author was smitten by the tragic hero, she had to give him redemption by letting the heroine fall for him. Duh!
Draupadi here is someone who had to stay as a wife of 5 men, which was not a unique thing entirely because polyndary used to be practised in societies where matrilinear heirarchy used to be practised. But the thing here to be discussed is, is that really humiliating for a woman to marry more than one man? if so why? is it because of hte fear of what others would say? Unlike the case of polygamy, where a man can spend his time with any woman at any time, Draupadi was not given a chance like that, she had to follow a one year/husband policy, again this could be desputed as it is likely to be an alteration made by moral policymakers, people who cannot tolerate/accept a woman (having to)marrying more than one man. I guess even Pratibha Ray is one of them.
Main thing I didn't like, as I had mentioned above, was un-realistic sentiments. A woman who is depreived of all her personal freedom, was humiliated in a worse way in the front of family and elders, would have turned hard and bitter. The idea that women are peaceloving gender is a nonsense. Humans have emotions, anger is a prominent one. Draupadi had been a key figure in the war and just to put some anti-war message at the end, the author seems to have ruined the character of Draupadi, by making her a weak woman.
A good collection of First world war stories, gives a good glimpse of the war that was believed to be the end of all wars. The study and cultural reprA good collection of First world war stories, gives a good glimpse of the war that was believed to be the end of all wars. The study and cultural representation of Great war could be considered as the beginning of anti-war movements....more
A very poignant study of the Great war (First world war) and aftereffects through all the post war symbols like memorials, art, cemetery, literature eA very poignant study of the Great war (First world war) and aftereffects through all the post war symbols like memorials, art, cemetery, literature etc. This is an anti-war war literature. A brilliant work....more
Mainly set around the life of two art students Paul and Eleanor, who at Slade art college (or something like that) are trying to get their head aroundMainly set around the life of two art students Paul and Eleanor, who at Slade art college (or something like that) are trying to get their head around 'Life class', to depict life through art. First part of the story explores their immaturity in life as a whole, and it implies their inability to paint a picture o life. But soon their world is torn up by the First world war. Dejected by his failure in college, Paul volunteers as a nurse in a makeshift hospital in the warzone, from where he would move to ambulance service. While Eleanor continues with landscapes.
Paul witness a world that is cruel and cold. The harrowing accounts of wounded soldiers, their painful cries and crushed moral takes him more closer to the picture of life, its crisis and true yearnings. To Eleanor, meanwhile, art is freedom. She sticks on to 'art is life' and continues working on 'landscapes' and pillow covers! She refuses to volunteer for anything. Though it appeared that she may have felt guilty, I am not quite sure what she did make out. What I understood is she found the freedom she looked for, by getting past the guilt of considering art more important than anything else in life. or is it that life class wouldn't mean anything more to her?
Brilliantly written novel. Tale of how a massive force like war impact the idea of love, art and freedom. It is probably the hard times that shows us the true meaning of life. ...more
This is the story of a young woman, Noor Inayat Khan, born to an Indian sufi mystic father and an american mother. Born in Russia, they move to FranceThis is the story of a young woman, Noor Inayat Khan, born to an Indian sufi mystic father and an american mother. Born in Russia, they move to France where she, with her brothers and sister, grow up in a harmonious surrounding. The book talks a great deal about her good manners and discipline, pointing finger to her father's teachings that influenced the young Noor.
The main part of this book covers how she volunteers for the war preparations and becomes the first woman british spy to be recruited for a spy work behind enemy lines. We have read several spy stories so it is somewhat guessable how nerve jaunting work is this having to do it under the enemy's nose. Despite her contacts getting arrested and the circuits getting blown up, she manages to evaded the German Gestapos and continue being a strong communication channel between the resistance group and the British mainland. But eventually, an agent within resistance buckle to the Gestapo's brutality and double crosses her ending up in her capture.
With a tragic end at the Dachau concentration camp, she might have disappeared into oblivion had such attempts, to bring back such little known world war heroes, were not taken up. For that the author needs to be really commended.
This ought to get more than 2 stars. But for its amateurish writing I am compelled not to exceed it. Shrabani Basu was excellent in her research work done to get the info on a spy from several millions whose archives could never be fully recovered. But the way the book is written at times made me cringe. For instance, she happens to be great-great...-granddaughter of Tipu Sultan, and whenever some dramatic moment comes, writer quotes that it is the blood of Tipu sultan that makes her stay strong. Things like that attempts to deviate from reality and gives the personality an unnecessary mythical greatness. Then few things like "attestation" of her brilliance. Like at the end she quotes something like "...Hitler was glad that the dangerous british spy was caught and their radio link sabotaged.." , then about testimonies from chiefs and agents that sounds like a school report card remarks. I think the editing was shoddy in this case. There was a good research material and they couldn't arrange it properly like a normal non-fiction.
This is going to become a movie it seems , they can directly use the book as screenplay! ...more
I picked up this book because I like stories that goes back to childhood, and does some introspection of the events that culminates in the present dayI picked up this book because I like stories that goes back to childhood, and does some introspection of the events that culminates in the present day situations. That way the initial parts of the story was appealing. But what made me thinking of abandoning it was the narrator, Mr Banks', moral convictions and the hyped melodrama.
The character, not sure if he has schizophrenia or something like that(never sounded like "highly intelligent with a lack of social skills"), was most of the time confused, and idiotic if not rude. He talks about relations but didn't appear honest in any. He is guilty of not trying to find out the whereabouts of his parents, but indulges in many other things that may sound so unrelated. He starts off saying that he doesn't like to go to socialites parties but never misses any!
and the reader is made to believe that it's all because of him being uprooted from his international settlers part in Shanghai from parents and friends. And he takes up a mission to find them in Shanghai
That made me think that he might express his affection and wonderful times with them, but even there I felt the narrator was trying to keep a distance. His tales of friendship with Akira was very sloppish, and never sounded deep. The other characters like his mother and father could have been explored more. The ending was a tad comical. It reminded me of those old Indian family melodramas.
There are several plus points, few characters where interesting. The situations in occupied China, at time of Chiang Kaishek/Mao etc were nice to know. So was the atmosphere of a revolt that kept brooding, whenever the narration moves to Shanghai....more
Looking at the horrors of the war, told in a very despairing tone. Story toggles between a psychiatrist who has to attend to the broken down soldiersLooking at the horrors of the war, told in a very despairing tone. Story toggles between a psychiatrist who has to attend to the broken down soldiers who have returned from the front, and a young soldier who travels back to the war front for the third time after 2 breakdowns.
This is the third part of the Regeneration trilogy and could be read in isolation. But now I want to read the other 2 parts!...more
It is a book that is split into 3 parallel segments of 3 distinct perspectives of the things around. It could be classified as a non-fiction, but it iIt is a book that is split into 3 parallel segments of 3 distinct perspectives of the things around. It could be classified as a non-fiction, but it is a fiction at the same time....more
A very vivid descriptive narration of an expedition into Congo in a mission to pick an Ivory agent Kurt who has turned himself into a god like figureA very vivid descriptive narration of an expedition into Congo in a mission to pick an Ivory agent Kurt who has turned himself into a god like figure warring and literally ruling over a tribe. The story is narrated by the captain of the expedition Marlow to a group of sailors of another expedition. One unique thing about the narration that I found was , it is narrated with a mixture of admiration for Kurt for his success or his charisma, and a guilt owing to the facts that, the person whom he admires, was brutal and tyrannical to the natives. Hence the narration appears quite dark. The other character Kurt is still little enigmatic to me. He is an ambitious ivory agent. But he become too autocratic that he wants all the ivory that he captured to himself, which provokes the company as well. He forms a militia with followers, acting like their god, warring against other tribes and agents, and turning into a senile tribal king who believes that he has gone too far to return from his newly found world.
I saw on that face the expressions of sombre pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror - of an intense & hopeless despair. Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He cried in a whisper , at some image, at some vision. He cried out twice, a cry that was more than a breath - "the horror!,the horror!"
I found darkness as the central metaphor in the story, describing Africa, dense forest, evil, fear, oblivion, guilt and other dark qualities etc. Everything he can recollect is dark and shadowed. Even the day time is foggy and blinding. He uses the phrase "Impenetrable darkness" in several occasions like when contemplating the forest or when trying to understand the true intentions of Kurt. Darkness adds to the vivid imagery of journey described. Often it appeared like a sad poetry. The forest, the condition of the Africans brought for work, the contrast of the same with that of a white officer are all covered, are narrated which gives the glimpses of Marlow's impeding guilt. For instance he is so moved when he sees cannibals choosing to eat a rotten hippo meat instead of him or his crews.
No fear can stand up to hunger, no patience can wear it out, disgust simply doesn't exist where hunger is; and as to belief, superstition and principles, they are less than chaff in a breeze. Don't you know the devility of lingering starvation, its exasperating torment, its sombre & brooding ferocity? It is easier to face death, dishonor and perdition of one's soul - than this kind of prolonged hunger
I think this book would need multiple reads. Meantime I am reading the analysis and discussions on this....more
One beautiful thing about poets and painters are that when they write prose it is actually a poem or a painting expressed in words. That is the dramaOne beautiful thing about poets and painters are that when they write prose it is actually a poem or a painting expressed in words. That is the drama one will encounter in this memoir. He narrates passionately and humorously about the life he lived, people he met, the landscape he saw, seasons that went by, legends, tragedy, festivals and the drama of an isolated village and their silent resentment to endless suffering and monotony.
It is meant for slow read, each word to be devoured patiently like a poetry. 4.5/5...more