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In 1942, when Mahatma Gandhi asks Indians to give one family member to the freedom movement, ten-year-old Anjali is devastated to think of her father risking his life for the freedom struggle.

But it turns out he isn't the one joining. Anjali's mother is. And with this change comes many more adjustments designed to improve their country and use "ahimsa"—non-violent resistance—to stand up to the British government. First the family must trade in their fine foreign-made clothes for homespun cotton, so Anjali has to give up her prettiest belongings. Then her mother decides to reach out to the Dalit community, the "untouchables" of society. Anjali is forced to get over her past prejudices as her family becomes increasingly involved in the movement.

When Anjali's mother is jailed, Anjali must step out of her comfort zone to take over her mother's work, ensuring that her little part of the independence movement is completed.

Inspired by her great-grandmother's experience working with Gandhi, New Visions Award winner Supriya Kelkar shines a light on the Indian freedom movement in this poignant debut.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published October 1, 2017

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Supriya Kelkar

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 289 reviews
Profile Image for shakespeareandspice.
342 reviews535 followers
March 6, 2018
Review originally posted on A Skeptical Reader.

Ahimsa is about a ten-year-old Anjali who’s mother has just quit her job working under the British Raj for undisclosed reasons and a rising Independence movement is about to take her entire life by storm. It opens up with a black Q painted on the side of her mother’s ex-boss’s wall and it takes one into the journey of ahimsa—a practice of nonviolence towards all living things.

Anjali is a remarkable character, a child with flawed perceptions of the world who learns to emerge from her prejudices and disposition to make a difference. Children’s fiction offers adults a very unique opportunity to settle into the mindset of a youth struggling to grasp the adult world and through Anjali’s eyes, we see the struggles not only of a child but also of her country.

India is an incredibly dense region of mixed behaviors and cultures. It’s land that’s gone through hundreds of years of turmoil, integrating people from all walks of life. I cannot emphasize how beautifully Supriya Kelkar has managed to sketch all the nuances of Indian cultures into a children’s book. There are several groups of caste, race, and religion that clash amongst each other and Kelkar explores them perfectly for readers of several ages to grasp.

Whilst reading it, I was having a conversation with a friend about caste and how hard it is to explain the caste system in India to any immigrant but coincidentally, right after that conversation, Kelkar presents a scene where Anjali is asked to examine her sisterly attachment to a Muslim boy, Irfan, when she refuses to even touch a member of her own religion, an Untouchable. Surprisingly, the author even paints Gandhi more realistically, illustrating the hypocrisy and racism of the Father of India himself. To do all of this in an adult novel would be an amazing feat but Kelkar manages to pull it off in a small children’s book, assimilating Anjali’s own limitations with it.

I wouldn’t necessarily say this book is easily accessible to all children. There are words, terms, and subtleties that I think some readers in the West might have difficulty understanding. There is a note in the back of the book where Kelkar has laid out the context to a lot of the major events that occur in the novel so I’d definitely recommend reading that afterwards.

As for the writing, while I don’t think it stands out in an extraordinary way, it does make for a very fast and absorbing read. My attention never once faltered so it’s easily readable in one sitting. And even with the deeply political nature of the novel, Anjali remains a lively character I’ve come to cherish.

Lastly, I would like to thank the author for writing a novel like this. It made me cry but it also just made me incredibly happy and excited for the future generations because Ahimsa exists. It exists and it makes all the difference in the world.
Profile Image for Elisabeth.
546 reviews15 followers
July 11, 2017
Ahimsa offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of the freedom movement in India in the 1940s. While I knew a little about Indian history from movies like Gandhi and Water, it was interesting seeing it all from the perspective of 10-year-old Anjali. I think kids will really connect with her as she grapples with giving up the trappings of her privileged lifestyle and learns to embrace the movement.
A minor gripe of mine is that Kelkar refers to a Gandhi quote several times that is slightly inaccurate. Gandhi never actually said "Be the change you wish to see in the world." He said something similar when he said, "We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do." With the incredible attention to detail Kelkar uses in the rest of the book, this mistake rubbed me the wrong way every time it popped up.
*****EDIT 7/11/17: If you'll check the comments, Supriya Kelkar was kind enough to respond to my review and assure me that this has been revised for the final publication. Hooray for great editing and authors!!!*****
Highly recommended for kids who like reading about other countries and historical events, and adults will like this one too.
Profile Image for Danielle.
Author 2 books228 followers
March 16, 2018
Complex and captivating, with a truly moving and emotional climax, this is a wonderful novel that will educate and inspire.

"even a small number of dedicated people can alter the course of history." (p. 195)

Profile Image for CW ✨.
644 reviews1,692 followers
December 29, 2019
Taking place in 1940s India during the freedom movement, this is a great book about social justice that is somewhat suitable and accessible to children (there may be a lot of cultural nuances that they may not understand, but with an educated adult, I think this is a great story), while also teaching them about the impact of prejudice.

- Follows Anjali, an Indian girl who lives of a higher caste, whose mother joins the freedom movement - and she has to confront her prejudices and privileges.
- Set during an under-represented time in history, I really liked that this book explores the freedom movement in India. I also liked how that the story incorporates Gandhi (despite the whole world knowing about him, we don't know much about what he fought for) but was also critical of him as well.
- I enjoyed Anjali's perspective - she has a very narrow and flawed idea of the world, and I love how the story explores how she reacts and grows when she's challenged, and how she can make a difference.
- I think this book perfectly illustrates the caste system - not just in explaining what it is, but also the impact of the caste system, the prejudices associated with being in a lower caste and that they experience.
- The story explores how diverse India is, and how people of different religions live together - and how sometimes different groups can clash.
- Though I think this book is great and I'd recommend it to most readers, I didn't really jell with the storytelling at times which hindered my enjoyment/appreciation of the book. However, that's just my personal preference.

Trigger/content warning:
Profile Image for Kate Olson.
2,184 reviews724 followers
October 1, 2017
A stunning tale of social justice set in 1940s India, AHIMSA gives readers a glimpse into what the true meaning of non-violent resistance is. A required purchase for school libraries.

Thanks to the publisher and Edelweiss for the digital review copy of this title

This story has now become my absolute number one title to recommend about social justice and equality in any era, country, religion or race. Kelkar has done such a superb job of with this story that although it is set in 1940s India and deals with the caste system, English colonialism, and religious strife between Muslim and Hindu groups, the messages she conveys can be applied to virtually any other country and time period and still be applicable.

This story is a timeless choice for classroom use, as the events and messages can be compared to so many other situations and will make for rich discussion and analysis. Included in the book is a very thorough afterword by the author about the genesis of the novel as well as a general overview of the history of India and a glossary.

Highly recommended for grades 4-8, but also a rich enough title to use for cultural discussion in high school. Required purchase for school libraries, and highly recommended as a whole class read aloud.
Profile Image for Mississippi Library Commission.
389 reviews74 followers
January 9, 2018
Inspired by her great-grandmother's role in the Indian freedom movement, Kelkar has delivered a five-star book for middle grade readers about an ordinary young girl, her family, and their surprising contribution to history. While many students will recognize Gandhi's name, they may not know much more about the 1940s in India. They'll be swept away by the Anjali's experiences with the caste system, the conflict between Muslim and Hindu, and the imperialist control of Great Britain. Anjali grows so much in this short little novel and students will be inspired by the thought that they, too, can make a difference in the world.
August 13, 2022
Ahimsa is a story about a girl during the Indian freedom movement. What’s interesting is that we get to look at the entire situation from a child’s perspective. The book explores various topics such as caste and religion in a way suitable for children, which is something I appreciate. Moreover, I liked the pacing and how it kept my attention throughout the book. It provides a rarely-seen look into the movement, and I recommend it to everyone interested in history and Indian independence.
Profile Image for Wren.
31 reviews3 followers
April 24, 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction

Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (5/5)

Ages: 8/9+

Ahimsa (hindi) : Non injury (english)

It is an intriguing narrative of the life of a young Indian girl in 1942, filled with acts of reckless bravery and wisdom, all penned down into a 320 paged hardback book. In other words: Totally awesome!

Anjali, ten years old, is experiencing the uprising of a lifetime in India. It is the story of India's struggle for independence seen through the eyes of a young Brahmin girl. Her country is being torn apart, due to misconstrued insights spread by different religious communities. The invasion of the British had caused a wide number of casualties and waves of distress among the people of the society. In the search for truth, Anjali realises that sacrifices do not lead to loss, rather its outcome is the treasure that we must cherish. Her mother, who soon quits her job as the secretary of the British Raj, decides to aide her daughter's quest for justice by becoming a freedom fighter. Together, Anjali and her family push past their cultural and religious boundaries and help the Dalits become a part of the society. This causes a wave of outrage among all the highly regarded Brahmin community, who disapprove of this act and label Anjali's family as outcasts. Though this doesn't break Anjali spirit as she continues to help break past the barriers of social inequality to treat all people equally.

It's a beautiful tale of defiance of unjust laws and how one must never lose courage no matter how tough the situation gets. It's smooth, precise and a must read. I enjoyed every bit of this heartening story and I am sure everyone who reads it, will too!

By #RenéePereira
Profile Image for Dilip Chauhan.
199 reviews25 followers
September 28, 2018
Rating - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 1/2

I borrowed this book from my friend because cover is absolutely beautiful 😍

- Book is written in the perspective of 10 years old girl Anjali who's life changes when her family takes part in Indiana freedom fight.

- the book is written in very simple language and it's easy to understand without any hassle.

- all the characters in the book are so realistic, at point I thought I am reading a first hand account of some freedom fighter.

- book also puts light on the one of the biggest issue in Indian community. The difference between cast and how it has affected people.

- a well written book, our younger generation must read.

- narration and pace of the book is excellent. In no time I was finishing the book and oh I love it so much.

- simple but a profound read!
Profile Image for Sarah Peddicord.
15 reviews3 followers
January 1, 2018
Ahimsa: Nonviolence. Anjali's world seems to be filled with aggression and violence as India struggles against the British government in 1942. The people are also struggling against each other. Graffiti, vandalism, riots, beatings and other forms of violence build throughout this story. Anjali's courage and hope for an equal, free country builds as well. This is a beautiful story about the power of small actions that lead to great change. I couldn't put Supriya Kelkar's debut novel down.
Profile Image for Karina.
Author 10 books840 followers
June 28, 2017
This was a touching and informative read about the freedom movement in India to reclaim the country's government and economy from the British. I loved the nuances in this story, and it gave me a better understanding of that area and political climate in the 1940s. The main character Anjali, a ten-year-old, is thoughtful and feisty. A must-read for middle graders and beyond!
Profile Image for Priya.
1,404 reviews36 followers
January 2, 2023
India's freedom struggle has been a huge component of the History taught to us in school. The advent of British rule, the first war of independence, the various methodologies and those who followed them, the details of plans worked out with the British; all of this is in many textbooks. All of it is after the fact; recorded history.
Here we see the situation in 1942 as the Quit India movement gained momentum, from the perspective of a 10 yo girl. A child who has to grow up really fast because of the circumstances she finds herself in.

Anjali is aware of the struggle for independence; she has also seen the plight of those of her classmates whose parents or relatives are a part of it and so prays that her life will remain as it is. When her mother decides to quit her job and join the freedom movement, Anjali's life implodes. She has to change not just her way of life but her thinking. Giving up her beautiful clothes which her mother says are a symbol of British exploitation, and switching to khadi is only the beginning. She has to learn to do tasks that she had always seen the people known as 'Untouchables' do; she has to bear the censure and derision of her neighbours and other kids for associating with the Dalit community and trying to make others do so too. She also has to deal with her mother's imprisonment.

Anjali is a child with progressive parents who believe in the equality of all Indians and seem to practice it to a large extent. The differences in caste are drummed into her by an elderly relative who stays with them. Her friend Irfan is someone she loves like a brother and celebrates all festivals with. While she takes some time to accept the new reality, she participates wholly in her mother's efforts to contribute to the freedom movement. She understands what is wrong about Indians themselves differentiating against their own people and believes that the fight against the British should be together. She is sensitive to the change that's the need of the hour and helpful and that stems from what the downtrodden people themselves want rather than something symbolic to just make a point. She also realises that individuals have to step up and initiate the change they want to see.When Mohan, a Dalit boy tells her that
"Changing what you call someone does not fix the problems behind the name", in response to her telling him that he was a Harijan according to Gandhiji, she realises that mere words and gestures will not be enough to correct mistakes of this enormity.

Writing about such a serious issue in the voice of a child is definitely tricky and the author has done a good job of portraying Anjali. Her initial hesitation, learning curve, determination to bring change and her confusion when riots break out among the very people she thinks should unite to fight a common enemy, are all very well done. It's ironical too that a child is able to advocate for equality when the adults around her are bent on divisions.I loved her parents too who took a stand against the norm despite the consequences they were likely to face.

This is a book that middle graders today should read to understand the reality of the freedom struggle as seen by those who lived through it. I bought this book a few years ago and it has waited on my bookshelf since then for no good reason that I can now recall. I'm glad that the new year has started with this wonderful read.
September 9, 2018

Also Posted on For The Love of Fictional Worlds

Disclaimer: A Physical Copy was provided via Scholastic India in exchange for an honest review. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own.

Ahimsa is an enthralling look at the Quit India Movement or the Freedom Movement of the Indians against the British Empire in the 1940s.  

Told in the perspective of a 10 year old privileged Indian girl; Anjali –
who is secure in the knowledge of being a Brahmin kid, who gets the best dresses and is the apple of her parent’s eyes. Her best friend is Irrfan; a Muslim boy, and that makes okay for Islam doesn’t really have a caste system.  

Everything in her perfect world starts to splinter when her mother leaves her cushion-y job with Captain Brent in the British Army – and decides to join in the Freedom Movement. Her confusion at the world around is easy to understand and definitely empathize with, for all that she has always taken at face value, the world she has believed to be right; is now slowly proving themselves to be wrong. It was amazing to see how Anjali took everything she has been told and to connect it with the world that she is now living in.  

I loved how the author shows the growth of character in Anjali – from believing what she has always been told; to deciding what is right for herself through her own experiences – her confusion, her reluctance was as real as it gets.  

This book is a definite recommendation for any young kid or even teenager (and I do believe, that some adults could also definitely use it!) to not only understand their legacy but also know that the path to be kind and humane isn’t easy; but it is definitely worth every second of struggle. 

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Profile Image for Alex  Baugh.
1,954 reviews108 followers
December 5, 2017
It’s 1942 and while Britain and the rest of the world are engaged in WWII, in Bombay (today’s Mumbai), the Quit India movement, whose goal is to rid India of British rule and gain independence, is begun with a speech by Mahatma Gandhi on August 8th. The very next day, August 9, 1942, Gandhi is arrested but it doesn’t stop many from still having faith in the Quit India movement.

Gandhi, a practitioner of Ahimsa, or civil disobedience, had already asked that one member of every family become a freedom fighter for Indian independence. Anjali Joshi, 10, a member of the high born Brahmin caste, knew that some of the kids in her class had family members who were freedom fighters, but after Gandhi's speech, she is more than surprised to learn that her mother has also joined the fight. And one of the things her mother is focused on is attempting to make the lives of those considered to be untouchable better (Gandhi referred to the untouchable caste as Harijan, meaning children of God, but Anjali learns they consider that an insult and would rather be referred to as Dalit, meaning oppressed).

At first, Anjali isn’t really too happy, especially when her mother makes her burn all of her beautiful foreign-made ghagra-cholis and replaces them with plainer khadi, a handwoven homespun cotton they spin themselves. She is particularly unhappy after her mother shows kindness towards the young Dalit boy, Mohan, who cleans their outhouse, causing him to run away, and then decides that Anjali and she will clean the outhouse themselves.

Slowly and reluctantly, however, Anjali begins to support her mother’s attempts at being an activist. They begin attending freedom movement meetings together, and after visiting the basti where the Dalits live and get to know the people better, Anjali decides that it is unfair that the young Dalits are not able to go to school, too. They begin teaching the children in the basti, even finding help from a surprising a very surprising source. Soon, Anjali and her mother are working to make it possible for the kids to actually attend the school that Anjali goes to, getting uniforms and tiffins all ready for them.

But the weekend before their first day of school, rioting breaks out between the Hindus and Muslims and schools are closed. Later, Anjali’s best friend, Irfaan, a Muslim boy who is more like a brother to her than a friend, accuses her of writing anti-Muslim words on his father’s store, ending their friendship, and worst of all, Anjali’s mother is arrested on charges of helping to instigate the riots. While in prison and still practicing Ahimsa, or non-violence, her mother goes on a hunger strike, and although Anjali is afraid for her, she decides to carry on their work, even as she realizes she herself must unlearn the prejudices and superstitions that were so much a part of her life.

Ahimsa is a debut novel for Supriya Kelkar, based on the experiences of her great-grandmother, who had joined Gandhi’s freedom movement so her husband could continue working, much the same way Anjali’s mother did.

I found Ahimsa to be a very interesting novel about social injustice in 1940s India that covers quite a lot of historical and political ground, some of which may not be familiar to young American readers. But, Kelkar has taken great pains to make this important period in Indian history accessible, although at times she waxes a little on the didactic side when it comes to describing the political situation.

But one of the things I did like is that Kelkar has included a lot of interesting, personal details in her narrative descriptions, including what daily life was like, the kinds of clothing people wore, food they ate, games kids played, holidays celebrated as well as accounts of the living conditions of someone in the Brahmin class, of the basti where the Dalits live, and even a bit about how the members of the British Raj (rulers) lived. These are the kinds of details that often work to bring a story to life, and Ahimsa is not different.

The other thing I liked is the Kelkar has written flawed characters who learn from their mistakes. Anjali's mother is an enthusiastic freedom fighter, so enthusiastic that she can't see better alternatives to her actions, and sometimes not listening to the very people she is trying to help. For instance, burning the family's clothing in protest, following Gandhi's example, rather than giving them to the poor who really could have used them. Even Anjali is flawed, at first not really understanding what her country is going through, but slowly she becoming more enlightened, though at times no less feisty and headstrong, which can and does get her into trouble. Even Gandhi and some of his ideas are presented as somewhat flawed, as Anjali discovers the more involved she becomes in the Freedom Movement.

Ahimsa is a very readable novel and a nice introduction to the Freedom Movement in India. It is also a novel about trying to make a difference, about social injustice, and about resistance, and although these themes are put into the context of Indian history, they will certainly resonate with today's young readers.

Be sure to read the Author's Note for a detailed overview of this period in Indian history and the leaders involved in it. Kelkar has also included a list of books for Further Reading and a very helpful glossary.

Although it's for slightly older readers, pair Ahimsa with Padma Venkatraman's Climbing the Stairs for another view of India's fight for independence.

This book is recommended for readers age 10+
This book was purchased for my personal library
Profile Image for Heidi Burkhart.
2,071 reviews30 followers
June 22, 2020
This would be an excellent book for a MS student to read as a supplemental book in studies of the Indian Freedom Movement in the '40's. It would also be an enjoyable to read if even not for a class study.
Profile Image for Amy C.
137 reviews
July 21, 2022
This middle grade historical fiction was heavy, but about a period in India that I sadly knew little about outside of Gandhi. This book opened my eyes to a time in history I was not aware of and taught me a lot despite it being fictional. The main character is a strong young lady with a lot of growth throughout this book as she has to grow up fast when she has to see the reality of the world outside of her high caste. Very well done.
Profile Image for Heidi.
2,648 reviews54 followers
February 13, 2018
This is a fabulous written, powerfully told story about the independence movement in 1942 India. Anjali is shocked when she learns of her mother's intention to join Gandhiji's non-violent freedom movement. But as she gets involved in her mother's efforts to non-violently fight the British and help the Dalit (untouchable caste in the Hindu caste system) her courage grows and she starts to realize the importance of doing the right thing even when it's hard. Kelkar paints a vivid picture of the harm prejudice can do and the challenges that come with trying to bring change. One of my new favorites.
Profile Image for LitPick Book Reviews.
669 reviews22 followers
September 19, 2018
Ahimsa means nonviolence. That is the main motive for the Freedom Fighters of India. It's the 1940's and the Indians are under British occupation, and the Indians want them out. We follow a girl named Anjali and meet her as she is painting a giant black Q (Quit India) on the side of a British Officer's house. Anjali’s mother used to work for a British Officer as a secretary, but she quit because she was tired of all the British decrees and that the officer wasn't helping Indians who were wrongly accused of crimes against the British.

Anjali's normal life is flipped upside down when her mother joins the freedom movement and burns all of their foreign-made clothes. They also start cleaning their own outhouse and be-friending the "untouchables," or the Dalit community. The untouchables are the people who get the most hate and prejudices because they clean toilets and are seen by others as unclean. Anjali befriends some of the Dalit kids. Her mother and some of the other freedom fighters try to integrate the Dalit children into Anjali's school, which ultimately causes problems for everyone involved.

I liked this book. It was a different kind of story from what I usually read, but that made it memorable. I liked the friendships in the book between people who had different backgrounds. There was some bullying to the main characters, and the violence between the Hindus and Muslims reminded me about what I’ve learned about the Egyptians and Romans and how they fought a lot. This book is a great introduction to cultural diversity, and it also taught me about India's history.

Reviewed by a LitPick student book reviewer, Age 9
Profile Image for Shaye Miller.
1,236 reviews81 followers
September 25, 2018
Ahimsa is the story of Anjali who, at the age of ten, discovers how privileged she is because of the caste system in India. She’s never really questioned the “untouchables” of her society — there are simply people who you must never touch because they have always been the lowest of the low. They just are! Nevertheless, while making comparisons between the British control over India and the caste system within her own culture, Anjali finds herself willing to risk her very life to defend the helpless among her people and reinstate freedom for ALL. Written in such beautiful and descriptive language, Kelkar gives us a glimpse into the past so that we might better understand the connection to what we are currently facing TODAY. I read The Night Diary a few months before I read Ahimsa and they are great companion reads. Each provide a very different perspective of Partition, yet both are important for getting the full picture. For this and more #kidlit, #mglit, and #yalit book reviews, please visit my blog: The Miller Memo.
Profile Image for T’Layne Jones.
87 reviews2 followers
April 21, 2023
Excellent novel for children, teens, and adults. This brings some of the realities of India’s history to life. The story includes the fight for independence from Britain, the hostility between some Hindu and Muslim people, and the entrenched caste system. I liked how the author balanced so many different issues of discrimination, oppression, and bias. It was a deeply complicated situation, and the author didn’t reduce the issues, or provide simple solutions. This would be a great book for a family, or a class at school, to read together. There would be so many opportunities to reflect on and question the choices and actions of the characters in the story. Would be an excellent companion to The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani.
Profile Image for Kim Bahr.
572 reviews4 followers
July 20, 2019
Would be a great companion to the The Night Diary.
Profile Image for Nadine.
1,610 reviews44 followers
July 25, 2019
Indian history pre-independence (1942) cleverly woven into a story of the experiences of one girl and her family.
Suitable for upper primary & middle grade
Profile Image for Mike.
10 reviews
January 28, 2018
I just have the one book to report on this time around. It's called Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar, and it's a historical fiction children's novel about India in the 1940s. It tells the story of 10 year old Anjali, an Indian girl, who, with her family, works to help free India from British rule, as they occupy the country around this time. And while contentions between the British and the people of India rise high, other such contentions among the natives are also pretty heated. The book describes tensions between Hindus and Muslims as well as the people who fall into the different castes that India has. Caught in the conflict, Anjali risks losing those who are important to her; her best friend, who is Muslim, her mother who gets imprisoned for speaking out for what is right, and her friends and neighbors, many of whom frown down upon her when she makes continued efforts to bring in kids from the lowest caste, into her school. The story really helps bring the reader into Anjali's world and allows them to see her struggle for freedom, as well as that of her whole country.

Overall, I thought the story was well written and the author really brought to life each character, particularly the main character. You get a sense of what each character is about and see a bit of character development in some of them. For example, one of the antagonists, Captain Brent, a British officer, has several encounters with Anjali. When we first meet him, he is seen as an apathetic, hard nosed kind of man. Anjali strongly dislikes him in the beginning and the feeling is mutual of him towards her. But as you continue to read, Brent seems to have a change of heart. And while still not appearing to "like" Anjali or any of the people of India, towards the end of the book, you see that he begins to respect her, which is quite a rewarding thing to see from the reader's point of view. And thanks to some basic foreshadowing used by the author, you can see what events led up to this. And this, in turn, sort of helps solidify Anjali's maturity and growth; earning the respect of someone who initially thought very little of her.

So it is a nice story. I read it fairly quickly and was really drawn into the story. Historical fiction generally does this to me, particularly if it's about something that I am interested in, which I am in this case. I think the author could have carried it a bit further as I felt that it ended a bit abruptly. Another chapter or two or an epilogue would have been nice. But for a children's book, it wasn't bad. I give this one a 4 out of 5.
Profile Image for Karina Shah.
47 reviews1 follower
April 17, 2021
The book Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar was a great read and I really enjoyed reading it because it gave me a fascinating glimpse into the world during the Indian Freedom Movement. The story follows Anjali a girl living in India during unfair times. When Gandhi asks one member of each family to participate in fighting for equality Anjali is sure her father with volunteer but it ends up being her mother. Anjali must protect her mom and help fight for equal rights during this tough time. My favorite part of the book was when Anjali starts hanging out with the untouchables, which are people that are really poor in India during that time. I would recommend this book for middle schoolers and above and would really think adults would enjoy this book too. I’d give this book out of five out of five stars.
Profile Image for Julie.
1,387 reviews
February 21, 2018
I was fascinated by this historical novel about India in the mid 1940’s. Told from the perspective of a 10 year old girl whose mother joined the freedom fighters to bring independence from Britain. I was transported into the sights, smells, sounds of life then. I especially liked that there is complexity in trying to help others because those desires don’t always mesh with what the recipients want.
Profile Image for Jessica Bornowski.
50 reviews12 followers
September 30, 2020
Young Anjali is so brave. She makes me want to stand up for what is right! This is the first book I read that takes place in India, and it gave me a new appreciation for what living in the caste system must have been like, and how the revolution against Britain colonization started. Such a great book!
Profile Image for Tanaz.
Author 8 books628 followers
June 4, 2017
A careful and compassionate look into the Indian independence movement. This is a relevant and timely read given current events in India and the world.
Profile Image for Booxoul.
455 reviews26 followers
October 16, 2018
n this tech age, our kids and we have a pool of opportunities awaiting us. We are free to choose a lifestyle we want. We think of our freedom fighters only on national days. What if I told a 10-year-old girl participated in the freedom struggle? It sounds surprising and unbelievable, isn’t it? At an age where not many children are capable of doing things on their own, a 10-year-old girl decides to become the strength of her mother and also participates in the freedom struggle in her own ways. This book Ahimsa written by Supriya Kelkar is a story of a 10-year-old Anjali, a Brahmin whose Mother worked for British Raj, however, had to leave the job given the struggle of freedom that changed lives of many and marks itself as the biggest struggle for freedom in the history of the world.

Ahimsa is a book from a 10 yr old’s perspective. Set in the year 1940s during India’s struggle for freedom. Her world is secure and happy because of her being from the privileged caste. Anjali and her best friend, have no care in the world. The innocence of their childhood is visible in the way they happily celebrate each other’s festivals.

When Anjali’s mother leaves her job at Capt, Brent, Anjali’s happy world falls apart. Anjali believes that her mother is fired from her work and decides to find out why given her attention to detail and reasoning. When she doesn’t get satisfactory answers, she and her partner in crime Irfan, vandalize the British property. Soon she comes to know that her mother is going to be a freedom fighter which is the reason why she has quit her job. It is indeed difficult for a child to understand why her mother is doing what she is doing however it doesn’t take her long to start supporting her mother. She resonates with her mother about her limitations as a child while participating in the freedom fight and hence decides to take up teaching. She notices the difference in behavior towards the untouchables and starts imparting education to them.
I think this book doesn’t restrict itself to being a children’s book. It is fast paced and suits all age groups. While you are reading the book you are taken back to the era to experience what freedom struggle really was. Your heart definitely goes out to all those people who were at war then. As a society, we still have differences based on caste creed and color. We still have a section of society that treats some people as untouchables. The plight of untouchables was unimaginable then. We have definitely evolved and grown as a nation, however, I personally feel that we still need to free ourselves from certain societal barriers and unlock our contradicting thought process and be more open to change.
The narration is smooth and very easy to understand. Author has done a very good job of weaving characters beautifully into the book. The Character, I most like is Mohan. The raw emotions he exuded were very potent and I was moved to tears many times. This book is a definite read for Kids and Young Adults. I am sure, even adults would enjoy this book.

I give it 4/5
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787 reviews28 followers
October 28, 2018
Authored by "Supriya Kelker" @supriya.kelkar inspired from her own Grand Ma 's life experiences from the freedom struggle days , this book from the perspective of a 10 year old girl born and brought up in Brahmin family , taught to disregard backward/ lower community & classes , wear foreign made dresses in the backdrops of 1942 , the famous Indian struggle for independence under the leadership of MK Gandhi when her own mother quits her British govt based job to contribute in the independence movement , learning to judge herself if she is taught wrong and what needs to be done , is a heart wrenching educational fiction that is effective in making its mark in the hearts of modern kids of today 's world .
It is an empowering tale that shows naked truth of caste system which still sadly exists through the eyes of a young kid .The way Anjali develops understanding of patriotism by experiencing herself the struggle of her fellow people under the foreign power eventually , shows us this book aims to tell children of now to hail the ideals of equality , compassion, fraternity for all citizens irrespective of caste , creed and religion. This is a sure thing to be cherished not only by a single group but all age groups equally.

Absolutely Beautiful hardcover book of 308 pages with big nice font size and smooth easy narration that makes this a commendable work of the Author
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