Published by Harper Collins India
Born into the first family of Indian politics, Nayantara Sahgal is one of India’s finest writers. Novelist, political commentator, memoirist and essayist, she is unique for having portrayed India’s post-Independence development in everything she wrote. Her circumstances made her keenly aware of the power relations that inform every facet of life, while her political columns marked her as one of the most perceptive writers to follow the evolution of democracy and politics in the country – from its promise of equality and freedom from want to its present crisis of credibility. Though she turned her back on what many thought was a natural choice for her – a career in politics – she remained interested in matters of state. Her criticism of her cousin, Indira Gandhi, during the Emergency earned her the extreme displeasure of India’s most powerful woman at the time.
But her passion for freedom kept her undeterred and she refused to be silenced. In her personal life too, she risked scandal and censure when she chose to walk out of her marriage at a time when a divorced woman was considered a social embarrassment – and in her case, a political liability.
Ritu Menon’s biography is the first wide-ranging, authorized one of this important writer, based on first-hand information, lengthy interviews, private papers, thousands of letters, and archival documents.
Read Ritu Menon’s Essay online in The Caravan: http://www.caravanmagazine.in/essay/voice-dissent
Ritu Menon is a feminist publisher; the author, with Kamla Bhasin, of Borders & Boundaries: Women in India’s Partition; and the editor of numerous anthologies of fiction and poetry by women. She lives in Delhi.