By Gagan Bakshi:
I am a working Indian woman but let me use the term ‘girl’, if a young, independent and single woman should be termed so.
So, after following Chetan Bhagat’s conversation with Nehmat Kaur from The Wire, and hearing reviews about “One Indian Girl” from my friends, I finally decided to start reading it. I usually resist buying books that propagate the saga of gospel truths probably because I have no patience dealing with unrealistic view of things. But I decided to give this a read anyway.
Now I am usually not disturbed with people’s opinions on things, in fact, I respect their opinion. But, this book has been claimed by the author to be a feminist book, that too from a woman’s perspective. How and why would one do that? Aren’t we all happy reading his dreamy, larger than life books? Anyway, obliging to the woman in me, and because it’s written for my gender from my gender’s perspective, it’s my duty to clear off some of these beliefs.
I’m half through the novel, and I have no patience to bear with it further. The book starts with a prologue:
“To all Indian girls especially the ones who dare to dream and live life on their own terms.”
The sympathy that this book offers to an Indian girl, who’s fighting for her reality every single day, can she really find solace in its unworthy pages because clearly, patriarchy exists. It exists everywhere in this book, be it through Radhika’s mother, promulgating how a woman should behave in the ways that society defines for us.
“One Indian Girl” is not one man’s thinking, it’s a thinking of millions who think they are equipped enough to deliver sermons on how a woman should think and react. Let me be clear, this book from the very start, nowhere reflects the perspective of an independent woman. A woman like Radhika, who has built her own castle, will have the agency to speak her mind and snatch her rights. Let me put this easy for you, a woman who dares to dream is daring right? So she will live life on her own terms no matter how much she’s pursued to give in.
But I get that we all are living in a society that’s too naive to touch chords with the deeper reality and face the truth. This book is just doing fine if it doesn’t wave the flag of feminism.
This book has shaken me. It’s a mirror to the petty minds of people, both men and women, who fear equality and justice, those who’ve negotiated with this way of life and are too stubborn to give up their beliefs. “One Indian Girl” is not a feminist novel, written from a woman’s perspective. To the reader, I’d only say, more patience to you.