‘The Secret Diary of Kasturba’ is the name of a book by Neelima Dalmia Adhar, daughter of RK Dalmia, who was also the speaker of the session with Sundeep Bhutoria. This is the third book of Dalmia but her first book was the most controversial one called Daddy, Dearest. Her second book was called Merchants of Death.
The session started with Sundeep asking about the reason behind the choice of subject for her third book which is based on the life of Kasturba Gandhi. Dalmia responded that Kasturba Gandhi someone who is never really talked about.There is little or no information about her life. Dalmia also went on to say that there is so much misinformation about her. In the movie Gandhi, Kasturba is presented as a puppet who comes in one scene and is absent in another but the reality was much more different, she says. One of the books which helped her break notions was Arun Gandhi’s(Grandson of Gandhi) book called The Forgotten Woman.
This book gives many contrary revelations like Kasturba was a year older than Gandhi, she was the only sister of four brothers and she was very fiery and passionate. But these traits may not have caught one’s attention because of Gandhi’s overpowering personality.
Albert Einstein once said about Gandhi-‘Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth’. This made Dalmia think and sad that it was not only him who walked on earth, it was also his wife who was equally involved in making his life great. This made her write about that voice of Gandhi’s wife which saw Gandhi not as the father of nation but as her husband, the father of her children.
Talking about children, Dalmia also talked about her father-daughter relation, there were many controversial questions raised about her father’s life but she answered them all with a poised face.She also talked about her childhood as a rebel in a sexist house.However, she also found Kasturba in her mother who was the sixth and the last wife of her father. She said that her father was very tyrannical among his wives. She has also written in her book about how he tortures his wives in his bedroom.
She says that she doesn’t hesitate to write boldly about the issues which are generally shied away from.Talking about sex, she says that one of the reasons girls are raped and sexually harassed in our country is because of the shame associated with sex. Sex is one of the drivers of human behaviour and one needs to acknowledge this. It is only when Indian men openly talk about and come to terms with sex, can our society live without fear and awkwardness.
About the Author – Kalpita is a Bachelor in English Literature. Her ultimate goal is to fulfill the romantic notion
of changing the world for better and she is pursuing MA in Development from Azim Premji University, Bangalore. She currently writes for Bookstalkist.