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British Rulers Commodifying Women
How many of us have come across the gory realities of human trafficking in the pre independence era? The deafening shrieks of such hapless women remain unheard in their own land thus far.
How many of us have come across the gory realities of human trafficking in the pre independence era? The deafening shrieks of such hapless women remain unheard in their own land thus far. There have been thousands of gut wrenching and blood curdling stories which surely need to be brought into light.
Therefore here comes the significant role of an eminent feminist Indian author Dr Harmeet Kaur Bhalla who pertinently remarks that during the course of her everyday life, she comes across several heart-rending incidents of rapes, suicides and acid attacks. To particularly highlight the predicament of female victims at the hands of our atrocious British rulers, she narrates a ghastly tale in her latest book " She Will Move Mountains" which sends chills down our spines.
"Shimla the Summer Capital of the Britishers from 1864 becomes the backdrop of this narrative where hundreds of girls have played the roles of wives, concubines, keeps and slaves. The English enjoyed the Indian weather as well as the Indian women. Owing to their barbarism, the victim women were left ,pregnant diseased and dying.
Dr Harmeet Kaur Bhalla's first novel of the trilogy series 'She Will Move Mountains' unfolds in 1945. It depicts the relentless struggle and success of the female protagonist Miranda. A beautiful girl from London travels to be the savour of her friend but she skids into a state of shock when she reaches the given address House Number 24 Baker Street. Here the demonic destiny has its own nefarious design as she herself falls into an impenetrable trap.
Warding off the overwhelming crisis, she forges a romantic bond of love with Yogeshwar and together they resolve to extricate thousands of innocent girls out of the quagmire as they keep languishing in the dark dungeons of the world of prostitution.Miranda also jumps into the Indian Independence movements and thousands of women get mobilized with her indomitable spirit and phenomenal clout.
Consequently, her fame spreads far and wide and she is adorned with the title of 'An English Girl In India'. The Ridge and the mountains of Shimla stand as a testimony to Miranda's saga of daunting struggle,supreme sacrifice and eventual triumph. Dwelling on the tyrannical British regime, the novel is resplendent with the historical perspectives wherein the readers garner a fair glimpse of how the Indian females running chaklas ( brothels) supported the English closely.
Exploring its historical dynamic further, the book makes sensitive endeavors to dig out the immoral clandestine tales of smut and sordidness screaming for revelation from behind the closed doors. It borders over a period spanning three generations. Living up to her philanthropic streak, the chief protagonist settles down and establishes a home for unwed mothers on Baker Street Shimla.
Miranda emerges as an epitome of devotion and dedication. Her son Nishant does not lag behind in rendering his unstinting support to his mother in her noble cause. The novel reaches it culmination with a note of intense suspense as Nishant's wife seems to have disappeared with their driver. It seems the suspense will vanish in its upcoming part on which the author is painstakingly working these days. As a romantic suspense fiction the book keeps the readers fully engrossed with its well structured plot.
A pat on the back of the novelist as she seems to have a flair for delineating life like characters who grow with the ever growing plot and cut much ice with readers. Undoubtedly 'women empowerment' has become a catch phrase all across the globe but the real success can only be achieved if more and more writings of this sort are produced by the spunky feminists authors like Dr Bhalla.
( Prof ShIv Sethi is a freelance Columnist and Literary Critic.)