Hello Book Nerds!
It’s November already! Reminds me that I should go and study for my exams. Before I do that, I have another book to share with you guys. I read Kali’s Daughter by Raghav Chandra along with We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal.
Keep reading to know my thoughts about the book!
Book Title: Kali’s Daughter
Author: Raghav Chandra
Total Number of Pages: 356
Publication Date: 16th September 2019
A book about caste and courage set in the elite Indian Administrative and Foreign Services. On a chilly November morning in Geneva, Deepika Thakur prepares to address the United Nations Human Rights Council. Despite her personal experience of oppression as a Dalit woman, she must claim that the Indian government remains firmly committed to eradicating castebased discrimination in the country. As echoes of humiliation and atrocities flood her memory, Deepika is transported back in time, to almost six years ago, when she became the first member of her family to be selected for the Indian Civil Services. She had moved from Bhopal, her home town, to the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie, to prepare for a career as a civil servant. It was here that she met Aman, an uppercaste Brahmin, and Vijay, a fellow Dalit. Both relationships defined by caste and class politics, Deepika had found herself in the crosshairs of an ancient history built on inequality and prejudice. Yet, as a diplomat from India’s Foreign Service, she must deny caste, and the fact that India’s fractured society, despite its apparent modernization and progress, remains stuck in the middle ages. Her father’s words come back to haunt her: ‘When you cannot fight the system, you must endure.’ Will Deepika fight? Will she endure? What will she say to the Human Rights Council? How will she represent India to the rest of the world?
In case you haven’t read my review of We Hunt The Flame, you can read it here.
We are not unfamiliar with the caste system in India. Raghav Chandra’s Kali’s Daughter discusses this issue through the female lead protagonist, Deepika Thakur, a Dalit woman and a civil servant. More often than not, her caste becomes her identity. As she prepares herself to address the United Nations Human Rights Council, she has to present her country in a good light and deny the issue of caste-based discrimination claiming that the Indian government is working towards its eradication.
Growing up in a Dalit family, she is very familiar with the oppressive way she and her family has been treated. As a Diplomat from the Indian Foreign Services, she must defend her country even though she is all too aware of the reality. ‘When you cannot fight the system, you must endure’, Deepika’s father used to say. What will be her choice? Will she speak up or endure a fractured system?
I really loved the tone of the novel. A tough topic has been dealt with humour without diminishing the seriousness of the issue. Another thing which I loved about the book is Deepika’s character. I rarely come across books where male authors actually portrays female characters well. That’s a feat. Kudos to you Chandra! From describing Deepika’s emotions to using that slight stream-of-consciousness writing style to highlight her mental agony, Deepika is a strong and vibrant woman.
There isn’t much to say about the plot or the story so, I’ll just keep this review short. There are two other characters who play an important role in this book, Aman and Vijay. This book doesn’t get too political which I liked. Raghav Chandra gives an insight into the harsh reality of being a civil servant and serves the truth as it is all the while highlighting the social issues.
I loved the narration. Deepika shines throughout the novel and I could connect to her. She is a well-developed character and not just the author’s mouthpiece. Kali’s Daughter also discusses other social issues through its sub-plots. Although there’s no definitive concluding voice, it’s up to the readers to draw their own conclusions.
After a series of half-baked novels, I guess I finally found a good one!
If you are someone who enjoys socio-political novels with strong female leads, Kali’s Daughter is for you. In fact, I would recommend Kali’s Daughter to everyone out there.
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Have you read any political novels? Let me know if you have any recommendations 💜🌸
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4 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: ‘KALI’S DAUGHTER’ WRITTEN BY RAGHAV CHANDRA”
That sounds like such an interesting book! I’ve heard a little about this system, but I didn’t realize how much it’s still woven into society in India. It’s always nice to hear that a male author is able to portray a female character well. Thanks for your review!
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Yes, caste-based discrimination is still prevalent in modern India but it is not as bad as it used to be. It’s still there but it is mostly concentrated in the villages and the small towns. With the government policies which allows reservations for lower caste people, they are now coming forward and working in reputable positions. There was a time when people used to wash their hands if they accidentally touched a person from a lower case.
I was so happy to find a book where a male author had done justice to the female protagonist!
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I’m glad to hear that progress is being made, both in caste-based discrimination and in men being able to successfully write female characters!