“The Secret Diary of Kasturba” by Neelima Dalmia Adhar is a story about Kasturba Gandhi. The book sheds light upon the lesser-known aspects of Kasturba’s life, which history usually ignores. Initially written in English and published by Westland last year, the book was released in Hindi on August 9 at Oxford Bookstore, Delhi.
The book lays bare to tell the world what it meant to be Kasturba Gandhi. It speaks about unconditional love, passion, marriage and the ultimate liberation that every woman seeks. Talking about “The Secret Diary of Kasturba” being translated to Hindi, Gautam Padmanabhan, CEO of Westland, said, “”The Secret Diary of Kasturba” has been one of the biggest books for us last year and it was only natural for us to get it translated into Hindi in collaboration with Yatra Books. In fact, other language editions of “The Secret Diary of Kasturba” are also in the pipeline.”
The book release event was graced by Chinna Dua singing the Bhajan Vaishnav Vachana and with that auspicious start her husband, newscaster Vinod Dua read out a passage from the book before asking questions to the author regarding her writing. Neelima spoke on how she was approached with the idea of the book in 2002 by Namita Ghokale, just as she’d finished her book “Father Dearest”.
Heady on fame and bizarre family things, the author thought the prospect sounded dull at first. But now, she’s more than grateful that Namita didn’t take the idea to anyone else. Neelima believes that every book is “predetermined” and comes to life when it’s meant to. The idea germinated for years before she actually put it down and she felt strongly connected to Kasturba. “The more I heard her voice, the more I heard her cry and I knew I had to recreate this character history had forgotten,” she said.
On being asked if she thought Kasturba was the stereotypical, long-suffering Indian woman, Neelima clearly said that she tried hard not to make her a stereotype. She had researched Kasturba carefully, to know who she was and did not want to get the facts wrong.
Neelima also spoke on the difficulties Kasturba must have endured in her marital life. Kasturba was a strong, passionate woman with a strong husband whom she had to obey. She spent years away from him while he was in South Africa and had to deal with his decision of celibacy and his being associated with several other women.
“There is no greater assault than emotional atyachar “, the author said during the launch. “I think the whole of Kasturba’s life, even though she had long moments of pleasure with her husband, is a life of tragedy… The ones who are married to iconic men, to deal with the ordinariness of an extraordinary men– that is the greatest challenge.”