Title: Written On The Wind
Author: Anuradha Kumar-Jain
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Genre: Literary Fiction, Romance
First Publication: 2020
Book Summary: Written On The Wind by Anuradha Kumar-Jain
Set in pre-partition Lahore, from the turn of the century to the time of independence, this is the story of two women, both strong and willing to challenge the limits of the acceptable, but in their own way and under very different circumstances.
Harjeet, belonging to a well-respected landlord family of Punjab, is married to Gautam, from an equally prominent Khatri family of Lahore. Deeply dissatisfied with her life, harjeet enters into a passionate affair with Haider, a Muslim. The book explores their relationship against the backdrop of the growing Hindu-Muslim divide, and the politically turbulent times they are living in.
The other protagonist, amiya, born out of wedlock to a British Army Officer and a Brahmin girl, is married at nineteen to Ishwar Chand, a Clerk at the Postal Department in Lahore. The narrative follows her troubled marriage, and struggle to become financially independent, her coming of age as a writer, and the unlikely friendship she develops with Gautam. It chronicles the choices she must make, and the secret she must live with.
Author Anuradha Jain provides a powerful account of desire, love, society and politics, and takes a probing look at the struggles and aspirations of a nation and its people.
Book Review: Written On The Wind by Anuradha Kumar-Jain
Written On The Wind by Anuradha Kumar-Jain is a very emotional story and at times painful to read because you see the characters that are good people going through horrible circumstances and become so lost that they don’t even know who they are anymore. It’s a story about loss, loneliness, love and guilt and all you wish for is that the characters get the happy ending they deserve.
The novel focuses on the life of two women – Harjeet and Amiya – who come from different walks of life. Harjeet, a smart, confident and strong girl from a well-respected landlord family in Punjab. She’s married to Gautam who belongs to equally prominent Khatri family in Lahore. Harjeet isn’t happy with Gautam and she fell in love with a Muslim guy Haider. The story is set in pre-partition period of India.
Amiya, on the other hand is the illegitimate daughter of a British army officer and a Brahmin girl. She faces a lot of social problems and rejection but she is headstrong and the real hero of the story. She is also trapped in a troubled marriage with a clerk at the postal department in Lahore named Ishwar Chand. Amiya develops unlikely friendship with Gautam and then the story revolves around the choices she makes, and the secret she must live with.
The characters in the book struggle for their survival in a harsh and obstinate society: They are wounded, their relationships get tough and secretive; despite all this, they stick together, which is something I admired. But the best part about this book is the way Harjeet and Amiya show relentless pursuit and resilience and face all obstacles, especially considering how women were treated in that time- it filled me with pride and I was in love with their headstrongness.
I was hooked, right from the first chapter. This book was pretty much like a rollercoaster- I felt a surge of emotions- anger, remorse and joy coursing through my veins with every passing chapter and I kept turning the pages to know more and before I had an inkling about it, I was done. The story was enticing, the narration was flawless. Written On The Wind was an extraordinary, contemporary, social document covering Indian history from pre-partition to the time of Independence. The violence that ensued from this period in time resulted in the inevitable violence towards women.
Anuradha Kumar-Jain’s writing is superb; she uses metaphors and similes in a way that is never jarring and really creates atmosphere. After reading ‘Written On The Wind’ I immediately want to pick up her other books because this novel has instilled a kind of trust in me, but this is her debut novel and I feel like I would love whatever she’ll write. The way she deals with such serious topics and still manages to bring smile on face with her words is fantastic.
Poignant, stunning, and impossibly heart wrenching, Written On The Wind by Anuradha Kumar-Jain was one of the most meaningful books I’ve read recently because it embodies all the themes and values regarding gender identity and disparity that has been much debated by society for a long time. It reminds that in a world full of prejudice, there is still beauty. That in a world full of hatred, there is still selflessness. That in a world full of suffering, there is still hope.