Title: Freedom of the Monsoon
Author: Malika Gandhi
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: 2012
Format Read: Kindle
“Back of Book” Summary:
“From a village in 1947 India, five individuals struggle against the Quit India movement. Each with a story of their own. Rakesh, a brave freedom fighter, determined to make India a better place faces execution by the hands of the British Raj. Pooja, a girl whose life is altered after a rape attack, marries into an abusive arranged marriage to an older man with children of his own. Plunged into despair, she fights back for a better life.
Dev, a troubled young man is disturbed by the decision his brother Rakesh took. Little was he aware the impact it would have on his future. Amit fell in love with the wrong woman, a white Memsahib – but she has secrets, something that would take everything away from him. Sunil, a man in love is forced to grow up when his close ones are faced with their struggles. Can he help them? Will he understand why it is happening? Five lives, five stories. Death and sacrifice is knocking on India’s doors. The British Raj has to go; the Indians must have their country back. Re-live the determination that dwelled in the hearts of the natives as they fought hard and long. Follow the five individuals as they faced fear, love, sacrifice and anger.”
Dawn broke and India witnessed a new revolution: Gandhi. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. His strong, forceful words spread to the North, the South, to the East and to the West. ‘Free India’.
This is the first novel I’ve read that takes place in India. I don’t think I could have picked a better book to introduce me to the time period or the Indian revolution. Filled with descriptions of Indian clothing, language, food, and customs, the cultural imagery in this book was incredible. The book details the lives of several men and women as they struggle through tough times and (several of them) fight for the Quit India Movement, the movement towards Indian independence from Great Britain. The author, Malika Gandhi, was born and raised in Mumbai, India and now lives in England. Although Malika married a Gandhi, she has no family relation to the Mahatma Gandhi of the Quit India Movement that is so highly regarded as a national hero in this novel. Malika’s Amazon.com biography says, “after reading numerous books and watching films on the devastation the Quit India Movement brought about, Malika wanted to show the ‘human’ side of the Independence era. She wanted to show the effects of the movement in everyday life, getting away from the politics. Freedom of the Monsoon is set in 1940’s India and shows the story from five points of view.”
This is not a happy book. It is actually rather sad. India did win its independence. However, it shattered many lives in the process and divided the country into Hindu-India and Muslim-Pakistan. Although Gandhi advocated for non-violent resistance, not everyone agreed with that approach. This book illustrates how tough life was for many people under British rule but also during the movement for independence. I rate this book 3 Feathers and would recommend it, especially to anyone interested in Indian culture or this time period. The book contains almost 200 Hindustani words with a glossary in the back of the book. I loved this addition to the story and this is a great example of an Indian cultural element added to the novel. However, in the Kindle version of this book these words are hyper-linked to the glossary and when returning back to the page you are reading there are major formatting issues.
Visit Malika’s blog: http://malikagandhi.wordpress.com/