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Book Review - The Last Suttee byMadhu B. Wangu

The Last Suttee - Madhu Bazaz Wangu

Our Beck Valley Book Review - The Last Suttee byMadhu B. Wangu
'a powerful read that pulls at your heart'

"This story was a fascinating read, the Indian culture, traditions and beliefs pour from the pages so effortlessly, yet it was also emotional in parts when your eyes are opened by the author through this fictional tale, on how some small parts of India still live and think today. The author has shown great strength and bravery to bring such controversial subjects to readers outside of India.

The story is set around Kumud, a selfless lady who runs an orphanage for girls and her life's mission is to help those in need. Having grown up in Neela Nagar, Kumud knows only too well what the future holds for these girls without any help given to them. In parts of India women are treated as second class citizens in every sense, why would they need education when their only purpose is to serve and provide domestic duties to their family and then husbands. What is worse is that if their husband was to die, they are seen as a threat to her husbands family, if they don't escape the only choice they have is the fear of living like a slave or commit Suttee.

'It's a women's nature not to think too deeply.' - the Elder 

Suttee is an outlawed ritual in India when a widow would cremate herself along with her dead husband, in the belief that they will stay together in heaven and guarantee a place in heaven for several generations. She fears what her life will be like and feels this is her only way out. This brings great awareness to the small town she belongs too and generates many benefits to the town. Although this has been banned, some small villages who have deep installed beliefs still practice it today.

Kumud's past haunts her and when she receives a phone call from her old town telling her another Suttee could take place she has no option but to return and do all she can to stop it from happening. Can the people of Neela Nagar begin to change and see the ancient tradition of Suttee in Neela Nagar stopped or are those beliefs to deeply rooted?

A tremendous amount of research, travel, interviews and dedication by the author has brought this astounding story to life. A story that gave me shivers in places and in others put a smile on my face, a thought provoking, powerful read that pulls at your heart, hopefully this awareness can bring changes to century old traditions and practices."

Read more on the #book and author here...

Book Description
"You must come at once if you want to stop the suttee from happening again...” This phone message summons Kumud Kuthiyala back to Neela Nagar, the blue town of her youth, and the shackled life she thought she had left behind forever...

As a nine-year-old, Kumud witnessed the brutal and horrifying suttee ritual when her beloved aunt immolated herself on the burning pyre of her dead husband. Years later, Kumud summoned the courage to escape the isolated and primitive town of her youth to start a new life in Ambayu, a metropolitan city. She began as office help at Save Girls Soul Orphanage Center and progressed to become its director. At SGSO Center, she becomes a warrior for women’s education and equal rights. She teaches young women to protect themselves from outmoded practices and rituals that victimize women.

Then a phone call informs Kumud that the suttee of a sixteen-year-old is inevitable. She has vowed that she will never let it happen again. Still haunted by her aunt’s suttee, she leaves everything behind, including her love, Shekhar Roy, to end the barbaric custom that scarred her for life, and to save the young bride from committing suttee.

As Kumud travels back to the town of her youth, long-buried memories resurface and force her to remember the life from which she fled. The town that greets her is full of contradictions. It has electricity and clean water, and a new school is open to low castes, yet superstition and prejudice abound. How can she convince the town that their centuries-old tradition is cruel and barbaric, that a widowed young woman deserves the right to live? Can she change the minds of the townspeople and the Five Elders before it’s too late?

Source: http://beckvalleybooks.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/book-review-last-suttee-by-madhu-wangu.html