Mahatma Gandhi would not have become ‘Mahatma’ without the support of his wife Kasturba, the author of a new book on Kasturba’s life with the Indian independence movement’s preeminent leader has said.
Neelima Dalmia Adhar latest book “The Secret Diary of Kasturba” is a fictionalised account of Kasturba’s life with Gandhi.
The book was unveiled at the third annual IAAC (Indo-American Arts Council) Literary Festival in the city last week after being showcased in India on October 2, the birth anniversary of Gandhi.
“My Kasturba wants to make the point to the women of today that they should stick to their convictions. Your convictions are your religion, do not lose them,” Adhar told PTI here.
“I think it is very relevant in this day and age where we are so riddled with these evils of society. We are riddled by factionalism, terrorism, by senseless violence all over the world. The basic tenet that applies to every single quarter of the globe is that you have to have the conviction, you have to have that truthfulness to yourself and if you are true to yourself then nothing should be able to shake that,” she said
The message that Kasturba as the central character of a new book is giving to the women is that they should stick to their convictions and have the “truthfulness” to oneself, Adhar said.
Adhar, whose past works are “Father Dearest” and “Merchants of Death”, said Kasturba was put through “a lot of tests.
She really took life’s knocks” but it was her conviction that gave her the strength to lead the life that she did and emerge as the strong woman standing with and behind Mahatma, Adhar said.
“In a way Kasturba is the foundation and pillar of Gandhi’s sainthood because she allowed him to be what he wanted to be. I believe that Gandhi would not have been the Mahatma (great soul) had Kasturba not been with him,” Adhar said.
She said through her book, she wants to send the underlying message of being true to oneself and not to lose one’s convictions to the world’s youth.
“I believe that if the world is going to change, the youth are going to do it. We are leaving the world to them, and it will rest upon their shoulders how they want to take it forward,” she said.
Adhar said Kasturba emerged as the inspiration for her book as she was looking for a woman character around the pre-independence and independence era and she liked “the idea of Kasturba.”
“There is realms and realms of stuff about Gandhi but not so much about Kasturba. I felt that history, India and the world has not done justice to her,” Adhar said, adding that there is so much more to Kasturba than the “devoted, servile, dormant woman” that she is perceived and projected as.
“I believe we owe Kasturba a debt of gratitude and as women, even more strongly,” Adhar added.
Adhar said as she was researching for the book, what struck her most about Kasturba is the “mother-father-son conflict where she is being pulled in all directions. That must have wrenched her heart,” Adhar said.
She cited Albert Einstein’s famous quote made on the occasion of Mahatma’s 70th birth anniversary that the future generations will hardly believe a man such as Gandhi ever walked the face of Earth.
She, however, added that Gandhi did not walk alone.
“There was this other person with him, his shadow, his alter ego, his other half who walked the path with him, took all the knocks that he took and also the knocks that he gave her. Kasturba deserves a place in that hallowed wall of fame as much as Gandhi,” she said.