Rating: 4.6 /5
Author: Sudha Murthy
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Penguin India
Publication Date: 17 September 2007 (Latest edition)
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Cost: Rs. 121 (Kindle edition)
Anupama looked into the mirror and shivered with shock. A small white patch had now appeared on her arm.’ Anupama’s fairy tale marriage to Anand falls apart when she discovers a white patch on her foot and learns that she has leukoderma. Abandoned by her uncaring in-laws and insensitive husband, she is forced to return to her father’s home in the village. The social stigma of a married woman living with her parents, her stepmother’s continual barbs and the ostracism that accompanies her skin condition force her to contemplate suicide. Determined to rebuild her life against all odds, Anupama goes to Bombay where she finds success, respect and the promise of an enduring friendship. Mahashweta is an inspiring story of courage and resilience in a world marred by illusions and betrayals. This poignant tale offers hope and solace to the victims of the prejudices that govern society even today.
This novel deals with the social stigma of leukoderma, a man’s love for beauty, a girl who weighs by her beauty but not by her emotions.
The word Mahashweta stands for a lot of things in the book. It represents the beautiful girl who can’t live without her lover. It stands for the white flowers of the parijata, which led to Anupama meeting her husband for the first time. It also stands for the small white patch of disease on Anupama’s otherwise flawless skin. Finally, it also symbolises the purity of Anupama’s love for her husband.
The book highlights the stigmas that exist in our society to this day. Discarding a person based on external appearance and ruining lives because of superstitious beliefs are still rampant in Indian society.
Public knowledge about vitiligo is quite vast these days. People understand that it is a cosmetic disease. The disease is not contagious, not has it been proved that it is hereditary. Many people have more serious diseases and get married off easily because these diseases do not happen to leave external proof.
Simplicity is a speciality of Sudha Murty's writing and that's how she highlighted a sensitive issue in such a beautiful way & explain to us how important is Girl's education in India.
About the Author:
Sudha Murthy was born in 1950 in Shiggaon in north Karnataka. She did her MTech in computer science and is now the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. A prolific writer in English and Kannada, she has written novels, technical books, travelogues, collections of short stories and non-fictional pieces and four books for children. Her books have been translated into all the major Indian languages. Sudha Murty was the recipient of the R.K. Narayan Award for Literature and the Padma Shri in 2006 and the Attimabbe Award from the government of Karnataka for excellence in Kannada literature in 2011.