“The book will also ensure a balanced view towards gender which is vital in today’s India, making it necessary for parents and educators.”

 

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

The title says it all. Garima Kushwaha writes a biography of iconic Indian women whose names run from A to Z – though it must be pointed out that X is slightly forced since that is where the names run out and the author explains the concept behind the book.

For children, not necessarily girls, the slim book is a brightly coloured update into the lives of many women whom they may not have encountered. Tuntun the comedienne for example, the first of her kind to break into the male dominated world of Hindi films. Or Queenie Rynjah from Meghalaya or Wahida Prism Khan, the first woman from Jammu and Kashmir to join the Indian navy and join the medical corps. The biographies are short around 500 words each and the focus is on how none of these women had it easy ending with the feisty Zora Saigal who was a 102 when she bowed out of life and her career. Accompanied by attractive illustrations, the book has worksheets for children, encouraging essays and a focus on how women can become anything they want if they only try hard enough.

One might quibble with the list and come up with other names but the protagonists span the 20th and 21st centuries, instead of taking refuge in history and citing Rani Lakshmibai and the other usual suspects. Thus ensuring that children are aware that these pathbreaking women are very much part of the present.

The book will also ensure a balanced view towards gender which is vital in today’s India, making it necessary for parents and educators.

 

Reviewed by:

Anjana Basu

Added 12th May 2019

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Anjana Basu