Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Book Review--> The Temple Is Not My Father by Rasana Atreya

Title and Author: The Temple Is Not My Father by Rasana Atreya
Print Length: 46 Pages
Publication Date: July 2014
Language: English
Genre: Rituals & Practices, Literary Fiction

Book Review:
Godavari lives with her daughter in a small house. A normal looking woman, she loves her daughter Sreeja. Sreeja has so many questions like why no one comes to there house?
Why do the villagers avoid and taunt them?
Why she is not allowed to go to school and why no one plays with her?
But amidst all these childhood queries lies the main and haunting question.
Who is Sreeja's father?
Is the temple her father since Godavari is married to the temple Goddess Yellamma?

I loved the cover of the book and with the unusual title, I was instantly attracted to read the book.

A heartrendingly poignant story, The Temple Is Not My Father brings out the sad and often ignored plight of the Devadasis in India.

An age old tradition that has turned ugly and exploits many helpless women where they are pushed by their parents or guardians and forced to serve the sexual appetites of men, Rasana brings out their feeling of hopelessness, distress and helplessness.

Godavari was too small when she was pushed into this life. Unable to understand the turn that her life had taken then, she wants to protect her daughter at all costs and give her a normal life but how can she?

With no education, no money, no friends and family she is alone. Rasana beautifully showcased Godavari's plight who symbolizes the many other women like her who have no means to come out of this dark pit and make an honorable life for themselves. I admired Godavari's strength and perseverance to protect her daughter. The difficulties and soul crushing atrocities she has faced could have easily crushed her will but she has not given up and is determined to fight for what is good for her child. Sreeja is a sweet girl and made me wish fervently for her safety and for a better future for her.

But the person I admired most was Godavari's mother. You will know why when you read the book.

The role of society, social services and friends and family is expertly shown by the author. It was enlightening to read about the roles they play in either saving or drowning a person. If society is kind and supportive to women like Godavari isn't it possible that this system would stop eventually? If the social services are determined to help such women isn't it possible that they will be saved?

The two neighborhood girls who try and break the societal norms set for people like Godavari and the struggles they face in turn is so true and another reason why even those people who know how wronged these women are don't come forward.

A short story but one that shocks you, breaks your heart and forces you to take action, this story leaves the reader thoughtful. This being my first book by Rasana, I am really impressed with her writing style which is simple and yet so engaging. She is not afraid to write on topics that have gone sub consciously accepted for generations and gives her opinion of these practices without bias.

I read this book at night before going to bed but after finishing it I was crying my eyes out and very distressed. I felt angry, devastated and hurt. It is so difficult to be in the shoes of such women and write about their lives which is worlds apart from our own but Rasana has done a noteworthy job and given a book that is concise but packs a punch.

Are there happy endings for people like Godavari? Read the book to know.

I want to read more about Godavari and her daughter. Maybe they will feature again in one of Rasana's book (I just wish they do.). Kudos to the author for a book well written, I wish her the best and hope to read more from her in the future.

5 on 5 to The Temple Is Not My Father and I strongly recommend that you read this soul searching book. A change needs just one person to start. As Mahatma Gandhi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." I hope we be the start to the decline of the Devadasi practice and the empowerment of women.

Buy From: Amazon | Amazon IN

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