Summary of EASA February Book Club Meeting

Summary of EASA February Book Club Meeting

Our guest author for February was Aruna Chakravarti, a well known academic and creative writer. She spoke about her book ‘Daughters of Jorasanko’, a sequel to her earlier book ‘Jorasanko’, a novel based on the lives of the women of the illustrious house of the Tagores of Jorasanko. Aruna explained that ‘Jorasanko’ covers the period from 1859, when the feisty first ‘modern woman’ of Bengal Jnanadanandini came to the mansion as a seven year old bride, to 1902 the year of the Rabindranath’s wife Mrinalini’s death.

The author explained that although the historical facts were real and based on actual events, the stories were created in order to weave a narrative around the Tagore household. The sequel, ‘Daughters of Jorasanko’ takes up the story from 1902 onwards and the author traces the lives of the poet’s daughters, daughter-in-law, cousins and nieces. In her words, it not only maps the histories of the unknown women of the Tagore family in the aftermath of the Bengal Renaissance but also looks at the poet’s own life and the way he saw those events; his fears, his flaws, his grappling with societal expectations and his self doubts through the twilight years of the family’s history.

Aruna Chakravarti explained that the novel ends with the poet’s death in 1941. Jnanadanandini Debi, with whom the story began, also died that year. Her death saw the end of an epoch as the curtain fell on the lives of three generations of Tagore women. The talk was very interesting. Subsequently, the author read out some excerpts from her book.