‘Her world was as local as universal’

‘Her world was as local as universal’

On one of the most beautiful evenings of July, India International Centre, Delhi, organized an event in remembrance of freedom-fighter and social reformer, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay. Nirmal Bhattacharjee, Editorial Director, Niyogi Books along with IIC took the initiative to re-release ‘Inner Recesses Outer Spaces,’ in her memory. Inaugurating the event Ms. Kavita Sharma, Director, IIC, briefed about the vigorous lady and her book, “For us this is a very important day, I am truly grateful to Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan for coming here crossing every hurdle. I am happy she could make it here because I know that she was very close to Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay. I was moved by her story that instead of looking after her own health Kamaladevi was more concerned about the title of this book which was eventually given by Dr. Vatsyayan.”


She further added, “The book is going to talk about the personal and political life of Kamaladevi. It discusses the economic situations of India and the contribution of women in it. On top of that the book also has various details on Kamaladevi’s interest in arts and culture. The book has a session where one is introduced to her nature and why she refuses to be in contact with anyone when she wants to be alone and how she does not think of herself as a public speaker but gives good & inspiring speeches and stood for people when required.”

This memoir had been out of print but last year the IIC board decided that they would have ‘one day in a year’ dedicated to Kamaladeviji and while they discussed about it with Dr.Vatsyayan, (one of the trustee members) she said that they should even re-print the book which is now available but, people hardly know about it. “I am grateful to Mr. Niyogi for taking up the challenge. The book remains what it is, but we have just added a forward by Dr. Vatsyayan other than a forward by famous novelist, Raja Ram. The cover page of the book has a painting by Hungarian artist Elizabeth Bruna. I read the book and I read the review of the book by Dr.Vatsyayan too, wherein she mentions that this is just not a memoir but a theatre that lies between two covers of the book. The book undoubtedly takes every reader back and forth in time, and few things they will realize are relatable even at this instance. It is not an autobiography but a story of a woman who is of great strength and great inner resources which allowed her to act with fearlessly and independently for the outside world but still remained down to earth which each one of us needs to learn.”

‘Her world was as local as universal’ - One WOrld News

“In the beginning of the book we come across the association Kamaladevi shared with prominent figures like Sarojini Naidu, Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore etc. It also discusses about how India emerged as an independent country. Kamaladevi refused to own any position rather, worked on her own. She was the hand behind the handicrafts movement in India because of which the status of theatre, puppetry etc. was uplifted. She was in between eminent people but she still rooted. She asked for nothing so, she received everything,” is what Mr. Bhattacharjee had to share about the book and Kamaladevi.

Dr. Vatsyayan, being close to Kamaladevi gave three reasons for her presence at the IIC, sharing some of her precious moments with the audience. The incident where inspite of falling on the ground and getting swamped with blood all over her, Kamaladevi was more concerned about the title of the book is something she still cannot forget. She cited Kamaladevi as the sole reason for her being the trustee at the IIC.

Concluding the event, Reena Nanda who wrote the bibliographical note on Kamaladevi, talked about how and why the lady is her inspiration/mentor. She fought with everyone for the women of India, for the country etc. I am glad I could do a review on her book, could know her personally and have such an opportunity to give an ode to whatever she has done for me and for everyone who is living peacefully in this country.

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