These two books, both published by Penguin in 2003 talk of women in India; certainly not all women and everywhere. One can see some commonalities in the two books , but they are also different and they have to be dealt with separately. Deepti Priya’s book Home Truths explores the life, struggles and coping mechanisms of Single Mothers who cannot be, as the stories show, a homogeneous category. The book has three parts, the ‘Terrain’, ‘Stories’ and ‘Reflections and Insights’. The section ‘Stories’ gives the case histories of fourteen women she has interviewed. They come from slums and middle class homes in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengal, Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana. Some came out of difficult or violent marriages and fought for survival in a wider world which was also not peaceful and welcoming. For some it was essential to prove to oneself ‘I can do this’ while in the case of some it was misfortune like death of husband or his abduction that forced them to fend for themselves and their children. Despite all the hazards they faced many of them received the support of the natal family, even while the latter itself did not have a sound financial base.
March 2004, volume 28, No 3