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Akshaypatra by Bindu Bhatt

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The partition of the country in 1947, saw millions dead and an equal number of people who survived underwent a traumatic, harrowing experience. Most did not actually believe that the partition was actually going to take place and that they will be totally uprooted. This is the story of a young women whose family and whole life is totally ruined and she lands in India from Karachi, completely shattered, almost penniless, with two small children and nobody to help her and how instead of giving in to defeat and despair, she fights against all odds with great self-respect and determination. The gist of the story_ Kanchan is a girl from a farmer`s family in a village in North Gujarat near Sindh. Thay have some land but her father who is a little educated does not want to live there all his life and goes away to Karachi where he finds a job. He then takes his family to Karachi and enrolls Kanchan and her brother Visu in a school. Kanchan`s grand parents, not willing to come, have stayed back. After only a few years, the grandfather suddenly passes away, so Kanchan`s mother has to go and live with the grandmother who would not leave home for one year. Kanchan manages school and household, and learns a lot. When her father goes to bring his mother and wife, the two children are well looked after by Devshankar sheth a rich businessman for whom he works. Devshankar`s children Amrut and Jaya become their good friends. When the father returns with his mother and wife, Kanchan and Visu are absolutely shocked to see that their mother has become a complete cripple due to Arthritis. Kanchan decides to drop out of school to look after her mother and the household. Soon afterwards, to everbody`s delight, her marriage to Amrut is arranged, and takes palce. Devshankar and Amrut are Pro-British and Kanchan and her school friend Lalita are pro-congress, but Kanchan and Amrut are happy together. Lalita later becomes a revolutionary, one day she comes to Kanchan`s house in disguise as a Sadhvi (Hindu Nun) and lives there, only Kanchan knows who she is. Jaya comes under hot spell and one night runs away with Lalita to join the movement. Kanchan gives birth to a daughter that day. She has two sons already. On learning about Jaya, Kanchan`s father-in-law loses his mental balance and stops talking to anybody. Amrut is livid with Kanchan when he comes to know about who Lalita was and blames her. They are getting over all these tragedies somehow, when suddenly comes the news of Partition of the country. Amrut tells Kanchan to go to India with his father and the children and also her father and brother. He himself plans to go to Kenya and take them there when he settles down. But her father and brother die when their house is burnt down in the riots; her eldest son who has all the money hidden inside his clothes, gets lost in the mob on the part, never to be found again. Heartbroken and almost peeniless, she is travelling on the ship when her father-in-law jumps one night into the sea and drowns. She arrives in India with two young children and is living in a tent on the seashore temporarily, when she is raped. She somehow arrives in the village where she lived as a child where she gets a broken down house to live. How does she survive? How does she start earning a livelihood and educating the children? What happens when she realises she is pregnant again. Who was the father? Amrut or the man who raped her? A son is born but with a disability. His one foot is twisted. The novel tells the story of Kanchan`s life till she in 78 and is once again all alone and almost penniless, not knowing where she is going to live. What happens in the many years in between to the three children and what happens to Amrut? Why is Kanchan alone again? The novel holds your interest right through, leaving you admiring the spirited Kanchan.

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