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Truth Be Told, in a world of literary canon written by men for men, it is tough to come across narratives which are true to women’s lives. So, this month, as we celebrate feminine energy, form and stories at os.me, we bring to you none other than celebrated author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

Chitra accomplishes the very difficult task of telling stories of strong women with love, truthfulness and kindness. So, the unique writing platform, os.me, invited the award-winning author and professor of writing at the University of Houston, for a tete-a-tete.

Catch best-selling author @cdivakaruni in an engaging chat. tell a friend

Women have so much to contribute to our mythological texts, histories, literature, et cetera. Yet, who gives voice to Maa Sita’s grief? Who talks about Draupadi’s turmoil? Whoever ever calls women rulers great? Chitra does.

When everyone is busy talking about mankind, it’s a handful of authors like Chitra who rescue humankind.

Some of the books that form this Indian-American’s phenomenal body of work are: The Forest of Enchantments, a retelling of Ramayana from Ma Sita’s point of view; The Palace of Illusions, a retelling of  Mahabharata from Draupadi’s perspective; and Mistress of Spices, which has a woman at the centre of the story, changing lives of people around her. This book was adapted into a film in 2005, starring Aishwarya Rai and Dylan McDermott. Chitra’s A Palace of Illusions will be a film soon, with actor Deepika Padukone portraying Draupadi.

Her latest, The Last Queen, as some of you already know, is a historical fiction built on facts and the life of the brave queen, Maharani Jindan Kaur of Punjab. The youngest and last wife of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, founder of the Sikh Empire, Jindan Kaur fought the British army after her husband. She stepped out of the Zenana, addressed the Khalsa army directly and led the wars against the Imperial army.

Owing to her courage, she became a terror for the British. So an ugly smear campaign was unleashed against her. As has been the fate of brave women in history, she was harassed, and shoved into a corner. She was sent into exile and her 5-year-old child, Dalip Singh, was snatched away from her. The British take him to England and give him a new religion and identity. Jindan then manages to trace her son in old age. Oh! It is a fabulous story.

Are Dharma rules different for women? Award-winning author @cdivakaruni answers tell a friend

Dharma is more exacting for women. Award-winning author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has a knack of telling stories of forgotten heroines in a world full of much-sung heroes. Society might not give much authority to women, but Chitra’s gift is to give her heroines agency, voice and a safe space to falter. She drags them from the margins and from under the male gaze, and puts them at the centre.

When all the shows on the tube exaggerate kitchen sink politics and cat fights, it’s Chitra who highlights the female friendships that actually see women through tough times.

So, we invited her for an engaging chat. Chitra made time to join us for Truth Be Told from Texas on a day when a snow storm had gripped the city. There was power shortage, water shortage, sub-zero temperature and a network problem. Yet, nothing could keep her from talking to us about female friendships, warrior women and answering questions such as: Do you google yourself? Is Dharma different for women? 

Award-winning author @cdivakaruni says female friendships hold a lot of importance in her life and books. tell a friend

Catch the interview below:

Chapters/ Time Stamps

00:00 to 02:00 – Introduction

02:00 to 03:05 – Strong women even today have to go through lot of difficulties. So have things really changed?

03:00 to 05:16 – Is writing a book an exhaustive process?

05:17 to 10:00 – Doesn’t Maharani Jindan Kaur deserve the title of the lioness when her husband, Maharaja Ranjit Singh is called the “Lion of Punjab”?

10:30 to 14:20 – From Ramayana, isn’t Sita a bigger role model?

14:21 to 19:28 – What is the importance of female friendships in your books and in your life?

19:29 to 21:00 – Do you feel a responsibility of re-introducing the historic stories and characters to the new generation through your writings?

21:00 to 23:57 – Quick Fire Round.

#TruthBeTold #osdotme #ChitraDivakaruni

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About Truth Be Told

Truth be Told (TBT) is a unique series by os.me that features wonderful people who make this world a better place with their talent, contribution and work. We get you up, close and personal with achievers from around the world, hoping that their truthful personal narratives inspire you to be better, kinder and more truthful in every sphere of life. Check out some of our past episodes on our YouTube Channel.

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