Debut novel brings up inheritance rights of women
The tale of a single woman’s fight to be recognized as a daughter forms the main plot of Ratna Vira’s first novel “A Daughter by Court Order”
The book, which was launched by Kiran Bedi here last evening narrates the story of a young woman who has been cut out of her inheritance and fights power, money, deceit, and treachery for her right to be recognised as a daughter.
“It’s a very courageous book, I think it is a trendsetter and will make for a great film,” Bedi said.
Ratna Vira has fleshed a piece of fiction on an essential part of society – the rights of a woman through the protagonist ‘Aranya’ who faces a tough choice of choosing to fight her powerful family in court, or lose her identity and the future of her children.
The book published by Fingerprint deals with issues of the Hindu Succession Act, and the role of the ‘joint family’ or the ‘Hindu Undivided Family.’
Following the launch, the author along with Kiran Bedi and acclaimed film maker Sudhir Mishra of “Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi” fame participated in a discussion on the book.
Ratna Vira, who has a career in corporate pointed out the stigma of honour, which is attached to the women, which inhibits their freedom.
“It’s always the ‘izzat’ wrapped around her little shoulder, she carries the honour. It is a two way process, by the time she turns and says that I’ve conformed for so long and now I need protection, there is no one there to hear it”, said Vira, a single mother who lives with her daughter and son.
Kiran Bedi said, “We all are a product of our parents mindset, it depends on how they look at their daughter. Are they looking at her as their future or as somebody who is going to go away, and the investment is going to belong to someone else.”
Kiran Bedi poitned out “As long as girls are considered liabilities, as long as daughters are considered as migratory birds, why would anybody invest in them?”
Sudhir Mishra who is known to experiment with different shades of woman mulled over how a woman is burdened by behaving in a certain way, socially barred from reacting the same way as a man does.
“There is no right given to the women to be wrong in quest for her ambition. She may make the same mistakes as the man; maybe walk away from a relationship. She doesn’t have the right to be”, Mishra said.
With her book, Vira seeks to encourage women to have courage and stand up for their rights. Her message is clear – no woman should ever have to live in fear of the person she loves and she should never hesitate to reach out for help.
“It is a story of courage, of hope, of Optimism and believing in oneself. It can be the story of many women. It does not have to Aranya alone”, the author said.
The book bills itself as an inspiration for women caught up in rocky situations – be it marriage, a job, or even health, encouraging them to bring a change in their circumstances.
Through her fiction Vira raises objections to the norms of kinship in India and the limited access which women have to legal discourse.
“The Indian law system is so expensive, so harassing.
Which woman would invest her whole life in a litigation?”, points out Bedi.
Producer of films like “Chittagong” (2012) Bhuvan Lall expressed a desire to turn the book into a movie and requested Sudhir Mishra to take over the reigns of the project.