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Author - Sumathi Sudhakar

Sumathi Sudhakar’s book “Paromita” is based in 19th century Bengal when revolutionary ideas were in the air. It was the time of awakening and renaissance, when people like Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar and Raja Ram Mohan Roy were at the forefront.
Paromita or Paro as she is known to all her family and friends is a charming little girl of about 9 years old whose laughter “sounded like then gurgling of a river.” With two deep dimples, soft pink cheeks and dancing eyes she is popular with all the children of the village and most of the adults too. Paro loves friends and playing games; but what she most desires is to go to school. But in those days girls were usually discouraged from going to school and in Paro’s case a girl’s school was too far away from where she lived.
One fine day Paro is shocked to hear that she is being married off to a man who is old enough to be her grandfather! Shattered and disillusioned Paro is determined to take destiny in her own hands. On the day of her wedding Paro absconds……
Paromita is the story of a young girl’s rebellion against a society which subjugates women. Says the author, “Girls have been girls all along .Their impulses and feelings, likes and dislikes, and desires could not have been too different from what they are now. Only circumstances were different.”
Sumathi Sudhakar is a children’s author and this is her first book for children. She holds a masters degree in English literature from the University of Chennai. She is part of the editorial team at Chandamama.

Excerpt :
‘Debu was confused. He did not know whether to be happy or upset; happy, because Paro had escaped that hateful marriage, and upset because who knew where his darling sister was and what trouble she was facing. As he thought more and more about it, he began to worry. Was she safe? Could she be in danger? Did she need help? Would they see her again? What would happen if she was caught and brought back? And again what would she do all alone in the big world, a little girl with nobody to help her to take care of her?
These and many more questions whirred past one another in his mind, and caused deep furrows to appear on his young forehead. “Where has Paro gone?” wailed his mother and this jolted Debu out of his thoughts. Indeed nobody seemed to have seen the girl since that afternoon.’

Review - Soma Mittra

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