7 Reasons to Read Jorasanko by Aruna Chakravarti

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Jorasanko, as most of you would know was the house owned by the most popular family of Bengal, the Thakurs, also known as the Tagores’. Just the word Tagore makes one think about the great, Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore.  Jorasanko is not only the house of the most wealthy family of Bengal but also of a book by Aruna Chakravarti. Very few people have heard about this book. The book is basically about the women of the Thakur family. This is probably the only book which talks about the Thakur women, as most of the historical evidences talk only about the men of that family. But why should one read that book? Here are some reasons which will convince you to go and get that book and read it.

1 Historical Importance:

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The book takes into account not only Rabindranath’s generation, but it goes 3 generations before him. It begins with his grandmother and then slowly advances from there to his mother. It talks about how influential the family was and also how the coming of the British had changed things.  The Thakurs were a wealthy family, who lost their wealth over the due course of time. By the time Rabindranath Tagore took over the estate, the estate was already declining. The famous school of Rabindranath Tagore was run by little earnings. It showcases the downfall of the Thakur family.

2 Social Status:

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Women are the most integral part of the book, without a doubt. The book begins with those social rules which a woman has to abide by. How a woman should always cover her face and whenever she is out in public she should only travel in her palanquin. It also showcases the trend of child marriage quite well. Women who were aged 8 were married to men who were almost twice their age. Such cases are quite prevalent in the book.  The book also tells one how important was a woman’s role in running the household, especially in running the household of the Thakur family.

3 Bhramo Samaj:

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The period in which the Thakurs or the Tagores lived, the Bhramo Samaj was slowly and steadily gaining its power and control over people. The people of the Thakur family had also joined the Bhramo Samaj and were an integral part of it. The book gives an insight on what were the traditions of the Bhramo Samaj and how they were carried out within the four walls of Jorasanko. (In the image, Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Debendranath Tagore, father of Rabindranath Tagore. The most committed souls of Bhramo Samaj)

4 Literary Importance:

Rabindranath Tagore, was indeed one of the best writers that India has ever seen. When Rabindranath Tagore, fondly known as Robbie was growing up the trend of plays was just at its peak. People in his own family were writers, especially his elder brother was a play writer. Kadambari, Robbie’s friend was also a play writer. But during that phase, women were not allowed to take part in the acting of plays. The men were supposed to do the roles of women.

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5 Kadambari:

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Kadambari, most of you have heard this name. She was an inspiration to the great poet Rabindranath Tagore. A friend he always needed and had for the earlier half of his life. In reality Kadambari was his sister in law, a wife to his elder brother. His meeting to Kadambari was a strange one. He met her when he was quite young and she was a newlywed bride. They formed an instant connection. This instant connection, led to a formation of such a deep connection between the both of them, that the impact of this relationship with her lasted him his whole life. She was Rabindranath’s best friend. Kadambari had a command over Rabindranath. She was the women who inspired him to write more and was also an inspiration for most of his works. The book goes on to talk more about her and her relationship with Rabindranath Tagore.

6 Rabindranath Tagore:

The book doesn’t really revolve around him.  For the matter of fact Rabindranath has a very small part to play. The book starts up two generations before him and he is born after one is done finishing half the book. Even after that, it doesn’t talk about his rise as a poet or a writer, rather it takes about his relationship with the women. Even when he does make an appearance in the book it is because of his wife. His wife also has a short role to play, as she died quite early. (Spoiler Alert!) The book ends with her death and doesn’t go on much after that, as all the main women are dead.

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7 Never Written About:

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The main reason, why one should really read this book is because this is the first time ever someone has written about the role that women had played in one of the biggest families of that time.  It tells you the story about the family through the eyes of the women and how women shaped the family. They say behind every successful man is a women. This is the story about the women behind the men of such a successful family. The way the story is written, it is made to sound like the story of the grand house Jorasanko, not of the women. Maybe because it is the women who made up that grand household. The book is definitely worth a read. It gives you an insight on a lot of things and is to sure remain with you for the rest of your days.

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