52 pages 1 hour read

Supriya Kelkar


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2017

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Nonviolent Protest and Working for Ahimsa

The novel introduces the concept of ahimsa early in the story, and at that point Anjali doesn’t quite understand it. She sees political activity as something that other families become involved with, but this starts to change when Ma announces that she’s joining the freedom fight. Anjali’s parents don’t necessarily struggle in the same way that Anjali does; they “always knew one of us would be going to join the freedom fight” (35), but even they don’t quite understand what it will mean for their family. As Anjali learns more about ahimsa, she teaches them how to persevere, making this novel a dual story about both Anjali and her parents, especially her mother, within the freedom movement.

As a work of historical fiction, the novel provides context about Gandhi’s nonviolence movement, introducing this theme when Anjali’s parents reveal that Ma will be joining. However, Anjali’s thought that “she would be just like her classmate Anasuya, always wondering where her father was and if he was all right” (32), reveals how so often men, rather than women, went to fight for freedom. This gendered dynamic undoubtedly makes Anjali initially feel even more disconnected from the cause because she isn’t aware of female role models involved in Gandhi’s movement.