Unvanquished: The Fight Beyond Justice by Dr Jonaki Mukherjee filled me with new energy and hopes. This short and bold book contains ten stories. These ten stories form ten chapters of the book, other than the introduction. Each one focuses on the patriarchal society and the place of women in it. As soon as we hear the word patriarchy, the first thing that comes to our head is the suffering and pain of women. However, the author has chosen to narrate these stories in a positive way. It truly leaves me overwhelmed. Each story is unique and portrays different perspectives of a male-dominated society. Nevertheless, though the stories depict the sufferings and pain of the women, the best part is their happy and hopeful ending.
There are two parts to the title of this book. The first part, Unvanquished, explains the courageous side of the oppressed, marginalised, tortured and victimised women. The same women who give up their dreams and desires to stay within the conformity of their husbands’ home, and in this process, they even lose their identities. However, everything has a threshold point. Tolerance, too, has one. And when tolerance reaches the threshold, things change unexpectedly. In this book, Jonaki has shown how women took a stand for themselves after facing all the injustice from their husbands and in-laws. Not only did they raise their voice against all the injustice that happened to them over the years, but they began their new journey too.
The second part of the title, The Fight Beyond Justice, explains the weak side of our legal and judicial system that is incapable of rescuing women, who are the victim of a male-dominated society, in time. You can refer to the recent judgement by the honourable judges of the Supreme Court of India allowing the rapist of a four-year-old girl to have ‘a second chance‘. It could be because of a lack of awareness about the concerned laws. It could also be because of the fact that in India, it takes a lifetime to get out of the court with justice! And that is why they prefer not to take their matter to court. They find other means outside the court to resolve the issue and get justice.
The most striking part of the book is that the stories narrated are real. The author, Dr Jonaki Mukherjee, works for women’s causes, and she has helped many women fight their battles and get the justice they deserve. It is her years of experience that she has compiled in this book in the form of 10 inspiring stories. It makes this book worth reading.
As far as the stories in the book are concerned, they are audacious and powerful. The very first story Damini is about the sexual violence she had to face every night as her husband was not a prince from any fairytale. When she dreamt about appearing in her board exams, physical and mental torture broke her and her dream into uncountable pieces. But she stood up and confronted every challenge. And symbolically, it signifies the true meaning of her name — Damini: a streak of lightning piercing through the clouds.
There is another story, The Perfect Wife, of Lata who willingly chose to adjust to the role of a housewife at home as Sukumar’s (her husband) wish had forever been her command, ever since their marriage. However, he never respected her wishes and moved her according to his wish, like a puppet. The Perfect Wife raises a serious question that ominously laughs at us as a failed society. This story is about the amount of respect and independence a housewife deserves. Also, a homemaker should get an amount of money of her own, for which she is not accountable to anyone.
All the other stories highlight many different issues for which a woman has sacrificed herself – emotionally, physically and mentally. Each story is written in lucid language and is very well-developed. They would not let you feel distracted. Moreover, if you read this book, you will have to appreciate the choice of words and the writing style of Dr Jonaki. No doubt the book is mainly for women readers, but anyone interested in feminist literature will enjoy reading it. Shubha Mudgal’s Foreword is a valuable addition to the work.
In concluding my review, I will say this book is truly an inspiring read. It shows the mirror to society and reveals the state of women. Women are not weak. They are a form of SHAKTI. Respect them.
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Review by Parakashtha for Indian Book Critics
Unvanquished: The Fight Beyond Justice by Dr Jonaki Mukherjee – Book Review
- IBC Critical Score
Unvanquished: The Fight Beyond Justice by Dr Jonaki Mukherjee is a must-read book… it mirrors the struggle that these brave women embraced and came victorious on that side…