Thursday, March 4, 2021

Literary women

Reading Time: 3 minutes

To mark International Women’s Day,
we present 10 outstanding women-centric reads


- Advertisement -

Pinjar by Amrita Pritam (1950)

Pinjar is a period novel about the plight of women during the Partition of India. Literally translated, ‘Pinjar’ means ‘skeleton’ in Punjabi but can also be translated from Hindi to mean ‘caged’. The story centres around Puro, a Hindu girl, who is abducted by a Muslim boy, Rashid. It is as much a love story as it is about religion and societal expectations in India during the period of turmoil throughout the country’s liberation from the British. The novel was made into a feature film in 2003 by Chandra Prakash Dwivedi.

An interesting Australian link is that Pinjar is a rural suburb located on the outskirts of Perth, Western Australia. The suburb is named after a swampy lake in the area, shown on government plans from 1868, with the name ‘Pinjar’ thought to be of Noongar Aboriginal origin.


Nampally Road by Meena Alexander (1991/2013)

A particularly timely novel for this list given the recent events in Delhi. With her poetry background, Meena Alexander, born in India but now a native of New York, brings a lyrical quality to her novels.

Nampally Road is about Mira Kannadical’s struggle to piece together her identity. She first looks to academia and education, but soon realises she must meet the challenges of the society in front of her in order to find a sense of self.

The story is underwritten by the gang rape of Rameeza Be by the police and the effect this action has on the entire city of Hyderabad. A powerful novel about the politics of feminism and the complex power relations between men and women.


The Thousand Faces of Night by Githa Hariharan (1992)


Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (1997)


The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (1997)


Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai (1999)


Ladies Coupe by Anita Nair (2001)


Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri (2003)


Spouse: The truth about marriage by Shobhaa De (2005)


Priya’s Shakti by Ram Devineni and Dan Goldman (2014)

- Advertisement -
Kira Spucys-Tahar
Kira has a passion for politics, and enjoys puzzles, bad jokes and cuddles with her cat.

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Latest News

sexual assault survivor, sexual assault counsellor, sexual assault victim

I’m a sexual assault counsellor. Here’s why it’s so hard for...

  As a senior sexual assault counsellor working with Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, I often sit across from people on the worst day of...
dee domingo and raj shekhawat

A tinnitus update on World Hearing Day

  World Hearing Day is celebrated on 3 March to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness along with promoting ear care. I spoke to...

Book Review: ‘Ritu weds Chandni’ by Ameya Narvankar

  "But what is wrong with that? Why shouldn't she marry Chandni didi?," asks Ayesha, the young protagonist in Ameya Narvankar's Ritu weds Chandni. The innocent...
axar patel indian cricket player

IND v ENG: A historic Test… for all the wrong reasons

  The only bigger joke than the wicket prepared for the 3rd cricket Test between England and India at Ahmedabad’s Motera Stadium, was the renaming...
Queer support group Trikone Australia’s Alan Maurice, Kunal Mirchandani and Ravin chat with Bageshri Savyasachi

South Asians talking about Mardi Gras

  Pride week has already begun in Australia! Since Sydney's fabulous Mardi Gras parade is coming up this weekend, I had a chat with members...