Book Review: Indira by Devapriya Roy (Author) & Priya Kuriyan (Illustrator)

Book Name: Indira

Author: Devapriya Roy 

Illustrator: Priya Kuriyan

Publisher: Westland

Rating: 4/5

Book Blurb: In a government school classroom in Delhi, young Indira Thapa is set an unusual assignment by her favourite teacher: to write an essay around her name. Who was Indira Priyadarshini, the person after whom her grandfather named her? And why her? What is her legacy as India’s first—and only—woman prime minister?

Over the course of a long, hot summer and a curious friendship with an artist who is working on a biography of Mrs Gandhi, young Indira gets tangled up in the life and times of her memorable namesake. Sometimes by design and sometimes by accident, story after story comes alive—about a childhood spent in Allahabad growing the Vanar Sena, of a youthful romance with the charming Feroze Gandhi, of stints in jail and elephant rides through pouring rain, of a magnificent audacity that catapulted India onto the international stage, and of the final, tragic end that ripped apart the fabric of the nation.

Real and imagined worlds, the past and present, text and image all entwine as Indira walks us through the most formative decades of political life of India.

Review: Indira is a fascinating book and aimed at providing a biography for children primarily. Its a very well done graphic book and considering the fact that writing for a young adult audience is always so difficult, the author and illustrator have teamed up to create a true masterpiece.

Indira Thapa is a young girl studying in a government school and is asked to research about Mrs. Gandhi as part of an assignment. She embarks on a journey that provides snippets of Mrs. Gandhi’s life told through both text and beautifully done artwork.

The book is written sympathetically but does not shy away from discussing even the emergency. While political biographies of Indira Gandhi are available in the market by the dozen, not very Indian authors have written for children. This is a good endeavor and the best way to teach children about their country’s history and its leaders.

The language is simple, the graphics are very well done and kids will love this book. Indira covers most important aspects of the late leader’s life and is apt for anybody looking for an introduction into the leader’s life.

The book has been researched meticulously and given the fact that material on early lives of leaders is hard to come by, the team has done fabulous work in compiling this gem of a book.

This is unlikely any book you would have ever read and is a welcome initiative from Westland.


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