Hindi Diwas 2020: 6 Must-Read Hindi Novels written by Female Writers

Updated: 14 September, 2020 13:57 IST | Maitrai Agarwal | Mumbai

This Hindi Diwas, we handpick some of the best works of Hindi literature for you to discover and fall in love with

Photo used for representational purposes only
Photo used for representational purposes only

Hindi Diwas is celebrated on September 14 every year because on this day in 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India had adopted Hindi written in Devanagari script as the official language of the Republic of India. The fourth most widely spoken language in the world has been the medium of communication for Indians with a number of diverse mother tongues.

It is no wonder that Hindi has a centuries-long literary history. With social media dictating what content we consume, Hindi may not be getting the same space as English. We spoke to Ankush Kumar, Founder of Hindinama, a community that seeks to connect and interact with people who speak, write, and like Hindi and wish to see it established as a literary language. “Social media has generated interest in reading among the youth. Many literary platforms and publishing institutions have also made access to books easier which has served as a bridge between literature and readers,” said Ankush.

Historically, Hindi literature has been shaped by various female voices who’ve brought to the forefront the invisible stories of women. As readers, there is immense value in reading stories in our regional languages to discover real stories of women around us. We spoke to Rahul Srivastava, a millennial who has grown up reading Hindi literature, “The culture of female wordsmiths has been rooted deep in our history with several hymns and verses of Rigveda attributed to Brahmavadinis. From the devotional verses of Mirabai to poems on valor by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, and stories questioning the traditional patriarchal domination by Krishna Sobti, female writers have done a profusion of remarkable work for centuries. To call them the bards of Hindi literature wouldn't be an overstatement."

This Hindi Diwas, we have handpicked 6 must-read Hindi novels by female writers for you to enjoy:

1) Aapka Bunty by Mannu Bhandari

This story revolves around a family wherein the parents get divorced and their nine-year son, Bunty is severely affected. The complexities of family dynamics are showcased here aptly when Bunty’s mother Shakun decides to divorce her husband to live her life freely. A landmark for child psychology, the book is renowned for its insightful depiction of Bunty’s insecurities.

2) Pinjar by Amrita Pritam

Originally published in Punjabi, Pinjar was re-written in Hindi by Amrita Pritam herself. Set at the time of the Partition, Pinjar is a story about the journey of a woman, Puro who gets kidnapped by a man, Rashid. Even after she manages to escape, her family refuses to take her back as they consider her to be defiled. The animosity between Hindus and Muslims and the tribulations of the Partition are also well documented in Pinjar.

The novel has been adapted into a National Award-winning film starring Urmila Matondkar.

3) Mitro Marjani by Krishna Sobti

Krishna Sobti etches a provocative tale about female sexuality in Mitro Marjani. The novel’s protagonist, Mitro is a daughter-in-law of a traditional family. Raised by her courtesan mother, Mitro is an unapologetic woman who seeks to fulfil her sexual desires which are not fulfilled by her husband. The radical novel breaks taboos about women’s sexuality and gives readers a protagonist who is seen as obstinate and rebellious by society.

4) Pachpan Khambe Laal Deewarein by Usha Priyamvada

Pachpan Khambe Laal Deewarein is the first novel written by Usha Priyamvada. The story is about a woman, Sushma, and the impact that her socio-economic conditions have on her. She lives in a hostel where she feels suffocated yet is too scared to leave.  She struggles between supporting her family financially and marrying the man she loves, torn between love and family responsibilities.

5) Chaudah Phere by Shivani

Chaudah Phere by Shivani tells the story of Ahalya, the daughter of a businessman in Calcutta. Ahalya’s mother has left her husband to live as a hermit in the hills. Educated at a boarding school, Ahalya is taken by her father to their hometown where she meets and falls in love with a soldier, Raju.  His death in the Indo-China War causes Ahalya to breakdown and her father arranges for her to marry someone else. The book delves into Ahalya’s inner conflict of respecting her father and following her heart. 

6) Kaanch ke Shamiyane by Rashmi Raveja

The story’s protagonist is a cheerful woman who has many dreams. Her life takes a drastic turn when she marries and she finds herself isolated without any support. With the passage of time, all of her dreams are shattered, one by one.  Eventually, she musters the courage to take control of her own life and is able to achieve success. The book beautifully describes how a woman’s willpower can take her from the depths of sadness to the heights of success in an unforgiving society.


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First Published: 14 September, 2020 12:34 IST

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