Storizen Magazine - - Cover Story -

Every­one has a story in them and many sto­ries are trig­gered by some­thing per­sonal – a feel­ing, an ex­pe­ri­ence, maybe even a mem­ory. ‘Daugh­ter By Court Or­der’ is my de­but novel and it was no dif­fer­ent for me. I have seen the dev­as­ta­tion caused in fam­i­lies by the par­tial­ity shown to one child at the cost of emo­tion­ally crip­pling an­other. The wider fam­ily hid­ing un­der ‘iz­zat’ of­ten con­dones the sup­pres­sion. This is com­mon. Peo­ple look the other way when a daugh­ter is beaten, for­got­ten, or done away with. They choose to look away, deeply com­plicit in the ac­tion of the chief tor­men­tor. In my novel, the ex­tended fam­ily is aware that one daugh­ter has been left out of the fam­ily tree pre­sented in a Court thus wip­ing out her iden­tity.

The con­spir­acy of si­lence en­sures that Aranya does not find out. And the fam­ily does not be­long to the me­dieval ages; they seem to be de­cent, hon­ourable folk. The mother plans it and the brother ex­e­cutes it with fi­nesse, the daugh­ter-in-law as­sists and un­cle Yudi gives ac­tive guid­ance. The Dhari clan looks away while cousin Deep shouts, “I am not in­ter­ested in the mer­its of the case.” What makes In­drani Mukher­jea and Kamini Dhari soul sis­ters? Un­par­al­leled love for them­selves? Ruth­less­ness? Bot­tom­less greed? Be­lief that they can over­ride the law? Fam­i­lies should be held ac­count­able for their ac­tions. In si­lence there is com­plic­ity. All who know and do noth­ing are re­spon­si­ble for the out­come. And need to be held ac­count­able. Ratna Vira holds a masters de­gree from the Lon­don School of Eco­nom­ics and Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence, as well as a masters in English Lit­er­a­ture from St Stephen’s Col­lege, Univer­sity of Delhi. She also holds an MBA. She is the daugh­ter of se­nior jour­nal­ist, Nalini Singh, and SPN Singh. Ratna jug­gles her cor­po­rate ca­reer with her writ­ing and love of art. She lives in Gur­gaon with her daugh­ter and son, where she is at work on her sec­ond novel.

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