HOW DID RATNA VIRA CONCEIVE "DAUGHTER BY COURT ORDER"?
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.