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The Crack Magazine

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Disobedient Women by Sangeeta Mulay

Sangeeta Mulay's debut novel, set in India, explores two families with opposing political views as they try to navigate the shifting tides of India's changing political landscape.

Aparna is a rationalist and an athiest, a determined campaigner against superstitions that take advantage of her people. When a tweet of hers is condemned as anti-Hindu, she is faced with threats to her and her family.

Hari was raised by a religious father, and knows that to make him proud he needs to bring India into a Hindu state. Aparna’s contentious opinions are exactly what he is fighting against.

Mulay’s novel shows a world in which people, especially women, are put under immense social pressure to conform, to stay quiet, to follow. The characters’ choices involve impossible decisions about who they really want to be, and who they want to be seen as: “And isn't this finally about Aparna, the woman? Not Aparna, the mother or Aparna, the wife."

Through Aparna, Hari, and their daughters, Mulay gives us a cast of brave characters, and an insight into the society of contemporary India – a secular State with a right-wing religious party in government.

Kenzie Millar