An insightful discussion ensued at An Evening with Tarana Hussain Khan on December 13 at YFLO’s physical meet held near Diamond Harbour. The book discussion, organised by Soni Jain, chairperson, YFLO, saw a rich discourse surrounding author Dr Tarana Husain Khan’s 2021 release The Begum and the Dastan. The evening started with a graceful felicitation and a warm welcome to the author.
Refreshing talks and unique perspectives about the novel were discussed, leaving Khan enthralled. The gathering of 50 intensely debated their views and exchanged intelligent interpretations of the novel, its take on feminism and depiction of women in the 19th century. With characters that we could truly empathise with, readers engaged with the author regarding their connection to the characters.
A wave of excitement swept across the room when the question-and-answer round began and many sought to ask questions about matters that had left them curious. Khan shared a personal anecdote about the novel, stating that the intriguing tale of Feroza Begum was passed down through generations in her family and that it was a tale that she was intimately connected to. Her novel sought to present historical fiction not from the perspective of the man as most dominant narratives do but strived to represent the tale from the voice of female characters and their version of history. Khan ardently elaborated on the prejudices faced by women in the 19th century, the ones that women are still victims to today and the need for the rise of consciousness in these turbulent times. The discussion was not just well received but left many revitalised and empowered.
Fans gathered around for a warm photo session with Khan as the event came to an end
“It was really amazing that I could be there. I was headed to Bhubaneshwar to receive a prize for book of the year for The Begum and the Dastan, and it was suggested to me I could do a thing with the book club and its ladies. It was a lovely setting. You’re in a room full of people who’ve actually read your book in Calcutta. I always regard Calcutta as the literary capital of India. There are only two-three cities that I regard very highly in a literary sense, Calcutta being one. I was impressed with their dedication to fiction, to literature. For them to read my book, it’s pretty amazing for me,” gushed the author after the event.
“The event was really nice. It was one of the few author events we’ve had. She discussed in depth the lives women led in the 19th century, and it enabled us to compare it to the luxury we live in today. We’ve moved ahead, and it was really nice knowing about the past,” said Soni.
The session was moderated by Nikita Bardia, R.E.A.D. Book Club member. Following the fascinating discussion, the last leg of the evening was a book-signing session. Smiles and laughter graced the room as the event came to a lovely end.