Young and charming globetrotter yet rooted in Kheri-Meham, Anuradha Beniwal wowed the city literati by speaking out her heart with a sheer lack of guile at an interaction on her debut book ‘Aazaadi Mera Brand’ published recently by Rajkamal Prakashan.
Moving freely from English to Hindi and then chaste Haryanvi, she said at a literary meet organised at a city cafe, “In adolescence I would brood that was I a good girl or not. Of course, I was a good girl but not willing to be judged by the patriarchal definition of ‘goodness’ in a girl. I had to be true to myself and truth leads to freedom which is a state of mind that has to be achieved.”
She added that freedom for her was ‘being yourself’ and not encroaching on others. The chess champion-turned-author intervened in the Jat agitation by appealing to her brethren to not resort to violence and was hailed as the lone voice of reason in the stir. At the same time, she also became the target of hate mails.
“Well, mine was an emotional appeal to end violence. My Haryana, town of Meham were aflame and I could not be a silent spectator. I did not name anyone and the hate mails came from those who acknowledged their guilt.”
The gutsy girl even started crowd-funding on Facebook to quell communal fires and she says she will use the amount collected by bringing out a magazine and producing a play on peaceful co-existence.
“Although I have been living in London the past three years, I am very rooted to my village, my home there and my fields. My ultimate dream is to open a girls’ school in Rohtak,” she said.
How did the book which is a travelogue through India and Europe with broodings rooted in the soil she was born to? “I had no intention of writing a book because I felt that was far above me. I had a poetry blog and I jotted down notes about my travels in Hindi written the Haryanvi way. These caught the attention of my editor Satyanand Nirupam who plodded the book out of me,” she confessed.
Nirupam who was present at the interaction said while authors from Punjab had given the Punjabi idiom to Hindi, it was the first time that such a contribution had come from Haryana.
When asked what role the game of chess (she is a coach in prestigious London schools) played in her her search for freedom, her reply was, “I moved out of Haryana as a child to participate in chess tournaments across Indian cities like Patiala, Calicut and Kolkata. I also travelled to Europe and this experience helped me grow and empower myself to play the game of life well.”