Drafted: 16th Nov '08.

Mahashweta  is the book authored by Sudha Murty . Till date, Mahashweta is believed to be the best book written by Sudha Murty. The book was written in Kannada and later translated to other languages including English, Marathi, etc.

The story revolves how Anand, a successful doctor by profession; handsome and hunk is seduced by Anupama's beauty and marries her, though she hailed from a poor family. Anupama, whose father was a school teacher and had lost her mother during childbirth had stayed away from home from the clutches of her step mother and her daughters who always disliked her. Anu, was a bright student, who stayed in a hostel and thrived on the scholarship she received till she completed Master of Arts. Anand, impressed by her acting as "Mahashweta" in a drama: Mahashweta, decides to choose her as his partner.

Anupama is married to Anand and the wedding expenses were borne by Anand's mother. Anand's mother had reluctantly agreed to his proposal since she did not want to break her son's heart. Anu's mother-in-law(MIL) and sister-in-law(SIL) had disliked her since she was from a poor family and Anu was more beautiful than her SIL.

A couple of months later, Anand decides to go to England and her mother-in-law insists her to join her son after performing Lakshmi Pooja during Deepavali. During the Pooja preparation, a red hot charcoal falls on Anu's foot and the pain was unbearable. A few days later, she develops a white patch on that skin area which begins to spread. Secretly, she consults one of the best dermathologist whose prescribed medicine doesn't cure nor stop the white patch from spreading around her foot.

Meanwhile, her mother-in-law discovers that Anu had been suffering from leukoderma  before marriage and blames her for cheating them. Anu is thrown out of the house and sent to her father's house in a remote village. She is humiliated by the known and unknown as well. Her repeated letters to her husband in England, turn futile as he never replies to her letters.

Once she hears two ladies in her village gossiping about her sister-in-law married into an affluent family and her husband had given his consent for second marriage. She's heartbroken, having lost faith in her husband, who had made promises that he would never leave her until death parted them, had now deserted her and loved her just because she was beautiful. His promises were false though he was well educated, a doctor, but poor at heart or hadn't fulfilled the responsibilities of a husband. She thinks of jumping of the cliff from a hill top and questions why should she kill herself when the person whom she loves doesn't even bother to understand her. She leaves to Bombay where her best friend, Sumi, during her college days, stays.

She finds a job, with the help of her friend's husband, as a clerk. But soon, her husband who called Anu as his sister, misbehaves when her friend was away from home. Anu finds a new accomodation in a week. She had made bunch of friends who would help her before she would utter a word. She joins as a Sanskrit lecturer and actively involved in the dramas. Most people would appreciate the way she directed the plays. She had grown stronger and never self-pitied. Instead, she was cheerful and faced life with boldness. But Anand's memories haunted at times and that hurt her.

Anu meets with an accident and when brought to the hospital, the doctor on duty, Vasant, instead of Dr. Satya, cures her leg injury. Since all of them were Kannadigas, the trio become good friends.

Years later, Anand returns realizing his mistake. He traces her with a great difficulty but the difficulty she underwent couldn't be compared with anything. He had deserted her when she needed him, he had known that she did not suffer from leukoderma before marriage. Yet, he remained numb when she was thrown out of his house and insulted by his mother and sister. When he pleads for forgiveness and requests to join him, she expresses her reluctance. Anand had left her years ago, just because a white patch had appeared for no fault of hers.

Dr. Vasant puts forth his proposal of marrying her. What would be Anu's answer for his proposal? Will she marry him or remain as she is? Read the book to know more. I know curiosity kills a cat. :)

"Maha" means Great and "Shweta" means white. Anu once regrets that she had played the role of Mahashweta and now had become Mahashweta with white patch all over her.

The story brought tears and I couldn't close the book until I completed in the midnight.

Men are attracted to beauty that they forget to discover the inner beauty of a woman. Does beauty refer only to fair-complexion and not the goodness within oneself? Why do we admire the beauty when it doesn't stay for a long time. When husband is ill or bed ridden, wife serves him selflessly, day and night, until he gets well. Will a husband ever serve his wife just the way she does? In the epic, Mahabharata , Gandhari  blindfolded herself with a black cloth throughout her married life since her husband, Dhritarashtra; was born blind. Would Dhritarashtra blindfold if Gandhari was born blind?

Sudha Murty has brought the suffering that a woman has to face throughout her life. In the postscript of her book, she writes that a gal had developed white patch after engagement and her fiance was reluctant to marry her learning this. He, once read this book and decides that he shouldn't be a coward as Anand in the story and marries her. The couple had invited her to the wedding and the gal gifted her a saree.

This was the first book I read authored by Sudha Murty and I've fallen n love with her writing :)

This book would change your mindset if you're looking forward to marry someone who is stunning with breathtaking beauty. And don't marry if cannot commit or support your spouse during bad times. This book is a must read.

Edited on 18th Nov to add: I had written the ending. Since the ending kills the curiosity, I've given the twist. Read the book and find out yourself. Thanks, xh.

© Manasa. All rights reserved.


  1. Traditional indian men wouldn't think of serving their wife. But I think, in todays world, where more and more women are working, the culture is slowly awakening. This is a good thing. The book is on my must read soon list.

  2. Remember that the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless; peacocks and lilies for instance. ~John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice, 1851

    The way Indian girls are evaluated before marriage is totally against dignity. As if one is buying something in market!

  3. i loved the story. I am going today to get this book. seems very interesting. The way you have given your own opinions at the end are very impressive too.

  4. Nice story and nice review, but I think it would be better if you don't give out the full story - that will make us go and get the book and read and discover the story. I will get this book, but since I already know the story,I have lost the curiosity.

  5. Awesome story and i know Sudha Murthy can write sooo well that one forgets the surroundings...

    Just a guess, Anu accepts the proposal of Dr. Vasant / Agrees to be alone but doesn't go with Anand... :) :)

    Will read and chek out whether i am right or not!

    Thanks for suggesting such a wonderful author and her great work.

  6. never heard of the author,seems good :) lots and lots to catch up...

  7. Awesome Review Girl!! Though I didn't read the part where you are telling me about the story! I would love to get this book for me! :)


    [ saw yur review on Goodreads]

  8. Anu, But the mentality remains the same. How many men would prepare coffee or dinner when wife arrives late?

    Reema, During groom hunt, gals are treated as objects with no respect from guys or their family.

  9. Kiran Sawhney, The book is a must read. Thanks :)

    --xh--, Edited it. Hope you read it with curiosity :)

  10. Sakhi, :)

    vishesh, Even I've a huge book list to be read.

    Veens, Thanks. It is a must read.

  11. Thanks Manasa for the introduction to the book. I love Sudha Murthy aise hi cos of her philanthropic and down to earth work for the common people, and she is so so so simple. I ve read some of her stories in my daughter's text book. Now will get hold of this to read it, thanks.
    BTW you are cruel, i mean cruelly cruel. Just when I was preparing to be told if she was to accept it, you said ok go read the book.
    But I loved the cruelty.

  12. sounds good. i want to read it too. how many pages? wonder if i can finish anything i start thesedays ... sigh!

  13. Have read the book and loved it for the beauty of thoughts depicted here....

    And if you have loved this book pick up "Dollar Bahu", "Gently Falls the Bakula" and there are some books of short stories as well each book is damn good...

  14. Where do we get this book? Will it be available in all book stores or only classic ones?

  15. Mampi, Cruel? That I'm ;)

    Sneha Divakar, You can fisnish it in 2-3 hours :)

  16. Smita, Heard even those are good books. Will read them soon :)

    Akshaya Aradhya, You get them in all book stores.

  17. Manasa, This review has helped me a hell lot, and has given birth to an enthusiastic Sudha Murthy reader in me...Looking forward to more Sudha Murthy reading and reviews...!


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