Saturday, October 2, 2010

Firebrand unveiled

A sincere portrayal of the bandit queen's life, one that empathises with the subject.

Outlaw: India's Bandit Queen
and Me; Roy Moxham
Rider; Rs.599
Inspired by a newspaper article about a young woman forced into banditry by her circumstances and now languishing in an Indian prison without the benefit of a trial, a London-based archive restorer wrote her “a letter of support”, offering help with her legal fees. A fortnight later, he received a reply in Hindi, dictated by the woman who was illiterate. He had the letter translated and wrote to her again. The thread of communication thus established would grow into an unlikely friendship between two individuals from disparate worlds.

Though Roy Moxham and Phoolan Devi had little in common, their rapport was instant when they met following her release from jail. Disarmed by her warmth, the diffident Englishman would end up as her guest on that particular occasion and on subsequent ones, sportingly adapting himself to her chaotic household of numerous and noisy family members. It was a golden opportunity to observe the former bandit at close quarters.

Full review here Hindu

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