Anamika Das reviews Kondapalli Koteswaramma’s memoir, The Sharp Knife ( Published by Zubaan books, 2015) telling us how the author’s tone throughout the book unsettles the readers deeply with its sheer honesty.
(Zubaan Books, 2015)
Originally written and published in 2012 in the Telugu language, Nirjana Vaaradhi, is a memoir by Kondapalli Koteswaramma. Sowmya V.B. translated this book in English, and ‘The Sharp Knife of Memory’ was published and released in 2015 by Zubaan books, to reach a much wider circle of readers, beyond the boundaries of the two Telugu speaking states of India.
Koteswaramma left her school education at a very young age on her own terms, despite her mother’s protests, to work as a nationalist freedom fighter. Over the years, she also became a part of the Telangana movement and the Communist movement, which shaped her life in many ways, all of which has been beautifully laid down in this memoir. Social activist and author, Gita Ramaswamy, in a detailed introduction of the book tells us how the book shook the very foundation of the Telugu literary circles. People ordered for several copies, many wanted to speak to Koteswaramma desperately after reading this book, and many even had episodes of break down while reading it. Gita also gives brief accounts of the challenges faced by political activists, especially women, in various stages of their lives. The introduction promises readers, a journey filled with memories they will cherish in the pages ahead.