from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada and MPhil from Delhi University. She taught at Miranda College, New Delhi for over three decades and then took a sabbatical inorder to spend more time in writing. Her first novel Difficult Daughters published in 1998 won the Commonwealth Prize for the best first book in 1999. Her other novels are A Married Woman (2003), Home (2006), The Immigrant (2008) and Custody (2011). She also edited Shaping the World: Women Writers on Themselves, a work that documents the literary journey of twenty-four women writers.
Manju Kapur is a compelling storyteller and a perceptive chronicler of the urban Indian middle class and the microcosm called the joint family. In an interview with Hindustan Times she says that…show more content… Difficult Daughters is set in Amritsar and is the story of three generations during the time of Partition. The saga of Indian Independence overlaps with Virmati‟s quest for freedom and as the former was marred by Partition, Virmati struggled for and attained her desires but lost a part of her self. Being the eldest of ten siblings, she is burdened with family responsibilities due to the incessant pregnancies of her mother Kasturi. Belonging to a high-minded Punjabi family, she is conditioned to think that it is the duty of a girl to get married and is duly engaged to a boy selected by the family. But in the delay in marriage caused by two deaths in the family, she asserted herself to study at AS College as the seventh girl in a class of four hundred boys. Prof Harish their neighbour was the teacher and he noticed her „flower like‟ appearance and forced himself into her mind, laying at her feet the anguish of being married to Ganga an illiterate woman. Caught in the hopeless situation of passion for the Professor and loyalty to her fiancé, she found it “splitting her into two socially unacceptable pieces” and in the confusion she attempted suicide. After a volley of secret letters between them, she conclusively decided that she had already shamed her family, refused marriage and hence she never meant to marry, nor wished to continue any relations with the Professor but would leave him to his pregnant wife. With the…show more content… She is married off to Hemant, a rich bureaucrat living in the posh colony of Delhi. In quick succession, she fulfils her responsibility of producing a daughter and a son for the family. She had everything in life, but she was frustrated. Hemant had an inherent inability to respect her as an equal and felt that she should be the stay-at-home wife and mother. When she took up the job of a school teacher she felt “the pleasure of interacting with minds instead of needs” but her family always found ways to project her incompetence. The turning point in her life was the workshop in her school by The Street Theatre Group led by the intellectual artist Aijaz Khan. She was given the responsibility of preparing the script for the play on Babri Masjid. The experience of scholarly research on the topic widened her horizons about communal attitudes