Book summary: Rudali, From Fiction to Performance

1997 BY MAHASWETA DEVI

In certain areas of Rajasthan, women were hired as professional weepers. They were referred to as Rudalis. Their work was to mourn in public for families that hired them for the job. In this story, Shanichari is a woman who has faced many difficulties in life. Apart from her father s death and her mother eventually leaving her to fend for herself, she was married to a man who failed to be a responsible husband. However, she has never cried for anything her entire life. NoW, she seeks a better life for her mentally challenged son and herself, and has found a job as a Rudali. This proves difficult for her as she does not know how to cry. Soon, she and a local landlord s son fall in love with each other, but she refuses to ask him for financial help and ruin their love for the sake of money.

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