15 April 2022 | By: Writing Buddha

RISING: 30 WOMEN WHO CHANGED INDIA by Kiran Manral (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!

2002nd BLOG POST

7th Book of 2022

I have known Kiran Manral as a celebrated author since a long time but I couldn’t get a chance to read any of her work. Finally, in the month of March 2022, on the occasion of Women’s Day, her latest book released named “Rising: 30 Women Who Changed India” which speaks about 30 different women who changed the mindset, stereotypes and gave a new definition on what an Indian women or girl can do and achieve. I generally don’t like reading a book for a long time as I want to move to the next as soon as possible but here, I read story of one woman per day on an average and dedicated the whole month of March to this book which speaks about these inspiring personalities.


Kiran Manral has very perfectly chosen the women who comes from all walks of life such as entertainment, movies, sports, entrepreneurship, government job, judiciary system, educational, science, rural panchayat etc. Another great attempt is in considering such personalities whom we haven’t heard about before or who aren’t that popular even after they achieved something incredible through their legacy for the Indian girls. Every personality has been dedicated a chapter of around 5-10 pages and its like a small summary of their life just to ensure that you are introduced and know about them here onwards. I was quite ashamed of myself for not even knowing names of many of them even though they have initiated something not many could dare even after 75 years of independence today.


The book speaks about how women are generally stereotyped and they have to break multiple shackles to achieve something that men can do without any question towards them. Author manages to let us know that the gender equality that we talk about today and which I believe we have almost achieved in many ways have been possible due to few of such women who didn’t think only about themselves but about the whole system as well as other females around them. They didn’t let their dreams and aspirations die just because no other women had attempted it before them or the society considered it wrong for them. They achieved the unbelievable by managing themselves even when they had to go against family, spouse, society or system at times. There are many ladies who have gone through divorces in these stories and you can understand the challenge they had to endure during those times when it would have been such a setback to manage everything from family to work alone.


The book starts with the politicians such as Sushma Swaraj and Sheila Dikshit and also discusses about multiple film personalities such as Lata Mangeshkar, M. S. Subbulakshmi, Madhuri Dikshit, Rekha, Ekta Kapoor, Aparna Sen etc later in the chapters. Author also gives enough prominence to Sport personalities where women from different sports are discussed such as Karnam Malleshwari, Hima Das, P. T. Usha, P. V. Sindhu, Mary Kom etc. I personally loved reading about them as I could relate with Sports very easily and many of their achievements happened in my notice so it was like getting the whole thing replayed again in my mind.


Then Kiran also gets into the characters who have accomplished the zenith in completely special fields such as knowing about Tessy Thomas being the Missile Woman of India made me feel ashamed that I didn’t know that we even have someone who has achieved this title. We only know about APJ Abdul Kalam as Missile Man but we also have a woman who have achieved the same. I am pretty sure that 99% of Indians don’t know about her. The book speaks about entrepreneur, Kiran Mazumdar – Shaw, who is an inspiration for so many women. I liked reading about how she managed to survive against all ups and downs. We get to know about Shakuntala Devi and her struggles after she got famous for her fast-processing brain which could calculate tough mathematical computations within seconds. I felt personal happiness in reading about Menaka Guruswamy who helped the whole LGBTQ community by fighting for them in court and removing the long-awaited section 377 imposed on them. She further says that now she wants to legalize same-sex marriage in India on which she is working day-and-night. Such people are meant to be celebrated in our country. There are many other personalities who are discussed in this book – not all of them can be discussed in this short review.


Now talking about the drawbacks – I must say that few women are not discussed in terms of their struggles but author could only manage to tell us about the way their career progressed. An example – the chapter on Madhuri Dikshit and P. T. Usha manages to talk only about what happened when in their career rather than what it took for them to do it. Secondly, I believe few personalities are added just for managing to get the book picked by the reader such as Madhuri Dikshit and Rekha. I don’t think they are among the list of women who changed India in any way. There are many better than them who could have been covered. Thirdly, you won’t find pictures of any woman listed in the book, not even in Black and White. It would have been great if Kiran could have managed to have their pictures so we could have known them little better.


Overall, this book deserves its place in your bookshelf. It is really exciting to know about how few women have worked upon to take India to the level it is today. I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5 – for its intention and versatility.






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