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Ahimsa, a story from India

Book: Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar

Ages: 10+

Relationship to country: Takes place in India before Indian independence

Book in a nutshell: A brave girl fights for freedom and justice in India


I want to tell a story from the book. There was once an emperor who liked to brag about the loyalty of his subjects. To show off (he liked showing off but it had never faild before), he told everyone to bring one pitcher of milk to fill up his swimming pool. But, milk was expensive. So, every man and woman in the kingdom thought, 'I should bring a pitcher of water because no one will notice my pitcher of water if everyone else brings milk.' But, since everyone thought the same thing, the emperor ended up with a pool full of water instead of milk.

This small story explains a lot about the big story in the wonderful book Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar. In this book, a girl named Anjali had her whole life change when her mother became a freedom fighter. Her mother burned Anjali's beautiful clothes and started spinning her own clothes. She did this to help India win independence from the British. 

Anjali also starts to think about Dalits, the people in India who are in a caste who have to do all of the unclean jobs, like cleaning toilets. The Dalit children also were not allowed to go to school or learn how to read. I felt very sad when I read about how Dalits were treated. I also felt kind of spoiled, because my lfie seems very easy. Anjali starts to become a freedom fighter like her mom, working for independence for India from the British and for justice for the Dalits.

Being a freedom fighter is like the story about the milk and the pool. Everyone has to do their small part to make a difference. 

This book was so, so good. There are some parts that are sad, so I recommend it for older kids.