Book Review – Autobiography of Anandibai Karve

Book Review 

Maze Puran(Marathi)ByAnandibai Karve(Published 1944, 2nd Edition 1951 by Keshav Bhikaji Davale, Mumbai) 



I have before me a fascinating little book titled Maze Puran –   the memoirs of Anandibai Karve, the wife of Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve, written in Marathi. This autobiography, originally published in 1944, and revised by Kaveri Karve, Anandibai’s daughter-in-law, in 1951, is a story of extraordinary grit, determination, courage, resilience, sacrifice and optimism in the face of adversities shown by Anandibai Karve in facing and overcoming the trials and tribulations of early widowhood, and her subsequent marriage, pioneering work and intrepid life with the well-known 19th-century Maharastrian social reformer Bharat Ratna Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve. 


I had earlier written about three books pertaining to the life and times of Maharshi Karve and have given the links below at the end of this article. Please do read it. 

This is not a voluminous tome, as some memoirs tend to be, but a small book written in unpretentious yet articulate storytelling style which keeps you engrossed till the very end. Anandibai Karve writes in simple sincere readable style with sincerity, honest forthrightness and remarkable candour. This is particularly evident in the chapter on her illustrious husband where she describes his personality, character, strengths, frailties, and their marital, domestic and familial relationship with frank candidness without mincing words. 

The story of her early life is indeed heart rending – married at the age of eight to a widower twenty years older than her, she became a widow just three months after her marriage and had to endure the humiliating social prejudice and difficult life of a child-widow. 

She vividly describes the turning point in her life when she joined Sharda Sadan of Pandita Ramabai in Mumbai, which began her emancipation from the manacles of widowhood. During his visits to Mumbai her father used to stay with Dhondo Keshav Karve. She narrates, with a touch of subtle humour, how Karve, a widower, when queried about remarriage, expressed his desire to marry a widow, and Anandibai’s father offered her hand in marriage to Karve. 

She unfolds the story of her social work and family life in such a lucid precise down-to-earth manner, sans pontification, that keeps the reader riveted till the very end. Her poignant end is depicted by Kaveri Karve in the last chapter. 

If you know Marathi, read the book. It is interesting and illuminating. I hope the publishers or the Hingne Stree Shikshan Samstha brings out an English translation soon. 

Do follow the links below to know more about books on the life and times of Maharshi Karve. 



And if you come across any literature on Maharshi Karve please be so good as to let me know. 




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