An Education For Rita – Brinda Karat


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August 1975. The Emergency is barely two months old. A group of communists meet at night in a small room in Kamla Nagar in north Delhi. They sit on the floor around a flickering oil lamp. Thirteen of them are men, workers from the Birla Cotton Textile Mill. One is a woman. She has given up an airline job in London, and dreams of drama school, to come back to India to join the communist party. With arrest a real possibility, she is asked to take on a new name. Thus Brinda becomes Rita, a name she keeps for a decade.

An Education for Rita transports us into a Delhi most don’t know, introducing us to fascinating characters and tumultuous events — from strikes of the textile workers to the displacement of the poor during the Emergency, from the anti-dowry struggles of the early 1980s to the horrific anti-Sikh violence of 1984.

This is the story of a remarkable transformation, of grit and perseverance, and of courage. It is also the story of lifelong bonds that transcend class and background, of comradeship and sisterhood. Above all, it is the story of a young woman of privilege discovering the hard and harsh realities of the urban working class, the industrial areas and the bastis of Delhi, and learning to organise to fight for a better world.


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