THE LIVES OF FREDA: THE BLOG
The Lives of Freda is the lead review in the latest issue of Chowkidar, the twice yearly publication of BACSA. That stands for the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia - though the organisation is more robust (more than a thousand members) and of wider interests than that baleful name might suggest.
The reviewer is Rosemary Raza, a former British diplomat who married a Pakistani politician (I mention this simply to indicate that her own life story has some similarities with Freda's). She completed a PhD and subsequent book on British women writers on early colonial India.
The final paragraph of the review reads:
'The author was fortunate in being given access to extensive family archives, as well as recordings which Freda herself made in her later years. The resulting picture is intimate and perceptive - but by no means a hagiography. Freda Bedi was a remarkable and truly impressive woman, though some who encountered her were less awed than others. In taking all this evidence into account, Whitehead gives us a compelling picture of an outstanding character and the age in which she lived. Highly recommended.'
A Chennai-based friend, Yusuf Madhiya - a businessman and heritage enthusiast as well as an artist - has presented me with his portrait of Freda Bedi.
It is based on the photograph of Freda in Lahore in the 1940s - the image which appears on the cover of The Lives of Freda. It is such a touching portrait and kind gift - thanks Yusuf.
It's now a year since the publication of The Lives of Freda, and still the reviews come in. And the latest is a very full and warm review by the historian Reba Som in the literary quarterly Biblio. She describes the biography as 'compelling'.
Here's the review in full.
The Lives of Freda
- a blog about my biography of Freda Bedi