THE LIVES OF FREDA: THE BLOG
These photos of the launch of The Lives of Freda in Chennai earlier this week have been taken by Deepali Saxena, who is in the TV journalism class I teach at the Asian College of Journalism - thanks Deepali!
'It was a pleasure to read this extraordinary book and I encourage you to do the same.' That's Awanthi Vardaraj's verdict in her review of The Lives of Freda on the new multi-lingual site Asiaville.
Her piece includes video of interviews with Kabir Bedi and the author of the biography, Andrew Whitehead. Do check it out! www.asiavillenews.com/article/review-the-lives-of-freda-by-andrew-whitehead-3292
The actor Kabir Bedi - Freda Bedi's son - was the chief guest at the Chennai launch of The Lives of Freda yesterday evening. It took place at the splendid new auditorium of the Asian College of Journalism, and was presided over by the dean of studies, Nalini Rajan, who is also a novelist.
Three students - from left to right below, Madhulika Gupta, Nivetha Sekar and Aman Khanna - asked questions of both Kabir Bedi and of Andrew Whitehead (all three are in his TV journalism class at ACJ).
Kabir was generous in his praise of the book, and fielded questions from both the audience as well as the panel. More than a hundred people attended, and lots of copies of the book were sold - and indeed signed.
The event was live streamed on ACJ's digital platforms - and you can see a particularly pertinent clip from the evening here: https://twitter.com/mvdhiraj/status/1107991888307482624 And the New Indian Express has done a quick turn-round story on the launch, Freda Bedi: an ode to a remarkable woman
The Hindu has - rather marvellously - carried another article about The Lives of Freda, pointing to tomorrow's launch event in Chennai which Kabir Bedi will attend. Do come along!
That's the headline of a piece in today's Times of India about Freda, and my biography of her. It's written by the paper's London correspondent, Naomi Canton. As well as talking to me, she also spoke to Kabir Bedi about his mother.
The article uses this photograph of Freda - taken in the summer of 1947 when she made her first trip back to her home city of Derby for fourteen years.
And the boy in her arms? Kabir Bedi of course - who was born in Lahore in January 1946 so would at this time have been about eighteen months old.
It's so fitting that the Tribune, the paper that Freda Bedi used to write for, has done a big spread on her and the biography being published in the next few days.
Freda had a path-breaking weekly column at one time entitled 'From a Woman's Window' - a very early journalistic endeavour by a woman for women and often addressing gender-specific issues. The Tribune also sent Freda to Bengal in December 1943 to report on the calamitous famine there.
When Freda wrote for the paper, it was based in what was then her home city of Lahore - indeed it was the city's leading nationalist daily. It's now in Chandigarh.
The paper's archives were recently digitised which meant that the task of retrieving Freda's journalism - and stories about her and her husband - was hugely easier than in the old days of leafing through mouldering volumes of bound copies of the paper.
Here's the link to today's article: https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/spectrum/fearless-freda/725486.
And if you want to see the article as laid out - it's the cover of the Sunday Tribune's Spectrum supplement - then here's the link:
Ahead of the publication next month of The Lives of Freda, the excellent Srinagar-based daily Rising Kashmir has published a piece by me about Freda Bedi's role in the Kashmiri resistance in the mid-1940s and then in support of the radical administration that took power locally at the close of 1947.
This photo comes from about 1948, when Freda Bedi was a member of a left-wing women's militia in Kashmir, the women's Self-Defence Corps.
She is with her two sons - Kabir is in her arms while Ranga is astride Rufus, the family's Great Dane.
The Lives of Freda
- a blog about my biography of Freda Bedi