Anis Kidwai was born in 1906 in Barabanki into a somewhat impoverished but nonetheless literate and cultured zamindari family of Awadh. Until the death of her father when she was eleven years old, Anis was fortunate enough to receive a rigorous education. Thereafter, Anis remained sequestered behind the purdah until the late 1930s when the last decade of India’s freedom struggle allowed her a greater degree of participation in outside events. It was the murder of her husband, Shafi, in Mussoorie in October 1947 that catapulted Anis into the activist role that she had always dreamt of. In October 1947 itself Anis came to Delhi to offer her life to Gandhi; she wanted to live out the rest of her years in service to the nation. In just a few months, working alongside Subhadra Joshi, Anis became closely involved with the efforts towards peace in the city’s neighbourhoods and in the rural areas of the province; and with Mridula Sarabhai she helped in the recovery of abducted women. Azadi ki Chhao Mein (In Freedom’s Shade) is Anis Kidwai’s Urdu memoir of the first two turbulent years of independent India. Written in 1949, the book did not appear until 1974 when it was first published by Subhadra Joshi to great critical acclaim.