Off the Beaten Track
Saeeda Bano was the first woman in India to work as a radio newsreader, known then and still as the doyenne of Urdu broadcasting. Over her unconventional and courageous life, she walked out of a suffocating marriage, witnessed the violence of Partition, lost her son for a night in a refugee camp, ate toast with Nehru and fell in love with a married man who would, in the course of their twenty-five-year relationship, become the Mayor of Delhi. Though she was born into privilege in Bhopal-the only Indian state to be ruled by women for four successive generations-her determination, independence and frankness make this a remarkable memoir and a crucial disruption in India's understanding of her own past.
SHAHANA RAZA is Saeeda Bano's grand-daughter. She has a master's in film and video production and has worked in television, radio and print media. A liberal feminist, Shahana is an independent writer and video producer, a wannabe vegan and a dilettante environmentalist. She currently lives in Dubai with her husband and two children.
SAEEDA BANO was the first woman in India to work as a radio newsreader.