The Cuckoo's Nest
The Cuckoo’s Nest is the story of Madam Agatha, a former devout nun who, after renouncing the order, decides to take up the cudgels for the cause of tolerance and pluralism. She decides to set up a unique institution called ‘Nest’ for empowering the hapless girls from all over the country, discarded by society. The paramount condition set by her is that none of the resident girls are allowed to talk of their religion or caste inside the campus. The novelist attempts to portray the kind of challenges she has to face from vested interests all around while working towards secularism, and how she manages to swim against the tide. The theme is quite contemporary and topical, and some of the issues treated in this novel are staring Indian society and polity in the face today. One increasingly comes across certain divisive forces trying to promote othering in order to disturb the cultural and communal harmony in the country. It is significant here that the eternal optimist Agatha believes strongly that even in this darkest hour, all is not lost. And she continues her fight for what she thinks is right. This novel works like a soothing balm for the human spirit, tired and beaten down by false ideologies.