Off the Beaten Track: The Story of My Unconventional Life by Saeeda Bano was originally written in Urdu. It has now been translated by her grand-daughter Shahana Raza. Published by Penguin, the book hit the shelves in October 2020.
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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 represented by women for four successive generations — her determination, independence, and frankness make this a remarkable memoir and an important disruption in India’s understanding of her own past.
About the Author
Saeeda Bano is the first woman in India to work as a radio newsreader.