‘Malika Shaikh’s warts-an-all account of her marriage to Namdeo Dhasal [is] a blunt, even shocking story of abuse, neglect and misery…But it is also a story of resilience, of turning defeat by virtue of survival into something that looks like victory.’—India Today
Born to Communist-activist parents—her father, Shahir, was a trade-union leader and legendary Marathi folk singer—Malika Amar Shaikh was a cosseted child. Brought up amidst the hurly-burly of Maharashtrian politics of the 1960s and exposed to the best and the brightest in Bombay’s cultural scene, she was drawn to poetry and art. She was barely out of school when she married Namdeo Dhasal, swept off her feet by the co-founder of the radical Dalit Panthers and celebrated ‘poet of the underground’. But the marriage soon crumbled. Namdeo was an absent husband and father—given to drink, womanizing and violence. And while he would repent his actions and they would make up, he never changed, and Malika plunged deeper into loneliness, rage and despair.
I Want to Destroy Myself is Malika’s searing, angry account of her life with Dhasal. The unvarnished story of a marriage and of a woman and writer seeking her space in a man’s world, it is also a portrait of the Bombay of poets, activists, prostitutes and fighters. Published originally in Marathi, this shattering memoir quickly became a sensation. Jerry Pinto’s superb translation brings this unusual classic to a whole new generation of readers.