The first time I heard about Narendra Jadhav was when my father told me about him. Coincidentally, Jadhav’s original book in Marathi is titled Amcha Baap ani Amhi (i.e. Our father and Us), and just like Jadhav’s father was responsible for his education, my father is a constant source of my interest in reading. Although it would have been a pleasure for me to read Jadhav’s original work in Marathi, I was just as happy to see his book at a friend’s place and remembered his name in spite of the gap in time that I first heard about him.
Initially I had a rough time reading the book because I was constantly reminded of the fact that it was translated from Marathi to English. The language seemed awkward and I wondered if that was because of translation difficulties or just a bad case of translating phrases.  I wondered if translating this book was a mistake. But as I kept going on, the story started to become more important than the language. When I got to the end and read Jadhav’s own writing from his perspective (rather than his father’s or mother’s, which is the case through most of the book), I realized that Jadhav’s own language was fluent and rich in its simplicity and intellect.
For a Marathi-speaking girl, this book was a fairly easy read, and I’m not sure how someone who is completely removed from the life that Jadhav describes will identify or empathize with him. But judging from the book’s success and wide-spread recognition, I don’t think that was a problem. And for precisely that reason, I hope that the book is read by more people. In Maharashtra caste-system is still a problem, and I’ve experienced it first hand, when an aunt refused to accept her daughter-in-law, who was supposedly from the “lower” or “backward” class. My grandmother, who was very advanced and educated for her years, was not open-minded about the caste-system and it was disappointing to have such beliefs within the family. Fortunately, my parents never made such distinctions. Jadhav’s book is a great reflection on the life of the people who come from the lower caste of the Hindu religious system. Can you tolerate being labeled “untouchable”? Can you imagine how it feels to have restrictions on moving about in society, with a broom attached to your waist, so you’re constantly wiping out your own existence? Jadhav talks about this, all the way up to Dr Ambedkar, who initiated the movement to discontinue the caste-system. Dr Ambedkar’s influence on Jadhav’s father and Jadhav himself is quite heavy and it is really useful to read about Ambedkar’s work.
Overall, although it started sort of strangely, I got engrossed in this book, and only hope that more such works get translated into English, so that the world is aware of the intricacies of India and its history.
 Most Marathi readers will tell you what a big tragedy it is that P.L. Deshpande cannot be translated into English and we’re robbing the English-reading public of one of Maharashtra’s greatest writers.