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Rita C. Ford

Nashville, TN USA


Art: Dhari by Artist Rita C. Ford
When thinking of India, the first image that comes to my mind is of an Indian woman, Dhari, a character in Marilyn Harris’ series of historical romance novels. The series is a family saga about an 1800’s English family named Eden. Dhari is one of the love interests of its main character, John Murray Eden.

Dhari, a royal Indian Princess, owes her life to a Christian missionary who saved her from suttee. Suttee is a former Indian funeral practice in which the widow is killed on her husband’s funeral pyre. Thereafter, she is shunned by her countrymen. Dhari lies to Indian soldiers in an attempt to save John Eden’s life during the Sepoy uprising of 1857. They mutilate her by cutting out her tongue as punishment. Dhari speaks only with her eyes.

In my mind’s eye (I always create a mental image of the characters as I read), Dhari is a beautiful, dignified, dark Indian woman with large brown eyes with flecks of gold. She hides her face behind her red veil to cover the emotional and physical wound of being disfigured in such a cruel way.

The brutal treatment of Dhari in this novel is intensely thought provoking. If it produces any political or emotional response, I hope that the energy will be focused on further research and action to alleviate the ongoing plight of Indian women particularly widows who still suffer after the death of their husbands. In traditional India, a woman moves with her husbands' family. Without her husband she is often despised and even thrown out of her home. She may end up alone in the street.

Main colors used in this palette are cadmium red, black, light red, cobalt blue, burnt umber, phthalo blue, viridian, cadmium yellow, yellow ochre, and white.

The character context is from Marilyn Harris’s “The Eden Passion”, Copyright 1979.

Detail Images

Detail Image for art <b>Dhari

Dhari speaks only with her eyes.

Detail Image for art <b>Dhari

Detail Image for art <b>Dhari


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