Book Review: ‘Three Countries, Three Lives’ by Lindy Rajan Cartner

Three Countries, Three Lives: A Doctor's Journey Through History


Book Title: Three Countries, Three Lives: A Doctor’s Story
Author: Lindy Rajan Cartner
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 978-9395853941
Date Published: Oct. 3, 2023
Price: INR 602

Three Countries, Three Lives by Lindy Rajan Cartner Book Cover

Book Review

In “Three Countries, Three Lives: A Doctor’s Story,” the remarkable memoir of Lindy Rajan Cartner takes us on a captivating journey spanning three generations and three countries: Burma, India, and England. This rich narrative, covering the years from 1870 to 1977, offers a unique window into the shifting landscapes of history, culture, and identity.

Lindy Rajan Cartner, an Indian Tamil born in Rangoon, weaves an intricate tale that traverses India’s path to independence in 1947. Her story unearths the complex dynamics of race and the profound impact of British colonialism on the subcontinent. Her early years in Rangoon, set against the backdrop of the 1942 Mandalay bombing, provide a vivid backdrop to her coming of age at a transformative juncture in India’s history.

The memoir delves into the intricacies of Lindy’s family, from her grandfather’s remarkable journey to become a doctor against all odds to her mother’s trailblazing role as a despatch rider for the British during the war. It serves as a compelling exploration of the challenges faced by Indian women, caught between traditional customs and their quest for personal fulfillment.

As an Indian woman and a doctor, Lindy’s dual perspective adds depth to her narrative. Her recollections of serving in underprivileged Indian communities and, later, in the 1960s, England’s NHS offer profound insights into the changing roles of women and the evolving face of medical practice.

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Three Countries, Three Lives” also unveils the racial prejudices entrenched in both British and Indian societies during this pivotal period. Cartner’s narrative shines a much-needed light on the lives of Indian women, the social transformations following India’s independence, and the intricate tapestry of shared history between Britain and India.

This poignant memoir is a remarkable testament to Lindy Rajan Cartner’s life and the era she inhabited. It is a compelling account of personal growth, cultural shifts, and societal challenges, making it an essential read for those interested in the multifaceted lives of Indian doctors and women during the twentieth century.

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