Set in Patna, the capital of Bihar, this novel by Phanishwar Nath Renu speaks of harsh contrary energies in the lives of women. In this city idealistic women who wish to secure opportunities for other women are pitted against not-so-idealistic women who wish to secure gross privileges forthemselves. Bela, a former freedom fighter, administers a hostel for working women in the district of Bankipur. Betrayals and disappointment in love have deepened her selflessness, and she refuses to yield to a corrupt secretary of the board of trustees who wants to use the young boarders for herpersonal advancement in influencing government officials. In the countryside of Renu's novels, the dynamism of young pioneers wins out. Men figure in the narrative only as subsidiary characters, while unusually spirited women appear, with strong transformative powers.Freed from Disgrace also speaks about the effect of modernity on rural life. Formal education, scientific agriculture, and democratic politics are perceived as major agents for change. With few equals in Hindi literature in terms of characterization, dialect, folk song, and high diction, this novelwill appeal to general readers as well as students and scholars of literature, Indian writing in translation, gender studies, and cultural studies.