Thursday, 6 December 2012

The girl with the golden parasol

Author in Hindi – Uday Prakash. Translated in English by Jason Prakash
Publisher – Penguin Books
Rating – Good
A book translated from hindi to english, it is closely knit with the Hindi heartland and it’s teeming problems of corruption, casteism and petty politics. The story is like a beehive of lots of individual stories held together with the protagonists’ desire to lead a life of dignity.  
Rahul is a university student at a college in MP and a hostelier. The hostel residents are terrorised by local goons who have political, police and college administration backing; who incidentally are all Brahmins and do not look kindly at other castes. The local goons target Sapam Tomba, a student from Manipur. They rob him, try to sodomnise him and make him pee on the heater. Unable to bear the cruelty, Sapam commits suicide. The hostel students vow to protect themselves since the college administration does nothing; are in fact hand in gloves with the entire nexus. They form their own group and next time the goons come, they trash them and hand them over to the police. However, the miscreants are soon out on bail seeking revenge.
In the midst of all this, Rahul falls in love with Anjali Joshi, daughter of a cabinet minister. The love story flows like honey through the beehive, soothing yet dangerous in it’s capacity to provoke violence in the gatekeepers. The goons have direct contact with her brother and she reports to Rahul that the goons will be after them. 
Soon, there are incidents of hostel students being beaten out at different public places. The local newspaper runs defamatory articles on the students accusing them of inciting violence in the city. Police raids the hostel and arrest two students who are cruelly beaten up.
At times rhetoric, the book cruelly shakes one out of the limbo of metropolitan living and shows what 80% of India is facing.  How casteism, corruption, greed, favouritism is eating up India’s youth – their dreams, their loves. After such harrowing experiences, what dreams are these students left with? Will hope still live on; will they  join the same system which oppressed them or will they take up arms to defend their ideals? The book forces the reader to ponder.
The author - Uday Prakash
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