‘A Wonderful Tale – Riveting and Engaging’
‘Ri-Homeland of Uncertainty’ by Paulami Duttagupta is a book, which deals with the issues of militancy in India’s north-eastern region in general, and Meghalaya in particular. While many people are aware about the terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, very few of us know about a similar situation in north-east parts of India and main reasons behind this. This book makes us conscious about both such volatile situations in these regions and causative factors leading to these situations. Most importantly, the book brings light on the plight of locals living in these regions. With noteworthy elegance, precise prose, Paulami explores identity and exile, optimism and pessimism, and the countless fault lines in the lives of the people living in the shadow of the war raised by militancy.
Paulami Duttagupta deserves all the praises for penning down such a gripping tale, which leaves a long-lasting message amongst the readers. This book does not make any attempt to be entertaining. On the other hand, this book speaks the real truth. The book is more of a reality than an imaginary tale.
This book is the adaptation of the national award winning Khasi film, the screenplay of which was written by the same author. The word ‘Ri’ is a Khasi word, which stands for Homeland and this book is about the notion of Homeland. The cover looks eye-catching and will automatically turn heads of the readers. This cover page has been taken from the movie and convincingly portrays the mood of the book. The black background with sad faces clearly reflects the conflict between the two main characters of the book. While the book is fairly short and can be finished in one sitting, the impression it leaves is long-lasting. The narration is coherent and fluid. No even a single part of the storyline makes you bore. The characters have been developed well. One can easily relate with these characters as they look really believable. From the names to the ways these characters converse with each other, the readers feel that these are not fictional but exist around us.
The book takes us on an amazing journey of the beautiful landscape of Meghalaya and India-Bangladesh borderlands. However, at the same time, this book takes us inside the minds of so- called terrorists or freedom fighters. Who are these people? What do they want? Are they really inhumane or heartless? The author tries to answer these questions through the character of Manbha, who is a young blood searching for recognition. He has dreams of bringing independence to Meghalaya and for that he is even ready to lay down his own life. At the same time, he is not ready to take the lives of the innocents as a cost for that freedom. With deep psychological insights and prose that wraps around you slowly but steadily, the author has written a hauntingly beautiful tale.
While some people in our country like to involve in big debates related to terrorism in Kashmir and other parts of our country, same set of people have no idea of what is happening in north-eastern parts of our country. This book is certainly an eye-opener for these people.
This book has violence but also a humane side of it. A highly recommended read…:)
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange of an honest review.