Friday, June 14, 2013

Shoes of the Dead Book Review

Before I started this book, I checked up a little about the author, Kota Neelima and her previous works. Amongst articles and abstract paintings done by her, she also has 2 books published under her name. Death of a Moneylender and Riverstones. Both these books have one thing in common, the sense of true and unabridged reality.
Before I start my review, as always, here’s the book cover summary to give you a better idea of what this particular book is all about.
Crushed by successive crop failures and the burden of debt, Sudhakar Bhadra kills himself. The powerful district committee of Mityala routinely dismisses the suicide and refuses compensation to his widow. Gangiri, his brother, makes it his life’s mission to bring justice to the dead by influencing the committee to validate similar farmer suicides.

Keyur Kashinath of the Democratic Party - first-time Member of Parliament from Mityala, and son of Vaishnav Kashinath, the party’s general secretary - is the heir to his father’s power in Delhi politics. He faces his first crisis every suicide in his constituency certified by the committee as debt-related is a blot on the party’s image, and his competence.

The brilliant farmer battles his inheritance of despair, the arrogant politician fights for the power he has received as legacy. Their two worlds collide in a conflict that pushes both to the limits of morality from where there is no turning back. At stake is the truth about ‘inherited’ democratic power. And at the end, there can only be one winner.
 Passionate and startlingly insightful, Shoes of the Dead is a chilling parable of modern-day India.
First of all, I would like to say that if it was supposed to be an eye opener to the plight and misery of farmers in India, I was already aware of most of the problems of poverty and the ways that the farmers have to cope with it. But that being said, this book has definitely been an interesting read, and will be most educational to those who are not aware of the predicament and troubles faced by the Indian farmers today.
According to the book cover summary, this is a narrative about the Indian politics, how it affects the farmers and the drastic measures that they have to take in order to provide for their families. And even though the political influence was there, I believe that it could have been more elaborately done and in a better manner to show just how the issues are being kept at bay and covered up. By that I don’t mean a conspiracy theory or anything, just a little more involvement would have done the trick for me.
The book is very well written and shows that the author has done a really through research about the subject matter, the farmer suicides in India.
The one thing I really liked about it was the fact that even though in the summary it suggested just one protagonist and an antagonist, but in reality this book has a lot of characters which serve as protagonists and the antagonists. For one, there’s the journalist Nazar Prabhakar, without whose help, Gangiri Bhadra would not have been able to attract the attention of the people concerned and connected to make a change. Also, amongst the antagonists there are the Maha Sarpanch Lambodar and money lender Durga Das. Each of them has their own agenda and purpose for making Gangiri Bhadra miserable and creating problems every step of his way.
I loved the character of Gangiri Bhadra. He was a hard working common man, who had to give up a lot in life and yet he had the determination and courage to fight for the injustices done to his brother.  It wasn’t that he was fearless or anything but he did have a strong sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. His constant struggle between fighting for justice and trying to provide his brother’s family with the basic necessities is heart-breaking.
The character of Keyur Kashinath wasn’t what I expected it to be. It wasn’t that he wasn’t ruthless, conniving and opportunistic enough but the sudden change in his personality after meeting up with Gangiri, was a little far-fetched for my taste. The same is the case with the rest at the end of the book. The change of heart amongst all the antagonists was toeing the believability line for me.
One thing that I was really glad about was that this book didn’t turn into some kind love story with “complication”, but that being said, the background story for Nazar Prabhakar could have been developed more.
The end, even though it saddened me to read, was something that I had figured out when the initial crisis broke. It was very disheartening but it also gave the book the final and total level of honestly and stark reality which this book had promised.
In the end all I can think about is the line that’s been printed on the inside cover of this book, “None of us can match the powers we challenge. It is an unequal fight, but we do have the dead on our side.
This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

No comments :

Post a Comment