Name of the book: Aryabhatta Clan.
Author: Sudipto Das.
Sudipto Das always makes it challenging for me to review his books. Having known the characters for the last 4 years, having worked with a few of them( yes, ‘WORKED’) and being one of the beta readers of the book, I try my best, to give a very unbiased review. However, my readers should also take this fact into consideration because if the author and his books can form a personal bonding, that speaks a lot more than the reviews written.
(a) A gripping thriller, the theme points out an exigency of our time. While I do not agree with the author’s version of the incident of JNU, I cannot and will not question him. It’s his version of the story and that’s the beauty of fiction. My schooling in Comparative Literature has taught me to respect each and every text irrespective of ideological differences and this is what I am doing here. It does take a lot of courage to write against Islamic fundamentalism and the author took risks for which he deserves a round of applause.
(b) What I love so much about the author and his books are the motifs and here again, too, Sudipto Das didn’t fail to enrich his readers with such an engrossing tales of carpets and numbers and what not! The book opens a world of its own and like a time machine teleports us to long-forgotten past which encompasses the South –Asian countries and speaks volumes about their shared socio-political-cultural history.
(c) Through the portrayal of Kubha, the girl who escapes after facing repeated gang-rape, her mother Afsar who maintains her calm knowing how her daughter is tortured, the author shows how the victims of rape and their families can deal with the situation and face the society breaking all the stereotypical notions. These strong female characters instigate every human being to live; they teach us to conquer our emotions, our fears and face the situation with realistic, logical approaches. It’s this journey that gets us hooked to the story, it’s the characters who become our inspirations.
Being an author myself, I know how difficult it is to pen down such a heavy book. Sudipto Das, however, has become quite an expert in this category. Nowhere did I feel lost.
(3) Other significant characteristics:
(a) I have written it before and I am writing it now: one of the things I love about the author is the extensive research he does for his books. Aryabhatta Clan is of no exception either. Just flip through the references and you will find how much effort he has given to churn out this brilliant tale.
(b) With such a strong historical background, the characterization too has been taken care of pretty well.
Even if the novel looks like a pro-right wing novel, I wouldn’t technically categorize it as a political novel because of the historical backdrop and the presence of strong Muslim characters. Rather, the novel draws heavily upon the socio-cultural history of the Indian sub-continent and our beloved Kubha emerges out as a representative of that undivided India raped by political goons. Aryabhatta Clan demands immense attention and one needs to give it a lot of time to help it bloom into a magnum opus; it’s definitely not a book one would pick up for a light read.
I would love to congratulate the author for gifting us this enthralling read and wish him all the very best for his upcoming novels.
The Aryabhata Clan, available at:
To know more about the author, follow him at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSudiptoDas/