NAME OF THE BOOK : RI : HOMELAND OF UNCERTAINTY
AUTHOR : PAULAMI DUTTAGUPTA
MY REVIEW :
Well, to be honest, when Paulami didi 1st asked me to review her book, I felt my review would be biased for she is a very dear sister of mine and I have seen her work at wee hours , doing all the research for one single book.I know the effort she has given to write the book. I was given the privilege to attend the book launch on 28th of October, held at Abar Baithak : The Coffee Shop, Kolkata, India. But now after reading the book , I am convinced that the review will not be a biased anymore for the book really deserves to be taught as a text in Departments of Border Studies and Conflict Studies.
Badshah Moitro, the veteran actor of Tollywood Film Industry , who happened to be the chief guest , mentioned this particular point in his keynote address : ” I would like you all to remember that the idea of this particular book came after the movie , RI : THE HOMELAND OF UNCERTAINTY was made. We see movies are being made from books but this is one is just the opposite. And this is what that makes the book special”. Yes, Badshah Moitro’s words are true and before talking about the book, I would like to say that it was a tough challenge for the author to fit the movie in a novel of 30K words as per the guidelines of the publisher. After reading the book, one will feel that word limit was a constraint, a disadvantage to be precise but the author applied words in such a strategic way with intense dialogues, stringing every letter with care that the book stands out as a an unique text, against all odds.
“Shillong ” , “Meghalaya ” : such fascinating names.. aren’t they?? And the 1st thing that comes to your mind, when you hear them? Tourist spot .. holiday.. isn’t it ? Well, they have become a tourist spot of war and if you want to spend your holiday in a chaotic place, taking a break from your peaceful , secured mundane life, well, Shillong is the place for you. As I read through the intriguing pages of the book, I got goosebumps for I never thought that the rivers of blood and hatred have traversed the tranquil scenic beauty of Shillong.
I would not ruin people’s interest by narrating what is there in the book. Rather, I would prefer to limit myself to discuss about the themes which I found extremely interesting and unique :
(1) TERRORIST – FREEDOM FIGHTER DILEMMA : The author, through the character of Manbha has wonderfully portrayed this ‘ terrorist – freedom fighter dilemma ‘ . She reflects upon the situations which make the youth choose these paths and also the breaking of their illusion when they see the merciless killings and become a part of them too.
(2) ROLE OF THE PRESS : Through the interactions between Janet and S.P. Kyndiah, the role of the press in situations of anarchy have been portrayed well by the author. It reflects upon how the press shapes people’s views and also their limitations which often backfires and overshadows the verity of the situation.
(3) SHILLONG : HEAVEN OR HELL : Each and every word of the book bleeds the pain of the people and the police who fight against the terror that has shaken the paradise called, ‘ Shillong’. It will make you cry even if you do not have any idea about North -East; it will make you pray for those souls and it will make you shift your eyes from the news of ISIS or Kashmir and feel grieved for the residents of this paradise.
I don’t feel I am accoutered well enough to rate this book . There are so many sub themes to talk about and discuss that I felt, a single blog post is just not enough. I have tried to talk about the prime themes and I have plans to take up the text ( yes, I prefer to call it a text of study ) and work on it for some research paper in the near future. I also feel, I need to read more about the theories of power , politics and media before I can restart my discussion on the book again. And yes, thank you Paulami didi for writing this wonderful piece of literature and also giving me a signed copy. I feel like a celebrity now 😛 😀