Saturday, September 26, 2009

Midnight's Children


Author: Salman Rushdie

Language: English

Pages: 552

Publisher: Avon Books

First Published in India: April, 1982

Salman Rushdie is a well known author; he earned his reputation and celebrity status more or less because of this book “Midnight’s Children” only. This book enjoyed lot of controversy and as it always happens any controversy make any book overnight hit. I was eager to read this book for very long time. I read one book ‘Fury’ of Salman Rushdie earlier and I did not like that book at all. So I was little circumspect before picking up this book. But the controversy about the book also got better of me. And the fact that book is based on partition of India and Pakistan in 1947. So I had to read it.

The book uses the background of India Pakistan partition. The central character of this book is Saleem born at very moment when India gets its Independence at the stroke of 12 at night. So he automatically receives the semi celebrity status. But that’s not all; he also got some super natural powers. So his future and India’s future coincides with each other. He has telepathical connection with all the children who born on the midnight of Indian independence. All these kids born at midnight had some super natural powers. And Saleem is a platform where these midnight’s children can communicate with each other. This sounds interesting isn’t it? But there is twist in the story. In fact there are too many twists in this story. This book is frictional in true sense. The twist is that Saleem has been interchanged at the maternity hospital by a nurse with another midnight children Shiva. Then Saleem has to go through consequences of that.

The book starts with narrating the story of Saleem’s maternal grandfather, who is a doctor in Kashmir. Book describes his very interesting love story and his moving out of Kashmir. Then it follows with the story of Saleem’s mother Amina, her first marriage second marriage and birth of Saleem. After that story Saleem’s life starts which moves from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and again back to India. While the story of Saleem and his family progress, the book also narrates the transition of India as country from pre-independence to post-independence. It covers whole history of India and Indian subcontinent. Book describes the journey of India from pre-independence days of India of ‘Jalianwala mascara’, independence, partition, post-independence in Bombay and Pakistan. It also describes the birth of Bangladesh.

As I said before book enjoyed lot of hype due to controversial subject of the book. It covers almost all topics out of which if any author selects any one topic to write the book. He will easily attract the readers. ‘Midnight’s Children’ covers various topics from the Indian independence, partition, Pakistan’s militarization, birth of Bangladesh, to emergency period in India. But does it really deserve the popularity it got? I would say no. The book just had too many things happening in it. It is unnecessarily complicated.

If I have to rate this book I will give it 6 out of 10.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"Dhanya Anjanicha Sut"

Book Review: “Dhanya Anjanicha Sut”

Author: Aanand Sadhale

Language: Marathi

Pages: 252

Cost: 16 Rs.

Publisher: Navbharat Prakashan

First Published in India: 1975

Aanand Sadhale is author of one of my most favorite books “Ha Jay Navacha Itihas Aahe”. A book which is must read for everyone. A book which taught me there is always another side to the story, even to the History. And there is nothing totally black or totally white, but lots of shades of grey in every one of us. “Ha Jay Navach Itihas Aahe” is a book based on Indian Epic “Mahabharat”. As the name of the book suggests the book states that Mahabharata is a History of Victorious side. If the Kauravas had won the war the story of Mahabharata could have different all together. Aanand Sadhale wrote many books to explain this other side of “Mahabharata”. Aanand Sadhale wrote many such books on almost all the Indian epics. He separates spirituality, holiness and god from all these epics and describe whole epic in logical way. So I think his versions of epics are much more believable. It may be shocking for many of us as these epics were part of our everyday life and beliefs. We are groomed to believe these epics in a certain perspective over generations now. But Aanand Sadhale’s books surely make us think over.

Like ‘Mahabharata’ Aanand Sadhale also authored books on ‘Ramayana’. “Dhanya Anjanicha Sut” is also his one of his version of ‘Ramayana’. In this book he described ‘Ramayana’ taking ‘Hanuman’ as a central character of this book. We all know ‘Hanuman’ as we worship him as god in India and his big role in ‘Ramayana’. But as per his formula or his beliefs Aanand Sadhale kept Godliness out from ‘Hanumana’. He considered him as normal human being and described his story. He applied lot of logic in the book. It is really interesting to consider the other possibility of a story which we are reading, listening and talking about over the generation. If you are very spiritual in nature you might feel the book is little offensive as it does not consider the ‘Hanuman’ as the God but a normal human being. But even without considering as God author did not hurt in any way the legend of ‘Hanuman’. In fact I feel he enhanced in by making him so real.

If I have to rate this book I will give it 6 out of 10. If any of you likes his style of writing, you might also want to have a look at his other work.

His other Books,

1. Ladhai Sampalyavar

2. Ha Jay Navacha Itihas Aahe

3. Amrutmegh

4. Gitgovind

5. Daha Upanishade

6. Matichi Chul

7. Mahapurush

8. Ketaki

9. Asen Mi Matichi

10. Say

11. Abhisar

12. Pranayini

13. Rasmugdha

14. Pari Hari Ha Bramhachari

15. Isapaniti

16. Panchtantra

17. Hitopadesh

18. Vaidehi

19. Ashich Ek Ratra Hoti

20. Dhanya Anjanicha Sut

21. Vasavdatta

22. Kumarsambhav

23. Sakuntala