Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Blood Brothers

Blood Brothers by M J Akbar
Book Launch & Reviews from Main Blog

Blood Brothers is M.J. Akbar’s amazing story of three generations of a Muslim family – based on his own – in Telinipara and how they deal with the fluctuating contours of Hindu-Muslim relations.

Telinipara, a small jute mill town some 30 miles north of Kolkata along the Hooghly, is a complex Rubik's Cube of migrant Bihari workers, Hindus and Muslims; Bengalis, poor and 'bhadralok'; and Sahibs who live in the safe, 'foreign' world of Victoria Jute Mill. Into this scattered inhabitation enters a child on the verge of starvation, Prayaag, who is saved and adopted by a Muslim family, converts to Islam and takes on the name of Rahmatullah. As Rahmatullah knits Telinipara into a community, friendship, love, trust and faith are continually tested by the cancer of riots. Incidents - conversion, circumcision, the arrival of plague or electricity - and a fascinating array of characters - the ultimate Brahmin, Rahmatullah's friend Girija Maharaj, the workers' leader Bauna Sardar, the storyteller Talat Mian, the poet-teacher Syed Ashfaque, the smiling mendicant, Burha Deewana, the sincere Sahib, Simon Hogg, and then the questioning, demanding third generation of the author and his friend Kamala - interlink into a narrative of social history as well as a powerful memoir.

Blood Brothers is a chronicle of its age, its canvas as enchanting as its narrative, a personal journey through change as tensions build, stretching the bonds of a lifetime to breaking point and demanding, in the end, the greatest sacrifice. Its last chapters, written in a bare-bones, unemotional style are the most moving, as the author searches for hope amid raw wounds with a surgeon's scalpel.


jenifer said...

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Avid Reader said...

Akbar Sahab,
You simply don't know how great a fan I am of you. Frankly, I have not read your books, but I have been an avid reader of 'Byline' and other column of yours,published in various newspapers. I like your sense of humor, of which I see a decline in your articles these days. If I have to read your books, I shall start with "Blood Brothers" as I can identify with the characters mentioned in it. On a slightly different not, I would like to hear from you if the communist rule in Bengal has been in good stead of an ordinary Bengali, I am just curious to know. Also, your musings on the Gorhkhaland issue, please comment at your convenience. You have left indelible impressions on Indian journalism as a scribe and as an authentic historian, your contribution is nothing less than unparalleled. My good wishes are with you. May God bestow upon you and your ilk good health, witticism and humor, always. Bye & take care.

nisar k said...

Nice...i took this book as instece for idial ethnography/ethnology