Book Title: A Burning
Author: Megha Majumdar
When religion and blind beliefs overpower common sense, the ability to think becomes difficult. And there are times when people’s lives are at stake for a simple reason. If that reason is entangled with many shades of religion, then the aftermath of wrath is impossible to even anticipate. For some years, this kind of discrimination against religions is very rampant.
There are many incidents where some people are tortured for eating the authentic food that belonged to their community. Likewise, there was also an incident when two young women commented on social media on a mass leader’s death and the country knows how those were tortured.
The basic freedom of speech is many a time tormented with such polluted ideologies. And, this holds good to every belief system in the country which is very painful to accept. This is a small intro to the very important aspect on which author Megha has penned this book.
This book, ‘A Burning’ by Megha Majumdar is a very complex read in terms of a strong story and great narration. The book deals very pragmatically with the things everyone is aware of.
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There are sometimes where each one of us wants to raise our voice and voice our opinion, but back off due to the ‘pressures’ we foresee. But somewhere one’s the inner voice which when arrested for a long time keeps thrusting to come out. In such cases, visual or print media take a great place. In such circumstances, with such incidents and events, this book acts as a face.
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A quick look into the story
The story is about a 22-year-old Muslim girl, Jivan who for her livelihood who works at Pantaloons outlet is falsely accused of a train burning incident that happened near Kolabagan slum, the place where she stays. She gets arrested for the same without any proof and is alleged for the activities carried out by the terrorist groups. Out of rage, she comments on Facebook which makes the noose further tight for her.
“If the police didn’t help ordinary people like you and me, if the police watched them die, doesn’t that mean that the government is also a terrorist?”
The false arrest, accusations, and attempts to come out clean are what the whole story is about. There are also sub-plots in the main story that are all interlinked. Jivan’s presence at the Railways station which was under threat creates more mayhem for her to prove her innocence. How does she come out with a clean chit is the story in gist!
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What to expect from the story?
The story deals with many aspects like economical status discrimination, judgmental attitude of people by looking at the dressing and physical attributes, and discrimination based on food habits and false assumptions.
The incidents mentioned in the book rekindles the sidelined incidents that happened during the recent reign of the existing governments. The book doesn’t have a new story but it has stories that are often muted but are to be addressed at some point in time.
Who can read the story?
The story is one of the gripping ones in the recent past. Not on a single page do the readers find words that do not qualify the literary standards? Nowhere in the story readers find any dialogue or word that attributes to talk ill in terms of gender, religion, humanity, or anything that makes readers uncomfortable.
Though are acts of violence, it is very minimal compared to the mental torment the protagonist Jivan or the other two protagonists face. The book is a literary representation of many things that are often seen on the news that happens around every nook and corner of the country. Thus, this book can be read by readers of age 15 who have a minimum knowledge of the happening in and around the country.
My take on the characters
The story has three main central characters Jivan, Lovely, and PT sir. Everyone’s story is intertwined with each other and is indirectly linked to the ghastly attack planned and implemented by the terrorists. Jivan’s character is one of the strongest characters that always looks for a strong stand to disprove her involvement in the train attack.
Likewise, being a transgender the strength and courage that Lovely showcases are commendable. The character of P.T. sir is a complex one. Kudos to the author for portraying such a difficult character. His character reminds the readers of the wounded tiger which can pounce back anytime.
How good is the Author’s writing?
The first thought which will compulsorily strike every reader’s mind is, this book doesn’t look like a debutante’s work. Author Megha Majumdar has won every reader’s sensitive yet thoughtful part of the mind with her great narration.
There are some places in the story where I, as a reader could not stop appreciating her writing skills. This book is a great start as a first-time author. The book however may not be welcomed by everyone because at times the story looks like complaining about the present government, but nowhere the author has maligned anyone with unwanted and derogatory language. Such are the issues she has dealt and hence they may look similar.
How entertaining is the book?
The book can be divided into two parts. If the part is about the allegations, the second part is the fight. The pace of the story starts precisely with the second part.
With some amount of patience and mental reference to the news already known, the readers can comfortably pick up the speed after the initial pages. As some incidents are already heard and seen, the visualization of the story happens easily. With these factors, the book is a definite entertainer.
About the Book Title and the Book Cover
The title in flames is extremely fascinating. The cover aptly complements the title.
This book is strongly recommended and during these days of lockdown, this book definitely entertains the readers.