I had the opportunity of having a glance at the Autobiography of a Mad nation today. from the blurb and some reviews and also looking at the background of the writer from the back cover – I concluded that it will be another addition to the countless books on the pros and cons of the glorious democracy of India.
The impact was hard when I started it reading a bit reluctantly –at a cosy A.C coach of Kolkata Metro. It was a forty minute journey. I was so much absorbed at the book that if the voice of the announcer announcing the next destination was not unluckily heard by me- I was sure to miss my station. I was sad that it ended when I was in page 60. The story was running at a breath taking pace –the former CBI chief was interrogating a convicted murder and fascinating facts are about to be revealed, then the announcement marred it all. It should be at least two hours journey then I might have plunge deeper into the storyline- god do always plays spoilsport!
To me it was a thriller from the very beginning- the murder mystery started to grip me so quickly that I forgot the outside world almost instantly. To me there was only an innocent boy trapped in a shadowy world-who needs to be rescued……….
The creative mind of the writer is divided into two parts- one part is a critical and analyzing the contemporary political affairs of India starting as early as the days of democracy and ending the journey depicting the communal riot in Gujarat- and the other part created a thriller that can run your heat beat faster.
The prologue of the story started dramatically –confession of a twenty four years old ‘highly intelligent and neurotic, the kind who reads and thinks a lot and begins to assume that their intellect begets them extra rights’ from his death cell awaiting the capital punishment – convicted in rarest of rare case’ of murdering a neighbourhood boy named Iqbal. In a poetically crafted language- a letter written to the President of the republic- the convicted boy has made some startling revelations that is enough to look at the murder story from a different perspective- even raising doubts that the boy may not be guilty at all
“It would be a small inconsequential error of society if they hang me, wrongly, but society given its right to sentence a guilty man to death, must be passionately guarded against even the tiniest of errors in the exercise of hanging a man to death.”
The small piece of evidence that he has attached with his letter could not be neglected- a video footage showing clearly that something was wrong about the justice done to the boy-something is horribly wrong.
The president requested the former chief of the CBI and the Military Intelligence to go for a trail of the murder. The temptation was irresistible for the old sly fox- both the circumstances and motive behind the murder intrigued him and he accepted the challenge.
Let us take our glance away from the murder mystery for a moment- mysteries are meant to be solved-is not it? But let us look at some puzzles that still haunt India. One of the greatest puzzles is the wonderfully worded Indian constitution which has ensured justice- social, economical and political to all the citizens. Again all these rights can be withdrawn- by due process established by law…..
In other words- state has the power to make every right ensured by the constitution- in the name of the sovereignty of the state. Even your right to life is not guaranteed- mockery of justice can deny you of all rights. If you dare oppose what state says-or more precisely what the party in power says- everything that you have can be jeopardised- including your life. an eminent writer turns out a terrorist in a whisker or a human right’s activist can be tagged as enemy of the people if our glorious democracy so desires or……
Or a person can evaporate in the dark of the night- if he dares criticise the single move of the system.
Where lays the difference with the tyrannical rule in the U.S.SR of Stalin or Germany under Hitler?
Glory-glory for the state- even if individual does not have the basic amenities. We couldn’t have the basic needs fulfilled of billions-even we venture into space, make nukes and dreaming of becoming the permanent member of the UN Security Council. In a sharp satirical language-the space saga of India under the regime of Srimati Gandhi put into fire by the death convict
“abroad a Russian aircraft, high up there in space, powered by inventions ranging from electric power, bulb, rockets, computers, telephones, televisions everything from needle to space travel, to none of which we Indians ever contributed, and the words, our India best, penned by poet Iqbal ,who is alive today would be most hated for the Pakistan he conceptualized and helped create.
….the combination was complete. Russian taxi, salutations to a British monarch, Pakistani poet and the great Indian sentiment……we are the best of the world.”
What a great canvas! What a colourful canvas!
Public is a headless monster and who else know the words better than those on power. at the sake of vote bank- man made riots are created by the state power, amid the tears ,griefs and despair of billions run the golden chariot of the privileged few.
Public sentiment is played as a card in this country of insanity- every win in a cricket is cheered by mad crowd- because they know cheering for a private cricket Board is the zenith of patriotism….
And these are done by the honourable men- all honourable men.
Common man witness in helplessness- any protest is ready to be crushed by the state machinery!
For the time being divert our attention to our plagued system and let us return to the storyline. Vidyasagar immediately sprang into action and the study of the footage revealed two figures- and figures sometimes tell something more than they apparently reveal. he goes deeper into the case-and it turned out something more than just a murder of an abnormal youth causing menace in the locality.
The story gets a surprising turn when the murder could no longer be jugged in isolation but has to be linked up with two more murders- those two murders are more meaningful- more meaningful than the killing of Iqbal. And both the cases hawk eyes of Vidyasagar revealed some thing fishy-in the manner of the evidence being produced in courts, the manner in which evidences are tampered with and in the manner in which the convicts were pronounced guilty.
Murder motives sometimes do hide in the past- in the lives of the players, a public school-five close friends- a stage play- all contributing to the missing links of the murder. Not directly linked up- but somewhere they are all interconnected-like the broken pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
Well- my dear readers- you too are puzzled-I do suppose.
it has to be because an appealing thriller will make you float in the vortex of probability and improbability. This story has crossed the barrier- because towards the end you will be left with your imagination. You have read it all- suspense is slowly eating you up-you can see some figures in silhouette- but you do not know who the masterminds- mastermind behind the crimes.
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The review was done courtesy to the copy provided by the writer in association with bookadorers.com,
And the views expressed by me is my honest thinking about the book.