Friday, May 9, 2014

Uday Prakash's "The Walls of Delhi"

Written by Uday Prakash in Hindi and translated into English by Jason Grunebaum "The Walls of Delhi" probes into the Indian underbelly to make a strong statement against the establishment. This is a collection of three novellas, "The Walls of Delhi", "Mohandas" and "Mangosil". The first novella shows the corrupting power of ill-gotten money. The second, the best among the lot, depicts the theft of identity of a brilliant-minded eponymous character from the lower caste and the lack of justice. The last one is the story of a strange child whose head keeps growing out of proportion. 

All the novellas hit out against the culture of corruption, unchecked capitalism, inequality gap, criminality, casteism and many other ills that infect modern India. Prakash incorporates humor in the midst of grim narrative and provides non-fictional comments that work as a bitter satire against power-wielders. This works as the alarm to the reader who may be lulled by the narrative but at times they prove to be jarring. Prakash is not afraid of showing crimes in graphic details to generate rage in the readers. No many writers are capable of outspoken criticism of illnesses of Indian society.

All the downtrodden characters are well-developed and manage to gain sympathy for their plights.

The English translation has been able to capture the nuances of Prakash's language. Recommended!

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