When I was young, reading novels was a culture denied by most of the parents. Times haven’t really changed. Even today the culture hasn’t changed much. Chetan Bhagat has written some really awesome books but what I consider literature couldn’t be reflected in his prose. Besides, many other Indian writers have tried their hand at writing, most of whom are prolific and immensely popular. Not to forget Salman Rushdie, a British-Indian is one of the most decorated writers of the entire world. Arundhati Roy, Ashwini Sanghi, Kiran Desai, Anita Desai, Amitav Ghosh, Amish Tripathi, Khushwant Singh, Aravind Adiga, Ruskin Bond, Vikram Chandra and many more. They have written some really enlightening, powerful and mesmerising texts, however, many young Indian students are oblivious of India’s literary distinction. The fault lies in our education system and middle-class mindset. Reading novels is considered a waste of time which is in fact the best possible utilisation of time. Here are the 4 reasons to read The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri!
#1. Amidst these popular author is a Bengali writer Jhumpa Lahiri who has won several accolades for her works including the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. Currently based in the United States she has written some excellent books like Interpreter of Maladies, The Unaccustomed Earth, The Namesake and The Lowland. She is one of the most elegant and poised writers the world has seen. The Lowland was nominated for Man Booker Prize in 2013, and widely acknowledged worldwide. Often the subject of her book is the immigrated Indians who find their experience at a different nation a bittersweet one, given their distinct culture and thoughts.
#2. The Lowland is painfully beautiful. The story is in the backdrop of Naxalbari Movement that originated in West Bengal where young and educated people got radicalised and fought against their exploitative government. Mentioning the name of powerful leaders Charu Majumdar and Kanu Sanyal, their is a depiction of the ominous wave of violence in the streets of Calcutta. This movement was to propagate the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) by those men who considered Democracy in India as a sham. Although it started in Darjeeling, the militancy and guerrila activity spread throughout and witnessed massive participation. The book is bound to touch down the emotions of those Bengalis whoo have lived in Calcutta since 1960s-1970s. The movement was primarily for the rights of peasants, labour class and ethnic tribes.
#3. The story revolves around the lives of two brothers, both of them intelligent and passionate. One brother being a practical person leaves for America for Ph.D. after he fails to convince his brother away from his radicalization. However, one of them falls under the ideology of communism and decides to be a part of the naxalites movement stealthily. He was eventually killed by the paramilitary forces in front of his wife and parents. The gloom since his death never left his parents and had broken them from within. His pregnant widow got re-married to other brother and leaves for America, although opposed by their parents. Marriage and change of location doesn’t help them fight their depression and she leaves her second husband and daughter. This transformation of fate wreaks a quiet havoc in each of their lives. Back home their parents were fighting the despondency with similar unhappiness and isolation.
#4. The story is bound to bring you to tears at various points of time. It has been written so beautifully and magnificently that makes you feel the story personally. The text is engaging and gripping.