There are books I recommend. Then there are books of which I would, you should read them. But then there are books I say, u got to read them. Now.
Kota Neelima's Shoes of the Dead belongs to the last category. Of late, Indian authors are churning some amazing stuff. But Kota Neelima steers us into brand new world. A world which the journalists and the media avoid. It is the world of farmers and farmer suicides and the politics that plays around it.
You know, Agriculture in India is an amazing business. It is tax-free, heavily subsidized and yet one of the most regulated industries in India. You won't believe the extent of red tapism involved. Despite being one of our largest employers, it sends us the maximum cases of malnutrition, poverty and suicides related to work place.
A seasoned journalist, Kota Neelima not only grasps the intricacies of this lifestyle, but also manages to weave it together with the posh, glamorous world of power politics in the Indian Capital. And that is what, makes this story a hell of a story. It is almost a story that is never told before. So you give up trying to guess what will happen next for nothing is what it seems. Yet the story is so real, so close to us. We just never want to venture into this world. Just like no one wants to check out their nearest garbage dump. They are just comfortable with the knowledge that it exists.
Let me give u a brief snapshot of the story. No, I won't write any spoilers here. Just a brief snapshot. Keyur Kashinath is a first time MP and son of a powerful politician. His promising career might tumble off as farmer suicides are on the rise in his constituency. The numbers are up; for a farmer Gangiri has now got himself appointed on the suicide committee that decides which deaths happened due to farmer distress and which happened due to other causes. Now, Gangiri is upset for his brother had killed himself due to overwhelming debt and crop failure, but government did nothing for his brother's family. So unknowingly he is on the path to become Keyur's biggest rival. Hence, starts a great ride that this story is. The other interesting character to this drama is an enigmatic and fearless journalist Nazar Prabhakar. He writes reports which ultimately cause a lot of damage of Keyur’s image. He seeks inputs and co-operation from Dr. Videhi who too is a mysterious character and a social analyst.
Folks, this book is a must read. The guys at Rupa Publications even got a hardcover version of this book which is so regal and awesome. This is one golden opportunity especially for the urban readers to get to know a real picture of what rural life is becoming in India.
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