Blurb (as on Goodreads):
One of the meanings of the word ‘olio’ is ‘a miscellany’. the books in the aleph olio series contain a mélange of the finest writing to be had on a variety of Indian themes—the great cities, aspects of Indian culture and civilization, uniquely Indian phenomena. Filled with insights and haunting evocations of a country of unrivalled complexity, beauty, tragedy and mystery, each aleph olio book presents India in ways that it has seldom been seen before. In a violent land contains some of the best fiction and non-fiction that has been written on the violence that permeates every layer of Indian society. Rising out of fault lines of religion, caste, gender, language, Class and geopolitics, this brutality has scarred the country for centuries now. The writers who feature in this volume are Khushwant Singh, Mahasweta Devi, udayan Ghosh, Anna Bhau SA the, Manoj mitta, harvinder Singh phoolka, Salam bin razzaq, Suketu Mehta, vijaydan detha, Sonia Faleiro, Barkha Dutt, Shahnaz bashir and Sanjay Hazarika.
‘In A Violent Land’, as the name suggests, is a collection of stories about terrible times in the history of India. Be it the ‘2002 Gujrat riots’, or the other kinds of ‘war’ happening throughout the country, these stories bring us the gruesome details and the mindset of the people who actively participated in these events.
These riots are mostly community driven. The Babri Masjid incident, or the massacre of Sikhs after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the brutal rape of thousands of women in the name of violence and the ineffectiveness of the politicians and public servants to do anything about it or their role in instigating these fights.
The authors whose stories are a part of this collection include Barkha Dutt, Khushwant Singh, Suketu Mehta, Sanjoy Hazarika etc. My most favorite story would be ‘Powertoni’ which is based on the authors account of his experience while doing research on the 1992-93 riots in Mumbai. The story gives us a glimpse of the mindset of a Hindu activist who murders numerous Muslims in cold blood and the irony is that he also needs this community to earn money and make an easy livelihood.
This collection is a very powerful and compelling one. It is also full of raw violence, cheap and double standard mindset and stories which only see the light of the day through one particular narrative-the one who emanates power.
Purchase Links: |Amazon Hardcover|