I cannot imagine that I didn’t stumble across any of Sri Bhyrappa’s books till recently…. Its my loss. While browsing Twitter, I saw a book of Sri Bhyrappa titled “Brink” that had been recently translated. I went searching for it on Kindle, but didn’t remember the title. So typed in Bhyrappa and “Aavarana” was the first book that showed up. I bought it immediately.
I am in the middle of reading Annamalai’s Stepping Beyond Khaki, but Aavarana was so gripping that I simply went on reading it. Finished reading it on the 21st and boy! was I incensed. It took me a few days to calm myself down and write a review. The veil has been lifted and truth shines through. This book must be a part of every literature degree program. Why, infact it must be a part of the school curriculum.
Sandeep Balakrishna has outdone himself in translating this book from Kannada to English. Sri Bhyrappa’s writing is so nuanced that a literal translation would have been lifeless. This is almost like Sandeep has become Sri Bhyrappa and is writing in English.
I cannot write a review – I am just not qualified to do that. I may write a review much later after I have read all of Sri Bhyrappa’s books. The story is a very regular story that happens everyday in India. A Hindu girl marrying a Muslim boy, and the challenges they face. There ends the similarity with reality and other books that talk of this.
Sri Bhyrappa has woven history, current affairs, religion and emotions so beautifully and vividly that you simply watch things unfold. You get angry, you feel sad, you feel happy …and the same paragraph can evoke all these reactions based on the reader’s context. The bibliography for the historical events in the well documented.
Am posting a few extracts for the reader to evaluate if it grips them –
From the preface of Aavarana –
“..We cannot truly comprehend our own selves or the history of our nation or, indeed, the history of the entire world, unless we unshackle ourselves from the bonds of false knowledge, desire and action, and elevate the intellect to a state of detached observation.”
“.. If learning lessons from history is a mark of enlightenment, so is breaking free from it. This applies equally to every religion, caste, creed and group.”
A few historical anecdotes –
“… Tipu (Sultan) actually wrote to the Afghan king Zaman Shah and the caliph of Turkey to invade India and establish the rule of Islam. In his infamous sack of the Mysore palace in 1796, he rounded up the entire library containing invaluable ancient Hindu palm-leaf manuscripts, inscriptions, papers and books and had them all burnt as fuel.”
This is the same Tipu Sultan whose birthday was to be celebrated as “Tipu Jayanti” by some of our current Sultans. :(:(
“…. Indian hijras were in great demand in not just Delhi but Isfahan and Samarkand. Although Aurangzeb banned the practice of castrating boys owing to religious reasons, he didn’t prohibit the practice of castrating grown men. During his reign, Golconda city (today’s Hyderabad) in the year 1659 witnessed some 22,000 castrations.”
We continue to celebrate a man who castrated some forefather of ours 🙁. Aurangabad city, Aurangzeb lane in Delhi :(:(:(.
“… This book is called Maasir-E-Alamgiri…. The same book tells us that in 1669, a report was received by the court about the successful demolition of the Kashi Vishwanath temple as per the orders of Alamgir Aurangzeb.
The next chapter of the same work tells us that in the holy month of Ramzan in 1670, Aurangzeb ordered that the Keshavaraya temple in Mathura be demolished and a mosque built on its site.”
Now you know why I couldn’t write a review for a couple of days after reading Aavarana. The veil has indeed lifted and truth shines through. Am not stopping till I read every book mentioned in the bibliography.
Pranam Sri Bhyrappa. Hoping to meet you someday, fall at your feet and take your blessings.