Sunday, August 25, 2013

Review: Sale of Souls by Vidyadhara

Not many books are found in the bookstores highlighting issues related to people. Many powerful resources over the time have tried to use brute and force to tilt the odds in their favor. A lot of innocent lives have been consumed in the struggle too. Author Vidyadhara in his novel "Sale of Souls" brings to light a very important issue which has now become a mass problem for many residing in rural areas. So has the author done justice to the entire problem? Let's find out. 

Sale of Souls is a remarkable love story of two village youngsters in the backdrop of land acquisition where the gullible villagers are fighting to retain the ancestral village. Roshni, a young advocate, joins the poor villagers to fight the powerful lobby of industrialists and politicians. Samar trying for a peaceful solution to all the issues in the village with his approach of 'sustainable development' finds himself in love with his junior. The story is set in a remote village on the coast of Canara, known for its beautiful environment and bio-diversity, which is earmarked for land acquisition. The story revolves around the sensitive issue of conflict of the poverty vs. development vs. the environment.

First look at the cover and the title and the readers expectations will be a notch higher from the book. A perfect title for a serious issue and the cover image depicting the same in the background to perfection. The blurb is short and sweet highlighting issues like land acquisition and a love story too. The blurb could have been a little more clearer and the main issue could have been projected a lot better in the blurb. 

The story starts from a small village Alige where Samar a professor in Govt. Arts & Science college Marwar comes back home to find out that the government has decided to acquire their land for an industrial project and snatch away the only source of means and livelihood of the poor people by uprooting them from their roots citing it as the beneficial for the villagers. Samar along with Roshni an advocate and Roshni's father launch a massive movement in order to stop the injustice against them. It's a hard and long battle in order to gain their freedom from the clutches of some power hungry people and tyranny of the government. Will they be successful in it. That is the story all about. 

A powerful theme, an effective title and perfect presentation of the plight of the villagers using land acquisition as a medium. The central theme of the story is land acquisition and all the injustice happening because of it. The issues regarding the land acquisition have been highlighted to perfection. Non cooperation of govt. officials, helpless people, money minded businessmen and corrupt politicians are the flavor in the entire story. Fluid narration and a sudden turn of events keep the readers interested all the time. 

The downside of the story is it's tagline and blurb. When the entire book is based on land acquisition and the other problems love story angle wasn't required. Love story is a non existent factor in the story except for a few glimpses of it. The tagline misleads and rather it's inappropriate to term it as a love story. A epilogue could have done justice to the book. The story went nowhere in the second half where Aloma's part suddenly cropped out of nowhere. The end of the book could have been handled in a better manner. 

A book which is good in presentation, highlights an issue very well  and handles the sensitive topic to perfection. Perhaps deeming it as a love story is a major mistake committed. It could have worked wonders sans a love story angle too. Read the book for it's realism and connection of the events to the reality. 


3 OUT OF 5. 

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