Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Review: Shaheed aur Shohade by Manmath Nath Gupt

Good intentions do not always translate into good novels. Manmath Nath Gupt's Shaheed Aur Shohade is a good example of that. The writer, who was imprisoned for his involvement in the Kakori Train Case has written a number of books related to India's struggle for Independence. In this novel, he examines the attitude of the Indian members of the ICS. Jagdeesh Prasad, Devi Charan, and Shankar Dayal are three officers who meet regularly in Lucknow to discuss the political situation of the country. As the Second World War draws to a close and the demand for India's freedom gets shriller, they are more than concerned about their jobs and well-being. What does the future entail for them once the British leave the shores of India? And then there are the provisional ministries of the Congress too. In order to show their loyalty to the British, they had acted with unprecedented brutality during the Quit India Movement. Kidnapping, abduction, arresting people without any charge, loot, humiliation...now they are worried that these very things would boomerang on them.

But the Congress is a house divided too. There were people who went to jail and were given first class treatment and then there were people who suffered the brutality of the police. And yet, the former want to be in charge of the movement. All this could have made fro a good novel, unfortunately it does not.

*

First Line: Lucknow ke ek club mein teen mitr aapas mein baaten karte jaate the, aur beech-beech mein apne saamne pade do aakar ke glasson se chuskiyan lete jaate the.

Title: Shaheed aur Shohade

Author: Manmath Nath Gupt

Publication Details: Delhi: Rajpal and Sons, 1970

First Published: 1970

Pages: 176

Other Books read by the Author: Bhagat Singh and his Times

*

The book might be available in libraries. I borrowed it from a library too.


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