Skip to main content

Book Review: Endearing Species by Ramu Upadhaya

“Better to Die than a Coward” was a popular saying among the Gorkha soldiers who served the British for over 200 years. First they were with the East India Company, then with the British Army, and now with the Indian Army. The term Gorkha emanates from Nepal. However, as much as Nepalese, they are also a vital part of India for more than many centuries. Courageous, good fighters, soldiers, honesty and integrity are some of the virtues that epitomize Gorkha.


There have been many books on the life of Gorkha soldiers, but hardly any good book to understand their stance in India. Well, the book Endearing Species by Ramu Upadhaya is a highly relevant book on understanding the position and culture and social chores of Gorkhas living in the North Eastern part of India. The book is set amidst the sublime backdrop of Assam, where much population of Gorkha has settled gradually over a period of time. This book explores their settlement i.e. mainly after the independence. Running up to 260 pages, and divided into 20 chapters, this is a classic book which blends fiction into facts to deliver impeccable account of their lives. The book carries authentic voice of Gorkha people through the characters like Thula and Maila.

The narrative is concurrent with more than two aspects swirling together, without overlapping. On a fictional side, the story starts with Thula. He works with his boss, a Bengali, in the railways. Impressed by honesty and integrity of Thula, his boss appoints him in the Indian railways, though Thula was not academically qualified for the job. Thula carries his work with full honesty and dedication, which causes jealousy to others. As the book chugs ahead, Thula is replaced by his son Maila. Maila is also honest and good but there are generational gaps and thus it creates a difference between two Gorkhas.

Much of the story is nudged ahead with Maila as a character in the backdrop. The author tries to portray the life cycle of Gorkha population that settled in the hills of Assam. He familiarizes readers with the early settlement to current-day political scenario of the Gorkha people as how they matter and influence in the region.

The book is tremendously rich with the cultural knowledge about the Gorkha people of India. Since the term Gorkha emanated from Nepal, there are differences between types of Gorkha. The author has thrown light with optimum credibility as what makes Indian Gorkha different from others. Talking about culture, it is not about Gorkha and others, the author put a distinguishing light on Hilly vs Plain culture and heritage. This is more evident when Gorkha had to make a choice whether to live in the hills or plains. The book is like A to Z about a Gorkha man named Maila, from childhood to adolescent to later age. It is neither a biography nor a fictional tale. It is more of a cultural study. The language of the book is coherent and at times redundant; however, it serves well to its readers. Ramu Upadhaya provides a rich taste of Gorkha culture while discussing many aspects such as people of Assam, outsiders vs. insiders, Dima Hasao district, India’s relationships with Nepal, regional tribes and much more. In this brilliant narrative, the human side of Gorkha is revealed with sheer profundity.

Buy from Amazon.

Comments

  1. You have not mentioned about the pre-independence period.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond

Among all Ruskin Bond books, The Blue Umbrella has, so far, gathered immense applaud from readers and critics alike.  This is a short novel, but the kind of moral lessons it teaches to us are simply overwhelming. This is a story of Binya, a poor little girl living with her mother and an elder brother, Bijju, in a small hilly village of Garhwal. One day while herding her two cows back home, she stumbles upon some city people enjoying the picnic in the valley. She is enthralled to see them well-groomed and rich. She craves to be one like them and among many other things of their, a blue frilly umbrella catches her attention. She begins craving for it. On the other hand, the city people get attracted by her innocent beauty and the pendant in her neck. The pendant consists of leopard’s claw – which is considered a mascot widely in the hills. Binya trades her pendant off with the blue umbrella. The blue umbrella is so much beautiful that soon it becomes a topic of conversation fo

Poem Summary: Where The Mind Is Without Fear by Rabindranath Tagore

Poem by Rabindranath Tagore: Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high Where knowledge is free Where the world has not been broken up into fragments By narrow domestic walls Where words come out from the depth of truth Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit Where the mind is led forward by thee Into ever-widening thought and action Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake. Short Summary: This poem is written by Rabindranath Tagore during pre-independence days, when India was a colony of the British. The underlying theme of the poem is absolute freedom; the poet wants the citizens of his country to be living in a free state. According to the poem, we see that the poet is expressing his views there should be a country, like where people live without any sort of fear and with pure dignity…they should

Character Sketch of Binya from ‘The Blue Umbrella’ by Ruskin Bond

The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond is a popular children’s story. It features Binya as the main character, though there are other important characters as well, but the story revolves around Binya and her little beautiful umbrella. The story is widely popular among children, thus it has also been included in the schools’ syllabus all across the country. Since it is often taught in the school, thus the character sketch of Binya is often demanded by students from year to year. Character Sketch of Binya from The Blue Umbrella by Ruskin Bond Binya is the main character of the novel ‘The Blue Umbrella’ by Ruskin Bond. Her full name is Binyadevi. As in the hills or anywhere in India it is a kind of trend to call children with their short nicknames. Binya’s elder brother’s name is Bijju, whereas his real name is Vijay. Binya aged eleven is a hilly girl. She lives with her small family in the hills of Garhwal. Her father died when she was two years of age. For sustenance, the