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Book Review: A Landless Alien by Ramu Upadhaya

Ramu Upadhaya is a remarkable author from Assam. A Landless Alien is his first book that provides thought-provoking commentary on many aspects that can either make or break a nation. Ramu writes with such subtlety that he expresses everything tangentially, without offending any chunk of mass.

Those who have read his earlier books will get acquainted with his unique writing style. Talking about his previous books, two are prominent ones: Endearing Species and Sight of Vision.

Endearing Species focuses on the roots of Gorkha people living in India. This book is rich with the cultural knowledge about the Gorkha people of India. It helps readers to understand their position in all walks of life through an intriguing character named Maila.

The next book is Sight of Vision that mixes fiction and philosophy into one. With characters like Ronal, Miley, and Ben the book uses allegories to deliver the perfect message about real-life issues pertaining to marriage, love, friendship, etc.

A Landless Alien is no lesser than a classic piece on political chaos, conflict of ideologies, difference between anti and pro supporters and much more. This novel offers consistent commentary with less involvement of characters. It is set against Himaland and Dickland – fictional names. Himaland stands for India, while Dickland means regional states.

In Dickland there is a chaos about localism, socialism, chauvinism, and nationalism. In fact, a close look reveals that the core theme of the book presents the contemporary state of our country. It is funny to see the naming of masses that is divided into factions and sects. Dickland is dominant by Toms, Dicks, and Harries (TDH). With time clashes happen on the name of many aspects like localism, religion, region, socialism, and other interests. As a result, factions come out as Anti-TDH and Pro TDH. Between them are Hitters, Looters, and Runners (HLR). Political hypocrisy and difference is evident throughout the book. 

“Unlike Bihar, Bengal, Kerala, etc. the chauvinism brand of socialism has taken in different tastes in India’s present northeast. Where it overtones ethnicity, precisely because of each group of people. whether big or small, each team insists on retaining the cultural identity of its own particular social unit for the purpose of apparently remaining divided and alien to each other rather than fostering unity.”

In this book, the evident character is Ruth, who provides his opinions and beliefs from time and again. The author has the following impression about the character:     

“Ruth does not boast but feels he is the best, and does not give up his principle, though he feels betrayed by his relatives and also treated as an alien in the country of his birth unlike the so called patriots who betray their own people and country.”

A Landless Alien is a meaningful title. It says that due to political corruptness and other nation-debilitating ways there are many states in India where people suffer for no apparent reasons. They are ostracized and considered outsiders or ignored as being strangers. They are made aliens to their own land and country. The proposition is startling but true even today. The book calls for unity while maintaining the diversity. The idea is good but seems far from the reality.

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