A History of Assam in Seven Stories
ISBN 978-9388907316 | Paperback, 208 pp. | Literary Fiction
By the time the bomb went off — Bidyut could feel the earth under him tremble — everything was over, the gunfire and life itself. He was the witness to the carnage, crouching between two dead bodies, and three empty guns, and a tiny silver ring on his palm.
‘Give it to my mother,’ Pradipta had said, clutching his hands, ‘And tell her, I tried.’
Within the larger questions of identity, the idea of nationhood and independence, this collection of eight interconnected stories, set against the backdrop of the insurgency movement in Assam between 1990s and 2000s, look at the individual lives caught in the crossfire, which effectively killed an entire generation of youths in the Brahmaputra Valley. These stories do not answer the questions what the movement did for the people and how it went wrong and who was right …. Instead, they posit their protagonists in the middle of the reality and see how their lives unfold.
Diganta, disillusioned, makes one final decision, to finish it all, while on a mission to blow up a crowded bus. Akan returns home to realise that one can never return to the same place. Bidyut comes to meet Nandini, his one true love, on the day of her wedding. Biplob escapes, changes his name and builds his life anew in Mumbai. Binoy finally accepts that though his life is intertwined with the history of his land, he must make a different choice. Sandeep, an army jawan in Assam, reflects on the futility of it all. Aminur, the part-time revolutionary, prepares for a better future for the next generation.
Praise for the book
“Dibyajyoti Sarma’s stories put into human terms the cold statistics from a war neither side can win, statistics which cannot count the lives wrecked, the relationship ruined, the homes unbuilt … His pertinacity in hanging on to idealism, even hope, in the face of despair and loss — which could so easily cause embitterment — show off artistic self-control remarkable in one so relatively young.”
— Vijay Nambisan, poet, writer, and critic
Stories with the delicacy of poetry and the suspense of a thriller. They capture both the seedy details and the sublime horizons of Assam in its period of dreams and dark struggle.
— Raghu Karnad, winner of the 2018 Windham–Campbell Prize for Nonfiction
About the author: Dibyajyoti Sarma has published three volumes of poetry and an academic book, besides numerous writing credits in edited volumes, journals and websites. He was born in Assam and now lives in Delhi.
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