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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Assamese novel Makam review

Just a few days back I have completed my first reading of Makam, by Assamese novelist, activist Dr Rita Choudhuri. The novel Makam has created an uproar in Assam and the aftereffect of this novel is unprecendented. I mean never in Assam we have imagined that a novel could compel the govt of India to give amend an Act, that too an important act of the Enemy Property Act 1968. Anyway, before reading the novel I promised myself an unbiased reading and acceptance of the content of novel 'Makam' as a fiction only.

Rita Choudhuri's novel Makam is a bulky one, but while going through the pages of  the novel, I never feel any compulsion to finish reading of the novel.I mean such an enthralling read it was I just wanted the journey to be an infine one, just like one with the fiance before marrige!! On a serious note, the plight of Chinese community, is described in the most simplest of words and expressions but the story-telling is really capable of arresting your mind. For one whole week I was like a possessed soul only imagining the simple looking Chinese and half-Chinese people roaming  around in the never seen upper Assam town  Makum . (The Chinese Community  which is not purely Chinese but a community created through the process free mingling of Chinese people with the local Assamese and Tea garden Labour community brought to Assam from British Tea planters in Assam.) The community was more or less wretched, because without any fault they were played like a football by the legs of two Countries. The writer achieved great success in recreating the activities of the Chinese people in Makum of Tinsukia district, because I am sure no history book in Assam ever tried to trace those activities. The portrayal the mixed Chinese society in Makum is so realistic that I felt a sense abrupt awakening while engrossed in sleep with a  beautiful dream.

Two warring country never think of the suffering of those who live in the periphery. That is what happened to those people of Makum who were deported by Indian Govt and accepted by the China govt without knowing what is their wish. What they had experienced in China is not our concern( I think).

Makam in a novel, not a history in the actual meaning of history. But when the author confirms that this novel is based on reality then as readers we tend to dismiss the mark between history and fiction. This is completely the result of the unique story-telling method of Rita Choudhuri. Her use of language and different dialects are almost faultless and this is something amazingly refreshing. And this gives the story its most desired credibility.
I think I must conclude here. I wish those who have read the novel will share their experience of reading Makam.

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