Reviews and Synopsis

 

 

 

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: The e-book version (pdf, mobi, or epub) is available free of cost. Unfortunately Createspace (Amazon’s POD service) won’t allow me to provide the e-book free, so I’m happy to send it if you can send me an email to sriram.writing@gmail.com. The paperback is available at the lowest price that, again, Amazon will allow me to price it at, which is at their POD print price. For subsequent books with Broken Shackles Press, I’m planning on figuring out another POD publisher that will allow me to have them available free of cost.

(Also, don’t be fooled by the generous reviews below, to be honest, the book is a piece of crap…but not to worry, I’m getting better and subsequent books will have nowhere to go but up. Plus I hope to have them be of a similar pricing structure, so there’s little to complain about.)

Also, don’t forget to check out my blog: https://loveliberationstruggle.wordpress.com/

 

“[A] riveting account of how human souls can reach lowly depths of inhumanity…In the depths of darkness, it also shines a light on the compassion and resilience of many– Hindus, Muslims, Dalits and others who worked to rebuild, restore peace and bring comfort to the suffering and the scarred.”

IDRISA PANDIT, Religious Studies scholar, University of Waterloo

 

“[T]he book unfolds with compelling and daring self-reflection, unpacking his experiences in the aftermath of a recent grisly history that is both important and largely unknown outside the author’s native India…a stunning portrayal of a particular period of time of street-level fascism in India.”

DAVID BOEHNKE in The Industrial Worker

 

“A powerful and compelling personal narrative…The story is told with remarkable candour, honesty and humour, and asks important questions that are salient for anyone who has considered the nature of aid work, community violence and of humanity itself.”

SWATHI SEKHAR, Member, Immigration Legal Committee and Prisoner Correspondence Project, Toronto

 

“[A] gripping journey that exposes India’s communal violence, and enables us to understand the roots of the hatred that breeds such grotesque episodes of carnage. Courageously honest and daringly self-reflective, perhaps the greatest contribution of Across the Sabarmati is the unforgiving mirror it holds up to its readers, encouraging us to come to terms with our own privilege and compelling us to act.”

YOGI ACHARYA, Community Organizer, No One Is Illegal – Toronto

 

Synopsis:

It is March 2002 and the north Indian state of Gujarat has just seen the worst episode of bloodletting in independent India. Hindu fascist groups in the state have gone on a rampage, slaughtering over two thousand Muslims, and brutally marginalizing tens of thousands more. Jayram Krishnan has led a privileged life as an upper-caste Hindu from the south Indian city of Bangalore. He impulsively decides to travel up north to Gujarat, to volunteer in a human rights movement that has emerged to combat the violence. His ego and bravado prevail over his cautious family. But underneath the bluster he realizes that he’s never done anything that has challenged the rationale of his safe existence.

Treading unknown territory, he makes his way to Gujarat. In Ahmedabad, the largest city in Gujarat, he encounters a beleaguered human rights movement desperately trying to combat overwhelming odds in an environment of political virulence. He has no idea what he’s supposed to be doing. Apparently, neither do they. His only option is to hit the ground running and ask questions later. As he bungles his way through the initial few steps, he discovers the Sabarmati – a river running through the city, ghettoizing it, acting as more than just a physical divide. Carnage and sterile affluence have but a river separating them. Two amazing activists on one side and two more on the other, each pair worlds apart, enter his life and rapidly constitute his new family. Jayram starts leading a dual life on both sides of the river. He crosses it every day to work in devastating conditions on one side, and crosses back to make merry on the other. He finds painful love and learning on both sides. The Sabarmati soon runs through Jayram too, and he discovers more about himself than he might be able to endure.

Across the Sabarmati, he slowly starts finding answers that he’s still discovering questions for. In confronting his painful rebirth, he realizes he is lesser than what he thought he was but seeing a truth he had never seen before. It was the liberation he needed but never sought out.

Published by Broken Shackles Press

For more information write to brokenshacklespress@gmail.com

 

Amazon US:

http://www.amazon.com/Across-Sabarmati-Sriram-Ananth/dp/0988112205/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345304900&sr=8-1&keywords=across+the+sabarmati

Amazon Europe (UK, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Across-Sabarmati-Sriram-Ananth/dp/0988112205/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345304971&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.de/Across-Sabarmati-Sriram-Ananth/dp/0988112205/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345305003&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.fr/Across-Sabarmati-Sriram-Ananth/dp/0988112205/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345305029&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.it/Across-Sabarmati-Sriram-Ananth/dp/0988112205/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345305057&sr=8-1

http://www.amazon.es/Across-Sabarmati-Sriram-Ananth/dp/0988112205/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345305086&sr=8-1

Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00J1S68OO

 

Full Reviews:

 

“A chronicle of crimes perpetrated against the Muslims of Gujarat by fascist Hindu groups in the 2002 Gujarat riots, this novel documents the horror and pain of the victims, trauma of the survivors, as well as vicarious trauma of those delivering help and aid. This book is a riveting account of how human souls can reach lowly depths of inhumanity and take pride in subjugating, shaming, dishonouring and destroying the essence of what makes us human. While classified as fiction, this book is more a memoir, a tale of growing up, an accidental rite of passage for a young man in search of life’s meaning who in questioning his own privilege, both inherited, as an upper class Hindu Brahmin, and acquired, as a member of an educated upper middle class society, searches for answers in a dark world of death and destruction. Jayram, the protagonist, encounters pain, suffering and slow death of the people on one side of the Sabarmati river and love, friendship and self-discovery on the other. The river is a symbol of the division of the community as much as a divide that speaks to personal inner struggles of Jayram.

This story raises a number of critical questions and urges all humans to reflect on them at a global level; questions that probe the depths of hatred that breed in our modern day societies in the name of nationalism, tribalism and communalism. In the depths of darkness, it also shines a light on the compassion and resilience of many– Hindus, Muslims, Dalits and others who worked to rebuild, restore peace and bring comfort to the suffering and the scarred. This account highlights the short lived interest of yellow journalism in a horror story while giving us a glimpse of storytellers, such as Maria, invested in documenting such horrors with real hope of history not repeating itself. It gives us a sense that while murder and killing ends the suffering of the victim at once, the long term trauma of witnesses to the horrors, as well as victims of the powerful weapon of rape, will die a slow death and alter the individuals and society forever.

Across the Sabarmati is a very difficult book to read, certainly not a book that you will finish in a sitting. If the plot was merely a figment of the author’s imagination, it may just be another sad tale. However, the events in this book are palpable and the characters real people in a real part of the world who lived through and survived these horrific acts. The most shocking aspects of the Gujarat tragedy are the real life events in Indian politics, the impunity given to the perpetrators of the crimes at the highest political levels to the police forces, all of whom became bystanders condoning the crimes they were duty bound to prevent. It is a commentary on the nature of deep rooted communal tensions in the world’s largest democracy; tensions that raise their ugly head, too often leaving millions of Indian citizens form the minority communities, vulnerable and fearful. Sriram Ananth succeeds in drawing his readers in by relating a personal and a moving record as a witness to genocide. He leaves his readers to ponder the transformation of Gujarat, the birthplace of Gandhi, the father of Indian non-violent movement, to a place with a very violent and gory recent history.”

– Idrisa Pandit, Religious Studies scholar, University of Waterloo

********************

“The Importance Of Self-Reflection In Achieving Revolutionary Change:

How do people change? What are the steps that it takes for someone from a privileged class, gender and ideological position to become a revolutionary? What failures might we suffer along the way? What lines do our movements still need to overcome? What does this mean in real life? In my life? To me, these are the questions asked and unpacked in the insightful “Across the Sabarmati”—a new and first novel by one-time Fellow Worker Sriram Ananth. And despite the author’s insistence that the “quality of writing hovers between mediocre and average,” the book unfolds with compelling and daring self-reflection, unpacking his experiences in the aftermath of a recent grisly history that is both important and largely unknown outside the author’s native India – the Hindu fascist riots in Gujarat that killed thousands of innocent working class Muslims and others in the winter of 2002. It is also a stunning portrayal of a particular period of time of street-level fascism in India, one that is perhaps gone, but perhaps not. Fascist upsurges are an inevitable consequence of the racist capitalism that defines our lives, and can only be stopped by eliminating its roots in the system itself, an important insight well beyond India. This warning and lesson transformed the author into adulthood, birthed him a new life, and burdened him too with the question of revolution and solidarity across class lines and now, across oceans as well. As part of an internationalist workers’ movement and as an organization of new, experienced, and growing organizers who are increasingly facing the need to diversify who we organize with, honest books like this are an invaluable contribution to our collective coming of age. I can only hope that more workers take the time to write the important realities of their lives, stresses, mistakes, repetitions and all. After all it is in our lives – not in a fantasy – that we have a world to win.”

– David Boehnke in The Industrial Worker

********************

“A powerful and compelling personal narrative, Across the Sabarmati offers an unflinching glimpse into a world that is rarely seen and exposed- communities and lives after the storm has hit, forgotten people who must continue to live every day with the impact of horrific violence and trauma long after the world has turned away. The author carries the reader with him on his complex, turbulent personal journey of trying to do direct support work for people in crisis, while grappling with difficult personal issues around his own identity and privilege. The story is told with remarkable candour, honesty and humour, and asks important questions that are salient for anyone who has considered the nature of aid work, community violence and of humanity itself.”

– Swathi Sekhar, Member, Immigration Legal Committee and Prisoner Correspondence Project, Toronto

********************

“Sriram Ananth’s debut novel Across the Sabarmati transports us to the streets of Ahmedabad shortly after the city has been marred by bloody riots that have seen thousands of muslims killed, and many more forced into refugee camps. Drawing from his personal experiences doing relief work under these circumstances, the author takes us on a gripping journey that exposes India’s communal violence, and enables us to understand the roots of the hatred that breeds such grotesque episodes of carnage. Courageously honest and daringly self-reflective, perhaps the greatest contribution of Across the Sabarmati is the unforgiving mirror it holds up to its readers, encouraging us to come to terms with our own privilege and compelling us to act.”

– Yogi Acharya, Community Organizer, No One Is Illegal – Toronto

********************

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: