M.J. Akbar

Blood Brothers

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Blood Brothers is M.J. Akbar's amazing story of three generations of a Muslim family — based on his own — and how they deal with the fluctuating contours of Hindu-Muslim relations. Telinipara, a small jute mill town some 30 miles north of Kolkata along the Hooghly, is a complex Rubik's Cube of migrant Bihari workers, Hindus and Muslims; Bengalis poor and 'bhadralok'; and Sahibs who live in the safe, 'foreign'world of the Victoria Jute Mill. Into this scattered inhabitation enters a child on the verge of starvation, Prayaag, who is saved and adopted by a Muslim family, converts to Islam and takes on the name of Rahmatullah. As Rahmatullah knits Telinipara into a community, friendship, love trust and faith are continually tested by the cancer of riots. Incidents — conversion, circumcision, the arrival of the plague of electricity — and a fascinating array of characters — the ultimate Brahmin, Rahmatullah's friend Girija Maharaj; the worker's leader, Bauna Sardar; the storyteller, Talat Mian; the poet— teacher, Syed Ashfaque; the smiling mendicant, Burha Deewana; the sincere Sahib, Simon Hogg; and then the questioning, demanding third generation of the author and his friend Kamala — interlink into a narrative of social history as well as a powerful memoir. Blood Brothers is a chronicle of its age, its canvas as enchanting as its narrative, a personal journey through change as tensions build, stretching the bonds of a lifetime to breaking point and demanding, in the end, the greatest sacrifice. Its last chapters, written in a bare-bones, unemotional style, are the most moving as the author searches for hope amid raw wounds with a surgeon's scalpel.
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353 printed pages
Original publication
Roli Books



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