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Sunday, Oct 24, 2021
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Double Or Quits?

A superb piece of narrative history, sketching the competing notions of truth

Double Or Quits?
Double Or Quits?
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
This book concerns a celebrated scandal of the first half of the 20th century. The rich son of a zamindar from eastern Bengal, who was in Darjeeling for rest and recreation (and above all to recover from an attack of syphilis), apparently died there in May 1909. His funeral rites were conducted, but rumours floated about in the following years, casting doubt on how he died, or even whether he died at all. Then, after a gap of almost 12 years, a sanyasi appeared in Dhaka, who was identified by some members of the zamindar family (the so-called Kumars of Bhawal) as the dead man, Ramendra Narayan Roy. Opinion was divided though, for if the dead man’s sisters and some others were firm in their identification, others rejected the claim as totally preposterous, and tried to show that the sanyasi was really a pudgy Punjabi pahalwan, who could barely speak any language intelligibly. Eventually, the affair was taken to court, and went through a very elaborate series of trials and judgements, ending only in July 1946. The extensive materials that the court cases produced are the basis of...
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