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Monday, Oct 18, 2021
Outlook.com

Once Upon A Time In Telinipara

History meets memoir in fictional form to produce an engaging primer for our times

Once Upon A Time In Telinipara
Jitender Gupta
Once Upon A Time In Telinipara
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
We read history to learn about the past, and pass exams. We read biographies and autobiographies to acquaint ourselves with the lives of great men and the times they lived in. We read fiction for amusement. At times, we are lucky enough to come across a book which combines history, biography and fiction, learn about our past and present, and enjoy reading it. M.J. Akbar’s Blood Brother has all three in one book. It is a skilfully crafted family saga across three generations packed with information on events in the country and the world, particularly changing Hindu-Muslim equations. It could be a textbook on how to blend history with the realities of life in fictional form.

Akbar begins his story with his grandfather Prayaag, a Bihari Hindu kshatriya. The family owns four bighas of farmland which earns them a mere seven rupees a month. Prayaag’s parents die in a famine. He hears of new jute mills coming up along the Hooghly. So, he climbs on to a train which takes him to Chandernagore. He walks from there to Telinipara village where Victoria Jute Mills has come up...

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