Book: Shoes of the Dead
Author: Kota Neelima
Publisher: Rupa Publication
Price: Rs 495
This book is serious business. Coming from someone who is an editor at the Sunday Guardian, I wouldn’t expect any less. With this book, Kota Neelima takes you on a tour of the real world the farmers in our country occupy. Farmer suicides happen in abundance, many because of debts. Others because of successive crop failures. Either case, the farmers’ families want the compensation by claiming it to be a debt related death. The government on the other hand, keeps rejecting claims after claims of debt related deaths, real or not.
Crushed by successive crop failures and the burden of debt, Sudhakar Bhadra kills himself. The powerful district committee of Mityala routinely dismisses the suicide and refuses compensation to his widow. Gangiri, his brother, makes it his life’s mission to bring justice to the dead by influencing the committee to validate similar farmer suicides. Keyur Kashinath of the Democratic Party – first-time member of Parliament from Mityala, and son of Vaishnav Kashinath, the party’s general secretary – is the heir to his father’s power in Delhi politics. He faces his first crisis every suicide in his constituency certified by the committee as debt-related is a blot on the party’s image, and his competence. The brilliant farmer battles his inheritance of despair, the arrogant politician fights for the power he has received as legacy. Their two worlds collide in a conflict that pushes both to the limits of morality from where there is no turning back. At stake is the truth about ‘inherited’ democratic power. And at the end, there can only be one winner. Passionate and startlingly insightful, Shoes of the Dead is a chilling parable of modern-day India.