Day 22 of #AtoZChallenge
Religious fundamentalism, liberalism, secularism, feminism and progressive ideologies are beautifully woven into a fine mix of facts and fiction- that’s Aavarna for you. Originally published in 2007 in Kannada, the novel is rated 4.7 on Flipkart and 4.3 on goodreads. Bhyrappa had been openly and strongly criticized for the views he presented in the book. Regardless, Aavarna, The Veil has been translated Hindi, English, Gujrati, Marathi and Tamil and read widely across the world.
Lakshmi, the central character of the plot, is a rebellious young woman who strongly shuns the religious fanatics. A renowned scriptwriter herself, she converts to Islam to marry a talented filmmaker and becomes Razia Begum Querishi. After being a flag bearer of progressive ideologies for many years, something strikes her during a project in Hampi. The ruined sculptures of Hampi tell a story that needs retelling. She halfheartedly treads on a journey to seek the truth. The resolve, however, is strengthened when she finds her father’s research and study that present history is a new light. Lakshmi spends years in Benaras studying history about Aurangzeb and other Mughal rulers’ atrocious destruction of Hindu temples across the country. Though she completely agrees that the present minorities generation should not be blamed for the deeds of their ancestors, she also develops a profound belief that history should not be diluted to soothe any religious sentiments. Some instances mentioned in the novel like Indian army guarding the mosque built over the erstwhile Kashi Vishwanath temple force you to think about your own progressive secular ideologies.
Aavarna has two major strengths- a fiction storyline within the actual story which does not let it becomes monotonous and in-depth research of the author that backs every assumption with sound evidence. The subject finds relevance in all times and reiterates prejudices about or against a religion should not lack evidence. A good read if you are looking for some fresh and unconventional perspective.
About the Author- S. L. Bhyrappa is a celebrated Kannada writer. A Winner of the Sahitya Akademi award, he has authored 21 Kannada novels almost each one a bestseller. Tantu, Saakshi, Parva, Mandra, Yaana are some of his renowned works. Bhyrappa has been very forthright about his pro-Hindutva views. Aavarna, The Veil, is his twentieth novel.
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