Review Godhuli by Harihar Panda

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Book Name             :     Godhuli          
Author                       :     Harihar Panda     
Publisher                  :    Leadstart Publishing Pvt Ltd
Genre                        :     Non-Fiction/Memoirs
Number of Pages.   :     186
Publishing Year   :     2015
Edition/Binding       :     Hardcover

Rating : 4.0


It was the most turbulent period in Indian history. The sonorous slogan, Simon, go back! reverberated through the political corridors of a rising nation. The historic Dandi March had its soulful impact on millions of common people as Mahatma Gandhi gave the clarion call to Do or die . But even as India achieved her blood-soaked independence, there were already signs of a popular uprising in the country against the tyranny of the zamindars. There were widespread rumours that the new government would confiscate the zamindari estates and distribute the land among the tenants and the landless. Villagers everywhere were elated at the imminent prospect of owning their own land. Those who had never before uttered a word of protest against their landlords, began to act with defiance and disregard. The mighty zamindari citadel was crumbling. All the king s men had gone, leaving the abandoned King distraught and forlorn, victim of a changing world order… My father, who had tolerated with exemplary fortitude a series of personal calamities, could not bear the ignominious loss of dignity, the thing he valued most in life. Independence without honour was a meaningless platitude for him. It was indeed a painful transition from wealth and aristocracy to democracy and equality. The unthinkable fall from mastery and power of the zamindars, was an event that shook the very foundations of the century-old socio-economic system of newly independent India. Written with elegance, the narrative captures with depth and grace an era which now lives only in history and in the minds of a remaining few who lived through those momentous times.

 My Review

Godhuli is the autobiographical account of author Harihar Panda. He explains his life as the son of a Zamindar. The life before and after independence, life during the world war, different twists and turns in his life, his relation with his mother, surrogate mother, grandmother, father, siblings everything is explained in detail. Each and every person in his life is given due importance. It is a best learning material for the current generation about the life in India before and right after independence. The cultural events are also portrayed in detail.


The writing style is the main highlight of the book. Readers are forced to hang on to the book because author has created the book with the care with which a sculptor creates a statue. The first encounter with his wife is explained with quite brilliant irony. A satire is seen throughout the book but author did not bluntly thrash anyone with his criticism. The period during the freedom struggle has always been depicted as a time with blood shed , fighting etc. Author shows us that there is another dimension of life apart from all this. I was eagerly reading each and every minute explanations. Author’s relation with Neera ma is rendered in a tangible way. A quite interesting information is the use of non- vegetarian food and opium in the strict Brahmin family. The book is a storehouse of information about cultural rituals and art-forms. I could see the book as a text book for children in future. What more should I say?

In some chapters the correct year could have been mentioned while explaining the events. The chapters are not chronologically arranged. Hence, sometimes readers might get confused. The book has a potential to grab an international audience. Hence some of the words in regional languages could have been explained or a glossary could have been included.

One Liner

 An interesting historical account of a landlord’s family.

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 About the Author

Harihar Panda was born in 1932, into a traditional landlord’s family of Orissa (present-day Odisha). He joined the Civil Service after completing his post-graduate studies and gaining a degree in Law. During his term with the Civil Service, he successfully undertook varied judicial and administrative assignments. Post-retirement, he taught at the University Law College, Bhubaneswar, specializing in Constitutional and Administrative Laws. He has also served as Chief Executive of a literary journal. His abiding love of literature has richly endowed his life and he continues to read and write into his eighties. Harihar Panda can be reached at:

Reviewed for the publisher 

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book as a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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