Author – Vikram Kapur
Publisher – Speaking Tiger
Rating : 3.0
Unity in diversity: There would not be an Indian alive who has not studied this in their school. But have this unity been a matter of the past or a myth? If we study our history in detail, we would find it oxymoronic. The Hindu- Muslim conflict during the partition and the Hindu-Sikh conflict during the 80s prove the term to be a farce.
Vikram Kapur through his book The Assasinations, breaks the pseudo secularism in the country or should we say that whatever happened was because the country was secular. Being a South Indian, I was unaware of the vigour of the attacks against the Sikhs. It is heart-wrenching to read the atrocities and I somehow felt ashamed of being unaware of the real picture.
Through the love life of Prem and Deepa, author has drawn the picture of Sikh Assassinations post the assassination of Indira Gandhi. The story however reminded me of how the Muslims these days are termed as terrorists, with prejudice. The time when the Sikhs were synonymous of militants was depicted without exaggeration. The plot has been given a decent build up. Prem, a lad from a liberal Sikh family falls in love with Deepa , a bubbly smart girl from a conservative Hindu family. However, after the initial perturbation the families relent and bless their kids in a hope to the see their kids happy. Notwithstanding the intensity of love, the Operation blue and the consecutive demolition of the Golden temple chars the resolve of Prem. He starts becoming more religious and his attitude towards Deepa starts to change. Further the Assassination of Indira Gandhi and the revolts that followed places the final nail in the coffin and Prem turns into someone whom no one else ever expected him to be. The chaos that followed and the repercussions is the remaining part of the story.
The initial part of the book tried to keep the romance on the upfront but whether the author succeeded in the same is debatable. As the title says the book has given more priority to the assassinations and the chaos due to the anarchy post assassination of Indira Gandhi.
How a simple lad is transformed into a militant due to the judgemental and wretched mentality of the people is the crux of the story. The characters could have been crafted better. Author failed to make use of the possibilities of developing the characters especially that of Prem, which has a lot of variations to experiment with. How Prem was saved by Jaswant shows that there were still a lot who were broad minded and kind enough to distinguish between felony and reaction. There is nothing much to claim novelty in the climax but the fact that author tries to throw light into the lives of the survivors of the revolt is commendable.
Overall the book is an easy read yet thought provoking. The storyline is simple and underdeveloped but the author’s intention of throwing light to the assassinations has been carried out with conviction.