Indian English poetry has been a very close subject to me. Right from the…
I am impressed with the novelist who has written this wonderful work, The Powerful, The Powerless. Shiva Dhuli, the author, has done his best in terms of imagination, setting up the storyline, developing the protagonist and the antagonist and also adding subtle imagery that will definitely make the reading experience for serious readers further amazing!
Technical Aspects for serious readers:
In my long spell (continuing) as a book critic, rarely I came across novels by Indian authors who could balance the triangle of character, plot and bias without affecting the craft of fiction! Any novelist tells a story; thus, every novel requires a storyteller. Some novelists prefer telling their story in the third person, and some prefer a direct or first-person narrative. However, be it in disguise or the open, the narrator is none other but the author himself. And thus, he tends to associate his bias with someone, some idea or something in the novel. However, if bias crosses the line that we call moderate or required for a fictional work to happen, the art of writing fiction suffers from subjectivity. Somehow, Shiva Dhuli has managed to balance the triangle except for some instances where he tends to take part in the events rather than letting them unfold in front of the readers. Ignore those minor ones and we have a wonderfully balanced novel where Bharat tells his story and encounters with Kansakumar to Pashupati… a story that is about everyone!
Plot and Storyline:
Two patients lie side by side waiting for some miracle and their numbers to click so that their kidneys could be changed. They both are suffering. While Pashupathi notices that Bharat does not speak much. However, when he speaks, Pashupathi can do nothing but listen to Bharat’s story with intense interest. Bharat tells him about his days of glory, misfortune, support by someone from the political corridors, education, job, lady love and then the fall-out between him and Kansakumar, the powerful politician, the chief minister of the fictitious state being discussed in the novel, unnamed but very apparent. Wins and losses, life and death, hope and despair… everything is there in the novel making it a complete cycle of emotions.
Theme and Imagery:
Anyone who will read this novel without a deep interest in images that the author tries to exhibit might not find the true meaning, depth and sense of it. The novel is a mirror that shows us what we want to see. Shiva Dhuli has given his readers a well of perception, a den of imagination and a period of introspection. Can politics not be positive? Can youths not get justice? Can people really battle evil? Can the weak stay in the war against the strong? Can the powerful and the powerless stay happily together? Characters tell very much. Bharat is the protagonist. Kansakumar is the antagonist. Look for images and their meanings when you read the novel.
Ideal Audience and my remarks:
Love reading serious fiction? You will enjoy this novel. Like reading literary fiction or traditional novels? You will have a good time with this title. However, if you like works by contemporary Indian English novelists who tend to move things faster and force towards conclusion then you might not like this work… it takes time to unfold and present the threads to the readers. The Powerful, The Powerless is a work that asks questions to the readers and tries to connect with their conscious. You might not find the work entertaining in the contemporary context if you like romantic, sensual or thriller elements. However, this novel will communicate many serious and realistic facts to you if you try to penetrate the layers with your interpretation. So, the work requires your attention as well as effort and then only you will be able to understand the apparent as well as any underlying meanings you can guess…
If you want to know more about Bharat and his story, you can get a copy of this novel in Kindle or paperback format from Amazon India:
Review by Alok Mishra
The Powerful, The Powerless by Shiva Dhuli – Book Review
- Alok Mishra's Rating
The Powerful, The Powerless by Shiva Dhuli is a novel that narrates the story of everyone who might be ambitious but has to fight against the mighty to take what he or she deserves!