Saturday, June 01, 2013

Shoes of the Dead-Political fiction by Kota Neelima

I got this book- "Shoes of the Dead" for review from Blogadda, started reading it on Friday evening and finished it by Saturday morning. That should explain how captivating the book must have been.
Shoes of the Dead- image from

The Plot
Shoes of the dead is a hardcore political fiction, based on farmer suicide incidents (which were very rampant last year in central India). It is a serious subject and book is equally serious, written with lots of facts and analysis.

Focus of the story is Keyur Kashinath, a first time MP from central India and son of party secretary. He has to prove his effectiveness as MP, but increasing farmer suicides in his constituency is hurting his political prospects. His mistakes, decisions and people he is associated with outlines functioning of a politician and his compulsions.

Other other character is Gangiri Badhra, whose father and brother had committed suicide due to unpayable debt, while were denied government compensation. Gangiri decides to fight for justice, giving up his job in city. He returns to village, fights against the system and powerful people to get some justice to the families of dead farmers. His actions agitate others, who took advantage of a dead farmer by cornering his land. How he deals with difficult people, handles the crisis and sacrifices personal comfort and benefits for common good is the core of the boook

Journalist Nazar Prabhakar plays the whistle blower role, operating out of Delhi. Somewhere in the middle f the book it looked like he would romance Videhi, but that angle got thrashed once he was aware of her super rich husband.

Money lender Durga Das Mahajan and Maha Sarpanch Lambodar play key villain roles. These 2 have vested interests in farmer's life and death and use their influences to get favorable outcomes in a committee set up to decide if a farmer's death is indeed caused due to debt.

What I liked about the book:
  • Stays focused on the topic. No unnecessary deviations like a love story between lead characters or forcefully induced drama/action
  • Is an eye opener on how a farmer's life is controlled by various entities in a village, and political agenda behind twisting unfavorable numbers.
  • Explains ground realities really well. Author did express her inability to thank everyone who helped her in her research of the book, because the story connects very well with real people and real incidents of farmer suicides.
What could have been better:
  • In Page 80, the paragraph begins with his/he etc and suddenly there's a mention of 'she'. Couldn't understand who is the lady referred to here
  • The industrial angle doesn't get adequate coverage/investigation compared to political angle
  • A soft cover version could have reduced the price a bit
  • The end wasn't pleasant- perhaps the reflection of harsh reality. No one ever gets punished, no implementation of any solution explained.
Key facts
Title: Shoes of the Dead,
Hard Cover
Author: Kota Neelima
MRP: Rs 495 (Rs 364 on flipkart, Rs 372 on Indiatimes)
No of Pages: 274
Publisher:  RUPA
Genre: Political Fiction

Some catchy lines "Where booked enjoyed better air conditioning than half of country's population"
"Where family of dead farmer owned land, compensation was denied, so that family is forced to sell off land, where they had no land, compensation was granted so that debt could be repaid in cash"

Shoes of the dead is indeed an eye opener and is a good reference for those studying politics and agriculture.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Other book reviews: Tantra by Adi * RIP * F?@k knows * How I braved Anu aunty and co founded a million dollar company


Ramakant Pradhan said...

Nice review of the book. I realize I haven't read any serious topics on India yet. Guess can get started with this one.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Ramakant

Indrani said...

Great review.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Thanks Indrani

ticketsworld said...

great review