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Book Review: Chintar Dostabej

Book Review: Chintar Dostabej

Sentinel Digital Desk

A Soul Searching Rendition

Subhajit Bhadra

Shankar Kumar Das is a physician by profession but he happens to be a writer of distinction. His medical orientation has enabled him to write non-fictional essays which seem to give food for thought to the readers and compels a sensitive minded human being to think about both our contemporary and age old topics. He is a well read person and the gems of his erudition are scattered throughout his writings.

His collection of essays titled 'Chintar Dostabej' carries all the above mentioned points. His blending of subject matter and style is incomparable and deft narrative stroke is praise worthy. He basically sees the optimistic side of life which is an asset but he also points out the negative aspects of a particular topic. In one of his essays, titled 'Bihu', he meticulously charts out the historical development of this particular cultural festival of the people of Assam which was started by the Ahom King Siu-ka-fa, but Das also brings to light how this festival has been commercialized in the present day context. In this essay he makes an interesting analogy – just as PCOs are now being closed down because of the flourishing of mobile phones. Similarly the display of Bihu on T.V Screen has reduced the appeal of traditional Bihu performers. In a different essay he criticizes the culture of 'Bandh' and he refers to a historical decision in Kerela made by the high court .

The author says that love should inspire us to do good deeds but he is worried at the same time regarding the rise of violence and murder in our contemporary life. He also writes about the contemporary problem of illegal immigration and offers some thoughts regarding how this problem can be tackled. The author provides a historical glance at Assam Movement and he also talks about the Rohingia Muslims who created a controversy regarding their strategy of survival. Das writes how partition of India and Pakistan put the good–will between Hindus and Muslims in the I.C.U (Intensive Care Unit) and this interesting and apt. medical analogy shows Das' imaginative ingenuity.

Das' interdisciplinary knowledge manifests itself when he talks about the Bollywood movie made by Sanjay Leela Bhanshali about the life of Padmavati and how this film created ripples. Some of the essays are purely medical in orientation because of their subject matter but this fact does not make them less interesting. He writes how dreams can be materialized into reality through strong determination and his personal anecdotes make this particular essays interesting. Das' essays are like "dispersed meditations" and in the context of Assamesse literature he reminds me about Homen Borgohain who has continuously written essays on various topics on earth.

Das' style is lucid and free-flowing and his language is urbane. Das does not pretend to be a solution –provider of all the problems he refers but his soul searching rendition in 'Chintan Dostabej' should appeal to all sorts of readers.

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