Sunday, October 24, 2010

Buy Rohinton Mistry's 'Such A Long Journey' - The Book Satyagraha

For someone who has not read any of his works, I have always been a great admirer of Rohinton Mistry. He is one of those literary (or other) figures who intrigues me no end. I remember reading sometime ago how he cancelled a book tour mid-way in the US because of the treatment he got at the airports. This was a brave guy I thought, who did not think twice about cancelling a book tour in the biggest market possibly for books - the US because he was offended by behavior of immigration officials or something like that. And I do so admire people like him who stand up to what they believe in, irrespective of the commerce or publicity involved. I do wish I have the courage to do something like that when the time comes.

His novel 'Family Matters' had such wonderful reviews that I always thought I'd read it. However I never got a copy, most likely owing to the size of Mistry's books. He is one of those writers who seems to be in no hurry to tell the story, probably dwells in it languidly, building it, describing it carefully as he sees it in his mind. Anyway, sometime ago my good friends Naresh and Anu recommended Mistry's 'A Fine Balance' and I promptly got myself a copy, which I have not read yet. It is next in line to a series of R.K. Narayan's seductively slim volumes.

And then I heard of the controversial removal of Mistry's book 'Such a Long Journey' from the Mumbai University syllabus for all reasons non-literary. And I decided to buy that book right away, and all else of Mistry's writings, and if I like what I read which I think I will, recommend the same to all else. Nothing can stop a good book and thank you all concerned - those who wanted the removal from the syllabus (I can still forgive them because any University student may be within his or her right to ask for the moon) and those who actively banned it (these one cannot forgive because they misuse their power and lose the sense of discretion which they must exercise), another of those spineless wonders we have in public offices, the Mumbai  University Vice Chancellor whose name is best forgotten- I will finally get to read an author I should have many years ago.

This is my way of protesting against spineless authorities. And if you feel a bit like protesting from within the confines of your home or in air conditioned malls, go buy Mistry's books yourself.

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