‘Elegy For The East’ – fiction that reflects reality

Perceived from the eyes of the subaltern and the marginalised, this is a powerful narrative that would pull at the heartstrings of every reader as it tells the stories of youths in angst, of groups who struggle to bring about a more just society, and of women who search for true meaning of life amidst trials and tribulations.

On one level, before the relentless march of history, the lone individual is helpless. Yet it is such men whose collective efforts give history its momentum and ushers in change of eras. These changes are tempestuous at times like a churning that brings up both nectar and scum.

Dhrubajyoti Borah’s “Elegy for the East – A Story of Blood and Broken Dreams” (Niyogi Books) explores the utter helplessness and travails of man in face of exactly such overwhelming odds.

It’s a narrative not far from truth, where an uncaring, anonymous, and overbearing State creates and/or co-creates situations of social and political strife, and where innocent and beautiful dreams of the masses die in the stony bed of terror and counter-terror.

The sylvian countryside of Assam with its green paddy fields hide memories of bloodshed, death, rape, and terror. And through all these, the eternal narrative of man’s quest for peace and meaning shine like a beacon.

This novel is a work of fiction; the characters bear no resemblance to any person dead or alive. Yet they walked amongst us all�in flesh and blood, in thoughts and dreams – fiction that reflects reality in a more truthful way.

The author’s skilful exploration of postcolonial ethos and angst is commendably evident. His voice is urgent and genuine, with a rare universal appeal. It’s a masterly work of a master storyteller.

A Sahitya Akademi awardee and currently Principal of the Fakhuddin Ali Ahmed Medical College, Barpeta, Dhrubajyoti Borah, writes in Assamese and English; “Elegy…” is his own translation of his Assamese original “Kalantarar Gadya”.

He has written more than 20 novels – big and small – on various aspects of human existence.

Set in the lush green valleys, steaming forests, emerald tea plantations, and rolling hills of Assam, many of his writings are viewed through the eyes of the subaltern and marginalized stratum, whose entire lives are a yearning for emancipation from social and political forces that seek to subdue them.

Seeped with the essence of contemporaneous history and the historical experience of the people, Borah’s exploration of postcolonial ethos and angst is masterly. His voice is urgent and genuine, with a rare universal appeal.