Loss and Longing on the Banks of the Brahmaputra
Parvin Sultana
RED RIVER: A NOVEL by By Somnath Batabyal Context Publications, 2024, 364 pp., INR 699.00
June 2024, volume 48, No 6

The river Brahmaputra has been witness to the tumultuous history of Assam. It witnessed death and displacement while the country faced the throes of Independence and Partition. It also witnessed pangs of separation when international borders divided families and communities who shared destinies. Somnath Batabyal’s book is the story of three such families shaped by the nation state and the compulsion of geo-politics. It starts in the Gopalpur Rajbari in western Assam. Feudal remnants show the prosperity of bygone days. As the family sits in front of a newly acquired television to enjoy a cricket match, we meet Lucky Dutta who crossed over from Bangladesh during their war of Independence.

Lucky, her husband Amol and their son Samar lived with Kalpana, Lucky’s cousin and the owner of Gopalpur Rajbari. While the zamindar family was respected in Gopalpur, things started changing when the State faced another upheaval in the form of Assam Movement.

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