culture, Politics

Book: River of smoke

Just finished River of smoke: the latest book by Amitov Ghosh. This book is the sequel of Sea of Poppies. This book takes the story from India to China. The most part of the book follows an Indian merchant who is trying to sell opium in China, while Chinese government is about to crackdown on opium trade. As usual, Amitov Ghosh’s firm understanding of history makes the story all too vivid. Endlessly revealing.

River of smoke is not as convoluted story as Sea of poppies. Therefore, sometimes doesn’t feel that captivating. This may be because the River of smoke is more locked into the actual historical events and there was not much scope to add turns and twists.

Worth reading!

Indian Culture

Book: Sea of poppies

I do not normally read fiction books. I was recently bored by reading many technical papers and one day I got ‘Sea of poppies‘ in my hands and I couldn’t stop reading it.

The story in the novel is situated in 19th century British india,  which was addicted to opium trade.  The story attempts to bring together all kinds of people of the time on a ship traveling to Mauritius. The author has crafted a marvelous story to illustrate  views of these people about the world around them. The story is full of drama and planted with many historical facts and circumstances. I am very much impressed with the author’s understanding about the 19th century India.

An Indian can see nothing but evil in the British empire and a Brit tends to engage in cost benefit analysis. The Brit will ask you if there are no benefits of the empire to India. Certainly, we can count some benefits. For the Brit, this is sufficient for not calling the empire as absolute evil. In my view, nothing is absolute evil, but the British empire was work of some very nasty people and their perpetual pretense of building a virtuous empire.  This pretense still continues in the minds of many people, like Andrew Roberts. Sea of poppies very well exposes this pretense.