Sharat Kumar
Paperback, ISBN 978-81-904559-9-2
PP 200, Rs 250
It is the English transcreation of Sharat Kumar’s original novel, Shikhar aur Seemayen, that was widely commended and received the Delhi Hindi Academy’s literary award in 1993. The plot is set against the momentous backdrop of 1963, six months after the border war broke out between India and China, when Sikkim was an Independent State and held close diplomatic relations with India.
The Indian Army was permitted to station military forces in Sikkim, and the Border Roads Organization under its aegis was authorized to build an extensive network of high mountain roads along Sikkim’s borders with China, Bhutan, and Nepal. The King of Sikkim, the Chogyal, one of the last reigning monarchs in the world, was hitting the headlines as a New York socialite, Hope Cook, had married him, lured by the glamour of becoming a Queen.
Concurrently, the narrative unfolds the life of beautiful Dipti who is brought up in England, but cherishes romantic notions about arranged, stable Indian marriages. Soon after tying the knot with Vinay, an officer of the Indian Foreign Service, posted at Gangtok, she begins to see that traditional patterns of life in India have lost their relevance in the changing social framework. During this phase of her inner turmoil, she meets Samaresh, serving as a commander with the Border Roads in North Sikkim, who
frequently visits Gangtok. The chance meeting soon flowers into a deep relationship of soulmates. The complex web of human emotions that entangles the protagonists, and how they confront the frontiers of feelings, echo in the silences of valleys and mountain ranges. A riveting story of star-crossed love!
Critical acclaim for the book:
• This novel holds together well and the characters emerge as full-blooded people. The narrative has a good pace and the atmosphere and environment are created with a great sense of place.
Shyam Benegal, Film Director
• When a reader enjoys reading a book, his relish has several layers. A significant book becomes relevant to a reader because it appeals to his whole being… The author of this book is no doubt such a writer
Ramakanta Rath, former President, Sahitya Akademi
• The locale of the novel is away-ness. I’m using the term that Naipaul uses. It is the away-ness from modern life, from traditional, conventional, cultural way of life, and that is why the author has put the story of his theme in a place, where you have all the beauty of nature, the environment which provokes these particular ideas and thoughts.
Abid Hussein, former diplomat
• This novel reminds me of an Oscar Wilde quote, “No civilized man ever regrets the pleasures and no uncivilized man ever knows what a pleasure is.” The writer has defined words like civilized, uncivilized, regrets and pleasures very well… The book is an act of rebellion.
Rajendra Yadav, editor, Hans
Sharat Kumar graduated from National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, and was commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1956. After eight years of service, in course of which he also spent a year on deputation to Border Roads in Sikkim at the outbreak of border war with China, he resigned his commission and joined industry in Kolkata. Subsequently, he was Director of a prestigious management school, when his book, Mind YourManagement, won the NTPC-DMA 2002 Award, as the best management book of the year. He has also served as a Member of the UGC Committee for grant of Deemed to be University Status for Management Institutions.
Farewell Red Mansion, an English translation of his other novel, Lal Kothi Alvida, has also been published, and a television serial of eighty-two episodes based on this novel was telecast at prime time on the national channel of Doordarshan. Thereafter, a full-length feature film, Duvidha, was produced and directed by him. This film received Certificates of Special Merit at International Film Festivals at Strasbourg and Philadelphia, Mejor Actriz Rashi B Award at Festival de Granada, and screened at Festival du Cinema de Bruxelles.
feature Currently, he’s working on his forthcoming book, TheFlying Crane: Managing Lives, Managing Corporates, and divides his time shuttling between New Delhi and the hills of Mukteshwar in Uttarakhand
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