Review Of ‘Guild Hostilities’ a novel penned by C.R.Barath Narayan
The author of this work has tried a different approach to the conventional literature about World War 1 and World War 2. Narayan though being a young author has shown remarkable writing abilities which we must respect. Narayan has shown us the two great wars of the early 20th century through the eyes of Indian sepoys which is unique and very novel idea in historical Indian literature.
The characters hold an important place in the story and one cannot function without the other. The author has managed to interconnect his characters in such a way that even though they all belong to diverse religions, they all share one common belief…the belief in humanity. Whether it is the Muslim Mohamed or the Sikh Ratan, the Christian Michael or the Hindu Ramaswamy, all these characters have one role to play and that is to teach us the glory of religious tolerance during the pre-Independence period of India. The characters are feisty and lively. They speak with no pretensions and the author at the beginning of his book has used a lot of slang which creates a different feel to the whole story especially during the life of the protagonists in the Akhara (sacred wrestling ring in India); I would like to mention here that I loved the way the author mentioned about the ‘slapping of thighs and shoulders’ which really made one feel the devotion of the wrestlers in the Akhara.
The main plot of this unique story is centred on the life and military adventures of Mohamed who is a dominating figure in the story. I was impressed that the author being a Hindu chose to create a Muslim main protagonist as his main character in the story. The story line is good, it has depth and the descriptions are few and interesting to read. There are fifty six chapters in all excluding the prologue and epilogue. The prologue is so gripping that it tempts the reader to want to know what is coming next. The chapters are short and very easy to read especially when one wants to read some light literature with a bit of intellectual work in it.
The book however is not meant for readers below the age of 13 as there is a rape scene depicted in the story. Readers above age 13 are welcome to read this historical book which portrays the stark realities of war including the hooliganism, thefts and rape. The rape of Elnaz the protagonist’s love is described with dignity and without a lot of gore to it.
The historical background has been taken into consideration by the author and he has done his research very well especially in certain chapters where he highlights that even though India had nothing to do with the First and the Second World Wars yet being a colony of the British Empire we were forced to take part in both these wars. The main characters in the story battle against the allies of the German’s and these encounters are described very well by the author.
The latter few chapters are very brief which ends the story very abruptly which maybe shows that the author wishes to write a sequel to this work of his? The dialogues become less coarse as the story proceeds and therefore after that it becomes easier to read.
Morals and virtues are the building blocks of this book penned by Narayan along with a sense of duty to one’s soul rather than to one’s self. This we clearly see when Elnaz is being raped after the carnage of the First World War and Mohamed without a loaded rifle, with his comrades tries to save her despite all the dangers. Some of the values one can gain from reading this novel are:
- Respect for ones elders
- Respect for ones Guru (teacher)
- Respect for the dignity of a woman
- Upholding the virtue of integrity
- Upholding the virtue of compassion
- Upholding the virtue of kindness
- Upholding the value of true friendship which sees no caste, religion, race, gender, region etc.
Lastly, I would like to say that I hope Narayan continues to improve upon his work and writes more books in the future. I will end with a quote from his book:
“You’re now fighting a war against your enemy. You’re conquering his fort by fighting hard. Look at the sweat rolling down your body; it’s the blood of your enemy. Celebrate victory for each drop of sweat you let of your body.”
Copyright 2014 Fiza Pathan
Amazon link: http://www.amazon.in/Guild-Hostilities-C-Barath-Narayanan/dp/9384049964/