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Book Review

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KANNADA

Tribal fiction

V. GOPALAKRISHNA

JENU AKASHADA ARAMANEYO: Ksheerasagara; Navakarnataka Publications (P) Ltd, 11, Embassy Centre, Crescent Road, Bangalore-560001. Rs. 90.

THIS NOVEL centred on the inhabitants of a rehabilitation camp describes the miserable life of a displaced tribal community. Consequent upon the construction of irrigation dams and demarcation of forest for national parks bordering Karnataka and Kerala, many forest dwellers were driven out of their habitat.

The assurance to provide alternate land for their livelihood was neglected by the government. These landless people who were entirely dependent on the forest for their living were forced to work under merciless landowners in the nearby villages.

Wounded by the gunshot of a forest guard, Mara, a rootless refugee escapes into the dense forest. Following his track the author weaves the cultural history of these innocent people.

There are characters like Magi who lost her husband due to the folly of her own men. Chukki is bereaved of her young lover. Kalayya’s only son Dasa who doesn’t want to leave the original place becomes mentally handicapped. Despite these unending woes the author observes goodwill and mutual help among them.

The narration is not only graphic but rich with minute details of the habitats of all living beings including trees and herbs in the forest. A few slips in the usage and spelling of Jenu Kuruba dialect may be rectified.

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