Friday, July 13, 2018
Bombay Swastika Kindle Edition by Singh Braham (Om Books International)
There Is a genius to this author. He enhances his cultural metaphoric kaleidoscope of characters with spiritual depth in juxataposition with the profane realities of Bombay. His perfect mirror reflects the dance through life and death taken by India’s complex and varied credents as they live out their sexuality, devotions, humour and pathos during the birth of the atomic era of India. The protagonist’s love affair with India weaves a narrative filled with crazy human relationships played out in the political and social realities of the time. Through the author’s hero, with his sublime wit, emotional depth, self analysis and despair, we can feel the characters come to life in this Bombay period. You come to love India as the author does, with a full symphony of emotions, ranging from high rapture to incredulous disgust. The unique play of light and dark through the blonde West and dark East , makes a fascinating story come alive in a historically researched context. The ambiguous portraits of male and female nature through the brother- sister pair of Kirti and Bhairavi is a special gift of the author.
Bombay Swastika swings from a Nazi Berlin gearing up for its Final Solution, to 1964 Bombay, where Ernst Steiger, a German Jew, accidentally finds himself caught up in the murder of a young tribal, killed amidst allegations of something being stolen from a secure American compound. With the monsoons laying siege on the city, the reader accompanies Ernst past Bombay’s refugee camps and haunted whorehouses; food shortages, textbook mafias, communist protests against American PL 480 Food Aid, and peculiar happenings at India’s nuclear facility; where Dr. Homi J. Bhabha, the nation’s atomic mastermind, gets drawn into a conspiracy hatched in his absence.
This one-of-a-kind thriller unfolds through the eyes of a motley cast-Salim Ali, the South Indian, Muslim engineer and committed Marxist; Bhairavi, the enigmatic and sensual refugee girl; Sethji, the dowry messiah; Tsering Tufan-Homi Bhabha’s Smiling Buddha-dying from radiation exposure; and Andhi Ma, the blind mendicant who sees what we can’t.
Bombay Swastika is an exploration of the dark world of absolute truths.
I highly recommend this book to all who know and who don’t know Braham Singh. I hope he will write another soon.