It was the season of beerbahutis and rain clouds, some time in the 4th century BC. In a cook grotto Gautam Nilambar, a final year student at the Forest University of Shravasti, chances upon Hari Syhankar, a Princeling yearning to be a Buddhist monk. He falls in love 3with the beautiful, sharp-witted champak. And thus begins a magnificent tale that flows through time, through Maghadhan Pataliputra, the kingdom of Ouch, the British Raj and into a Time of Independence. This fiery river of Time flows along the banks of their loves as they are recreated over the centuries through the ripples and the eddies keeping them together, keeping them apart. The Story comes full circle in post-Partition India when Hari Shankar and his friend Gautam Nilambar Dutt meet in a grotto in the forest of Shrvasti, and mourn the passing of their loves into meaninglessness, their friends which have left for Pakistan, and what remains of their country of which they were once so passionately proud.
What happens between then and now is history, full of the clangor of conflict, the deviousness of colonizers, the apathy of maharajas, and the irrelevance of religion in defining Indian ness.
Now available in English for the first time, this great novel, originally published in Urdu in 1959, is easily one of the most discussed in contemporary India, widely acclaimed as a literary landmark.
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