Skip to main content

Everything and Nothing by Nilotpal Dutta

This book is perfect to be read now when our country is going almost upside down with the political upheavals and religious bigotry.  Strong female protagonist Damayanti now is 82 . She is in her grand bedroom . Rehna and Zafar are shivering .

 The deadly silence in Patna feels like the one which will get followed by a devastating storm . U.P , Gujarat and whole India is in the grip communal upheaval  . 

Life of Damayanti from her very early childhood to final days with her grandchildren is painted so subtly with Backdrops of Bangladesh , Calcutta and Patna taking up nuances of emotions that how love is real faith. She couldn't understand her whole life how can people kill each other in the name of God. How are we so different . Religious fanaticism involved in Nuakhali to Babri Masjid hallaballu along with the phases of loss ,regret , pain of separation , love , longing and everything that actually matters in life are described beautifully . 

That uprooting a community from their land not only massacres their families but affects heavily those who though follow other faiths have  opened hearts to all . 

A sketch of lives of many thousands put into one character talking about the fear of loosing loved ones and inequality faced by Minorities during those riots where many were killed inside their homes and open in day light when government failed to protect them . Narration is heart touching with the facts together with the flow is thought provoking. Red rivers and lands do not bring happiness. 

The cover gives away Bengali melancholic vibes. Nostalgic and descriptive backdrop of Bengali household with specific Bengali  words used that made me feel more connected to the story. I believe nature never differentiated us .

 It never divided us into caste creed and religion . Or made boundaries to create nations. We create it and we kill each other . God never resides in someone's heart who puts others into pain. Very beautiful book.