The story begins with two filmmakers Amir and Razia trying to make a documentary on the Hampi temple. Razia's discomfort is revealed while she is studying the idols especially when she notices Lord Narsimha's idol. Later in the novel we come to know that Razia's earlier name used to be Lakshmi and Lord Narsimha was her village deity. The reason for destroyed idols at Hampi complex needed no explanation as it was the aggression of the Abrahamics a ... more
The story begins with two filmmakers Amir and Razia trying to make a documentary on the Hampi temple. Razia's discomfort is revealed while she is studying the idols especially when she notices Lord Narsimha's idol. Later in the novel we come to know that Razia's earlier name used to be Lakshmi and Lord Narsimha was her village deity. The reason for destroyed idols at Hampi complex needed no explanation as it was the aggression of the Abrahamics against idol worshippers but the couple was trying to figure out a narrative which could please the 'intellectuals', they discussed a lot and tried to paint it in an 'anti capitalist sentiment' narrative but were unable to convince themselves. Razia then went on a flashback journey only to realize her stupidity and naivety regarding Islamic laws and marriage, a Marxist professor Sastri who also took advantage of her had played the role of giving legal backing to their marriage. Amir pronounced triple talaq on her roughly 4 years after marriage to which again Sastri came to the rescue and made them to shift in a separate flat as their separation would have had a negative impact on the 'rebel' youth. Razia came to know about her father's death and went to her ancestral village in order to enquire about his last days as they were not in contact. She realized that her father was reading the autobiographies of the invaders as well as the English and Kannada translations of Islamic scriptures. She eventually paid homage to her father on his grave(their caste preferred burial). She denied to be a part of that Hampi documentary which the 'Heritage' department had allotted to her and Amir as she didn't want to go through those unpleasant experiences. She went through a purification ritual which allowed her to do final rites of her father. Another state sponsored documentary this time about Tipu was on track but she decided not to become a part of it as she was now familiar with real history. Through her father's notes Razia came to know about how Muslim rulers erased manhood of captured princes and slaves. She witnessed a play directed by her husband and enquired him about its contents which was followed by an oratory remark of her from Sita Ram Goel's book 'Hindu Temples: What happened to them'. Razia then read about Aurangzeb's expeditions and how Shivaji Maharaj was his lone challenge. After more than 6 months she came to know about Amir's second wife. On further reading Razia came to know a eunuch slave(former Rajput crown prince) met his wife who was also a slave. That slave had his faith shattered in Lord Vishnu but he hadn't accepted Islam by heart and hence decided to witness the destruction of Kashi Vishwanath temple ordered by himself. Razia met her son Nazir in person after quite long, Nazir was a devout Muslim who worked in Saudi. Both of them had disagreements while talking but were polite because of the child-parent bond. At last Nazir told her that he was ready for marriage but the Saudis were not habitual of marrying their girls to 'Indian Muslims' hence Razia decided to give an ad in a newspaper. Sastri's wife was an English Catholic whose parents were initially upset over her marrying a Marxist. She retained her faith and raised her children as devout Christians. Dignath, the elder brother built a software powerhouse along with Babita, his Punjabi wife. Aruna, the daughter went through confusion at one point in her life as the padre fueled her with negative thoughts regarding Hinduism which was in total contrast to what she saw and experienced with the rituals and traditions. She decided to marry Nazir i.e. Razia's son that too by voluntarily accepting to convert. Sastri was called to perform his mother's last rites by Jayaram, his mother's son in law who ensured him about the ritual. He came to know about a conspiracy and thus decided to perform a 'substitute' ritual. He reached Gaya where he got his head shaved meanwhile Lakshmi along with Jayaram and others departed for Prayag. Brahmin Rickshaw puller told her the entire history of Kashi including the Vishwanath temple, she realized that the ghats were built during Marathas' reign. Everyone was devastated to see the state of the temple. Sastri was spotted in Kashi which surprised Lakshmi as he was not looking 'progressive'. That eunuch slave was now witnessing the destruction of Kashi Vishwanath temple where he met a sadhu and asked a few questions which were replied efficiently, at last the sadhu urged on the importance of not abandoning one's faith by citing Shivaji Maharaj's example. Lakshmi heard Sastri's lecture and was filled with rage. Lakshmi concluded Sastri to be the sentimental successor of Aurangzeb and was glad that she came to Kashi for writing her novel. As the news about Shivaji Maharaj's escape spread Rajput kingdoms also joined the rebellion which made the former crown prince to take a bold step of escaping his then life along with Shyamla. Sastri came know about his son's affinity for his grandparents, reconstruction of Narsimha temple. Razia interrupted Sastri in his seminar and was the lone representative of truth in that hall where her husband was also present. Amir visited Razia and said that he would pronounce talaq on his second wife, Razia ignored her rubbish and went to the 2nd day of the seminar where her worst fears had come true i.e. of Sastri using her and telling other delegates about her personal life. Razia got another invitation for a seminar but later realized that her attempts made the 'historians' write even more fiction. She wrote rebuttals of various literary pieces and sent it to English, Kannada newspapers. Every courageous newsgroup declined to print her perspective which made her finish the novel within 3 weeks. Lakshmi's book was banned and all copies including her father's notes, travelogues were seized. Amir helped Lakshmi to evade her arrest and was impressed by her fearlessness after reading the novel. The novel never really got published in a 'free India'. This book tells that history must be told as it is by calling a spade a spade thus its foundation must be truth. To sacrifice a stable present by telling distorted history for the imaginary, unachievable and 'progressive' future is futile. This book is a must read especially for millennial Hindus.