Book Review – Madaripur Junction by Balendu Dwivedi

This remarkable title, “Madaripur Junction” by author Balendu Dwivedi is a message-centric novel which displays the true colours of our society. The book transports the readers to the fictional yet eerily familiar village of Madaripur, a microcosm of the complexities and contradictions of the rural life in the eastern region of the state of Uttar Pradesh. Through the vivid storytelling and incisive characterisation, the author crafts a narrative that is both compelling as well as thought-provoking, offering a glimpse into the tangled web of caste, power dynamics, and human frailty!

Balendu Dwivedi is an Indian author who was born in the revolutionary surroundings of Chauri Chaura, Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, India. The author found solace in the soothing fragrance of the triadic garland of the Ganges, the Yamuna, and Saraswati, i.e. Prayag, where he learned his maiden lectures of philosophy under the lotus feet of renowned teachers and graduated from the University of Allahabad. The revolutionary zeal that he innately carried from his native place, the pious sensibility intrinsic to him, and the wisdom of philosophy turned him into a literary personality of eminence. His two Hindi novels have been published by Vani Prakashan, Daryaganj, New Delhi. The first one is ‘Madaripur Junction’ and the second one is ‘Via Fursatganj’.

Well, ‘Madaripur Junction’ is a satirical novel and has been awarded by the ‘Uttar Pradesh Hindi Sansthan’ among many others. ‘Madaripur Junction’ emits such a glaze that it simply mesmerises and captivates to the extent of catharsis. It has now been translated into English by Mr. Sanjay Dev. Interestingly, Mr. Dev is a renowned translator and is presently working as a deputy director at Rajya Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi. Now, this English translated version of the book has been published by Astitva Prakashan in May 2024. The book is available for the readers in paperback as well as in e-book format on all the top marketplaces!

At the heart of this novel, “Madaripur Junction” lies the ‘Patti’ which is a locus of power and privilege inhabited by the upper caste elite. Yet, beneath the veneer of supremacy, lies a world rife with jealousy, greed, and moral decay. Author Balendu Dwivedi’s portrayal of the ‘Patti’ is a scathing critique of the ossified social hierarchies that perpetuate inequality and thwart progress. Through characters like Chhedi Babu and Bairagi Babu, the author lays bare the absurdities and contradictions inherent in the social fabric of Madaripur, painting a picture of a community at odds with itself.

Further, in contrast to the entrenched power structures of the ‘Patti’, the author introduces characters from the so-called lower castes who are slowly awakening to their rights and challenging the status quo. Chaita, a representative of this struggle, becomes a tragic victim of village politics and conspiracy, his noble aspirations crushed by the machinations of the elite. Yet, even in the face of adversity, Chaita’s wife Meghiya and others from his community continue to fight for justice, embodying resilience and perseverance in the face of oppression. Well, through the “33 Reading Worthy Chapters” in this book, the author has truly presented a story with a great message for the readers!

Coming to the Readers’ Connect part, it becomes obligatory to mention that the book is indeed a precious read. One of the novel’s greatest strengths lies in its evocative portrayal of rural life. Author Dwivedi’s prose is rich with detail, painting a vivid picture of the sights, sounds, and smells of Madaripur. From the bustling marketplace to the quiet lanes of the village, the setting comes alive on the page, immersing readers in its timeless rhythms and rituals. Through a masterful blend of storytelling and social commentary, ‘Madaripur Junction’ offers a searing indictment of the injustices that plague rural India. Dwivedi’s keen insight into human nature and his unflinching portrayal of societal flaws make this novel a compelling and thought-provoking read. As the narrative unfolds, readers are confronted with uncomfortable truths about power, privilege, and the enduring legacy of caste-based discrimination.

Despite its bleak portrayal of village life, the book presents several moments of hope and resilience. Through the struggles of its characters, the novel reminds us of the human capacity for resilience and resistance in the face of adversity. It is a testament to the enduring spirit of those who dare to challenge the status quo and strive for a better future!

Now, coming to the final part of the review, i.e. the Book Verdict, we can conclude that a title like “Madaripur Junction” is for sure a MUST READ one. The book deserves a chance by the readers as it is a powerful and deeply affecting novel that sheds light on the complexities of rural life in India. Author Balendu Dwivedi’s deft storytelling and nuanced characterisation make this title a perfect read for anyone interested in understanding the social dynamics that shape communities and individuals in the heartland of the country. In addition, Balendu Dwivedi is a promising author, who is very creative in his ideas, which the readers can feel through his spectacular writings. In addition, his honest work makes this book even more reading worthy.

Book: Madaripur Junction
Author: Balendu Dwivedi
Publisher: Astitva Prakashan (2024)
Total Pages: 326
Reviewed By: Neel Preet

Also read: Book Review – Why to Die Before a Try by Ashutosh Sharma

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