Shoes of the dead : Book Review

I received this book after having an urge to read more on the farmer suicide based factional stories. One such book which instigated such urge was Foreign by Sonora Jha. ​The book, Shoes of the dead cries about the increasing debt-related farmer​s’ ​suicide issues in Mityala district, Delhi. Kota Neelima, the author of the book, begins the story with a few journalists being invited to the MP’s residence to share ‘off the record’ information. It’s a trap which has a purpose to disseminate any potential acerbic outburst in the media with farmer suicides basking the limelight.

Gangiri Bhadra is the protagonist of this masterpiece. He is in the village to make sure the justice is brought in favour of his brother, Sudhakar Bhadra’s death. Sudhakar called for his death by forcing himself to commit suicide after facing successive crop failures which left him with grave burden of debt.

The Mityala district ​has an influential committee which decides whether to pass the verdict for the suicides and apply methods to compensate the widows of the farmers who commits suicide. The compensation is only given to ​a ‘patra’ ​which mean an eligible case. The district committee dismisses Sudhakar’s case as ‘apatra’ which means ​its an ​ineligible​ case​ ​of a ​​suicide debt-related and refuses to recompense his widow. This verdict becomes instrumental in Gangiri’s life and giving a way for him to be a righteous member of the committee. Gangiri makes his brother’s death as his sole mission in his life by giving up his decent paid job as a teacher in the state capital just to bring a fair dealing while handling the cases of similar suicide cases by persuading the committee to validate their verdicts. He does this by a researching scrupulously about every committee members. He is, although, successful in bringing justice to a few but during this course of action he attracts couple enemies for himself.

The book also speaks about Nazar Prabhakar, a journalist who always stands for the truth. Who can make wrong doers of the society perpetrate for their action. The fine example is when he exposes the treacherous plans of Keyur Kashinath and his followers Lambhodhar, the maha sarpanch, and Durga Das, the moneylender, in ‘fixing’ Gangiri’s course of action. He is a person who would dislike if his views are subjugated. When he feels the domination, he quits his job without any further discussion. And maybe that’s why he is hired by Haridas Tulasi, the editor in chief of the newspaper.

Keyur is the potential heir of the Democratic Party who represents Mityala district. His character echoes with much conceit and too proud of the power he inherited from his father Vaishnav Kashinath, DP’s General Secretary. I find him too immature and is always in thirst of power. He, undeniably, found his real sense of mission of his life too late. However, if he could have learned and recognized his powers before, he could have saved many farmers from committing such horrendous act.

Lambodhar, the maha sarpanch and Durga Das, the moneylender, in Mityala district, are most influential. They can go to any extreme step just to quench their greedy needs. Lambhodar was instrumental in getting the votes for Keyur’s victory by using his very mean tactics by instigating fear in the minds of the people in his village. Whereas Durga Das, is known for his memory and also the way he deals with the farmers during money lending business. Both of them pass their verdict in favour of the suicide case or dismiss the verdict only if it serves their benefits. Moreover they dismiss the case by giving illogical reasons behind the farmer’s death.

In addition, this book is an exposition of the ethics in both journalism and politics, and also the ideologies and comments of those influential people who tried to silent the common man’s cry for justice to the mass sufferers of the farmer suicides. The book reflects how political ​parties​ ​try hard to subjugate the minor sections of our country. First they fooled and swayed the farmers with their impeccable lobbying techniques for using the genetically modified seeds to sow in their fields and then trapping them with never ending debts which led them to forcefully accept suicide as the resolution. This book should ​is recommended a try. One can understand the way what the author is trying to say on farmer suicides. It’s a fiction woven with facts collected by the political editor of the Sunday guardian.

P.S. I received this book from MySmartPrice ( and in return I promised them to give an honest and an unbiased review.

(c) Reviewed by Sridevi Nayak Karopady

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