Shamsuddin’s Grave by Paromita Goswami
Paromita Goswami in conversation with Deepti Menon
Paromita, welcome to my blog. What was your main motive in writing this book?
Thank you so much, Deepti, for this awesome opportunity to connect with your readers.
My main motive in writing this book is to let people know about a community that is still awaiting justice since the Indo-Bangladesh partition.
Many Hindus still live across the border and face discrimination at the hands of the majorities. However, people who chose to remain in this country or took refuge in Assam (erstwhile Bengal) after partition are still bearing the bruises, sometimes at the hand of ethnic violence, political instability or natural disasters. They are bound to migrate, leaving behind their homes and loved ones in search of their livelihood, to the bigger cities with dreams that are bound to shatter again. No wonder, Assam is the source point of human trafficking.
With my book, I have made a small attempt to highlight the plight of these migrants.
2. ‘Shamsuddin’s Grave’ is a title that gives readers goosebumps and has shock value. What was your logic behind using such a title?
Lolz! It indeed has a shock value.
In fact, many have discarded the book because of the sentiments attached with the word “Grave” in it. I completely understand that, but then there is always a saying, “You cannot judge a book by its cover.” I would like to change the word “cover” to “title” instead.
There is a big logic behind the title and for that one has to read the book. Once you read till the end, you will agree with me that there couldn’t be anything apter than this title.
3. The modern world has turned into a very unsafe one for women and children. What, in your opinion, has to change to make it a better place to live in?
That is a very relevant question you have asked, Deepti.
It is really very sad but then the facts remain unchanged. I would like to put in my viewpoints and no offense should be taken in that matter.
I feel the modern world is to be blamed for that. We have become so dependent on gadgets and amenities that we have forgotten our basics. If you look back, the past twenty years have seen tremendous growth in technology, as also in the crime rate, especially against women and children. We have alienated ourselves so much from the real world and live more or less in a virtual world which has started affecting our lifestyles. Our demands seek opportunities to fulfil them, either legally or illegally. Human trafficking is one of the consequences of this.
With technology, our options have increased, but our humaneness has decreased considerably. Stress, depression and frustration are the new age factors that instigate crime. Women and children are more victimized because they are vulnerable, and the crimes go unreported too because of the stigma associated with this gender in our society.
However, things are changing with the efforts of several people who work day and night to curb this crime. With proper education and awareness, this can be highly minimized.
4. Your novel is set in Guwahati. Can the place be considered as a character in your book?
Guwahati is a big city in the North East of India. It is one of the preferred destinations of the youth, from both urban and rural backgrounds, in this part of the country. In my book, the city plays a key role in terms of places, culture and dialect. Therefore, you can say it can be considered as a character.
5. What would you like to tell your readers about 'Shamsuddin's Grave'?
‘Shamsuddin’s Grave’ is inspired by real life incidents. The readers have appreciated it and related to it in their own different ways. All I would like to say is, don’t go by my words. Read it yourself and let me know your thoughts about it. I will be waiting to hear from you.
Thank you once again, Deepti.
Thank you so much for your interesting and concise answers to my questions, Paromita. I wish your book much success, and look forward to reading everything that you write. Good luck and good cheer!