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In his writing Bhaskar Roy explores unfamiliar territory and looks beyond the known world for usually overlooked things.
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The first thing Bhaskar Roy read after the nursery rhymes and Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest was the graffiti of Revolution. In the late 1960s when Calcutta and its suburbs were being convulsed by an iconoclastic political movement, he learned from the writing on neighbourhood walls about the Maoist campaign to eliminate the class enemies and smash the old system. Those were his most impressionable years. The innocent landscape of the Ramayana and a one-legged ghost in a tamarind tree was replaced by the gnawing reality of street-battles between rival communist factions and police hunt for the boys. 

In India’s post-Independence history the Seventies were the most defining decade. The robust optimism about Independence had been badly dented by the grim economic crisis in the mid-1960s. After the emotive outburst of bloody protests was brutally crushed by the police, the pain and frustrations of the failed uprising in Bengal found expression in a new crop of writing in the fiercely anti-Establishment little magazines. Roy edited his first little magazine even before he was out of school.

 He wrote because he was. After taking a master’s degree in English Literature from Calcutta University he took up journalism as a profession. “It’s my response to the world around,” he said facing an interview panel. The job brought him to Delhi. Working for some of India’s leading publications – India Today, Indian Express and the Times of India – he has written extensively about the political aspirations of the minorities and the socially marginalized.

Roy has travelled around the world chasing news. Some of the images from the road have stayed back with him. The student agitation sparked by affirmative action to give the Backwards a job quota  in 1990 troubled him. The anger of the young men and women on the campuses was genuine. But resisting an attempt to dispense justice to the disinherited was not acceptable. The dilemma and moral confusion acquired tragic proportions in Roy’s first novel, The Defeat or Distant Drumbeats (Har Anand, 1998).  

Revisiting Bengal on journalistic assignments to cover elections he saw a strange change. The land of the failed revolution in the early 1970s was being brutalized by a Stalinist party machinery and politics of indoctrination. Like the intelligentsia in the Czechoslovakia of Milan Kundera’s fiction, the Bengali middle class was in a hurry to flee the communist-ruled state not just for opportunities but to protect its identity.

An Escape into Silence is a poignant portrayal of a society in the grip of an alien, ruthless ideology. It is a story of life slowly coming under the shadow of cancer. The novel was recognized by a critic as “an impressive tour de force from a writer who combines good writing with psychological energy.”

A senior journalist on the Times of India, Roy is looking back on uprisings in the past to explain the upheavals around  the world. 

Intertwined with the story of all the convulsions taking place in the outside world is the Behula myth which provides a comprehensive imagery to the novel.

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