Author: Maitreyi Pushpa
Translator(s)/Editor: Raji Narasimhan
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8187649232
The saga of Alma Kabutari does not begin with Alma herself. It has its roots in centuries of social and sexual subjugation of the kabutaris by the upper-caste kajjas. Like Chittor’s Rani Padmini of yore, from whom the kabutaris are descended, the onus of breaking the vicious circle and reclaiming human status for her people falls on young Alma.
The engrossing story of young alma’s evolution from victim to survivor to tenacious rebel, Alma Kabutari opens a window to the suffering and exploitation of a tribe that teeters at the very fringes of society even today, and that urgently needs our concern and understanding.
Debatable questions that can be asked, perhaps. But what are beyond debate are the links she has created between the kajjas and the kabutaras. These are links of friendship, unlike the links of clandestine sex that were all that her predecessors were able to forge. Perhaps this is so more in the fictional world of the novel than in real life. But it seems very plausible, very realizable. And it has been made more so by the sheer force of Maitreyi Pushpa’s writing. It makes crossovers seem potent means of setting in motion the forces of peace and pacification.