Sometimes, reality is not what meets the eye. Rather, it is also what we choose to see or unsee based on our selective vantage. Such a selective approach is usually a result of group-based behavioural or perception-based bias. Dogged Pursuit by Raghavan Srinivasan is a bio-historical fiction set against such an idea, exploring fiction and history in a uniquely blended tale that shall compel you to see it far beyond what it truly depicts to be.
You know, in life, sometimes things are not as we see or perceive them; rather, they are different from what they may come across to us. That is because when we tend to analyze things as we perceive them, we usually do so with a set pattern of sorts, as a group, many at a time, thus adopting a specific approach and POV rather than looking at it objectively. When this happens, usually what comes forth is a totally different perspective from what it actually is.
When I read Dogged Pursuit by Raghavan Srinivasan, a bio-historical fiction and an investigative sort of drama, I knew there was a certain vantage shift I would experience—a culture-based paradigm of a kind that, unexplored before, would open up before me, compelling me to change my vision and look at the narrative in another light altogether. And yes, I was right!
Being the first of the 2-part series, this one is woven over a span of 4 decades, starting in the 1920s, and is mainly centered in Madras. Being written with a dual-toned aspect and approach, while one part of the narrative is centered and speaks about the growth and development of Madras, capturing the political scenes during the freedom struggle, the other is action-packed, full of behind-the-scenes twists as well as turns from within Tamil Nadu.
Yes, being from North India, this was definitely a unique and new experience for me, from the point of view of a totally different perspective. When we see and analyze a situation by switching ourselves to another’s shoes, we see it in a totally different light, isn’t it? Coming from Rajasthan, naturally, the entire political viewpoint of the south, the excitement, and the historical city of Madras in the 1920s were portrayed as evolving constantly and also undergoing major substantial development, especially in Tamil Nadu, This was a totally new voice to indulge in. I was stoked to have come to terms with their life wanderings—how the men got together and discussed politics, and how the women of their families gained knowledge and access to the political scenes by overhearing the conversations amongst the men. It was a unique experience to see the political scenario unfold from behind their eyes.
What I especially liked was the manner in which Raju’s character has been curated by Raghavan—perched upon several different roles, embracing and executing them well all at once, be it a father, an employee, a loving partner or even a staunch and loyal friend. Crafted against the backdrop of meticulously researched, intricate historical detail, even the supporting characters of Sekar, Natarajan and Ganesan were seamlessly woven by Raghavan so brilliantly into the narrative that it was refreshing to understand and muse upon their characteristics from a totally different vantage point.
A dual narrative style of writing in this case worked wonders since it had the ability to break the monotonous structure, which otherwise would have perhaps threatened to make the narrative overwhelming owing to it being a bit heavy on details, owing to it being historic in trope.
When I read Raghavan’s ideology, I realized he had a huge point therein. Historical fiction is definitely a good medium to put forth and provide information, provided it is not only focused on glorifying individuals or empires as a whole. What is important is how we understand history for what it truly signifies, decoding it blow by blow, reading between the signs and happenings of the past. Yes, I could totally see Raghavan’s efforts here, giving a meticulous takeaway in terms of bringing out the cultural, economic and political viewpoints of society in actuality responsible in the first place, giving shape and rise to these empires and individuals.
Raghavan’s penchant and love for history are evident throughout this one; even his previous work, “Yugantar: The Dream of Bharatavarsha Takes Shape 2300 Years Ago,” was laced with history and facts of that sort.
And the best part? Well, there is Part 2 coming, the next in the series, and I cannot wait for it. A great and captivating piece of writing, this one has multiple elements embedded in the narrative to keep one engaged and latching on to it. Go for this one, guys.
So, I hope you guys liked my book review of Dogged Pursuit by Raghavan Srinivasan
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