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Author: Arun Sarma
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Maitreyee Siddhanta Chakravarty
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9788129123954
‘Twice every week, for a year…Mansoor sailed past Kuroiguri Sapori. Each time he felt the virtual softness of the sands below his feet, and they roused in him a tingling lust for the land. He surrendered himself to the dream…’
Mansoor Ali finds vast stretches of ownerless land in Kuroiguri Sapori, near the tiny Assamese village Sonaruchuk that is predominantly Hindu, and decides to relocate there. This marks the beginnings of a Bengali Muslim settlement to which the poor and the landless from the far-eastern regions of Bengal flock.
The inhabitants of the village and of the settlement—bound by their respective religions, customs and traditions—manage to live together in peace in spite of the political and social discontent which simmers under the surface. But when Gojen, the hero of Sonaruchuk, decides to bring home Hasina, Mansoor Ali’s daughter, all hell breaks loose.
Set in Assam against the backdrop of India’s freedom struggle, On a Wing and a Prayer touches upon many urgent issues: migration, communal tension and the rights of women. But above all, it explores, with wit and empathy, what it means to be free in a country where most boundaries, literal and metaphorical, are difficult to erase.
Maitreyee Siddhanta Chakravarty is a freelance translator, editor and Assamese language consultant. Her first translation, The Hour before Dawn, was shortlisted for the Vodafone Crossword Book Award. She lives in Bangalore with her husband and daughter.