Book Review : Along the Red River.

Book Details:
Publisher: Zubaan
Imprint: Young Zubaan
Publication Year: 2013
ISBN-13 : 9789381017012
ISBN-10 : 9381017018
Language : English
Binding : Paperback
Number of Pages : 320 Pages
Information Courtesy : Flipkart.com

Review:

“My eyes continue to look at the far away tiny boat beyond the horizon, hanging as it were from the heavens above! I smiled to myself. Happy. Content. I have no regrets.” – This is the concluding line of “Along the Red River”, an autobiography of veteran journalist Sabita Goswami. The line, in many ways, aptly sums up the author’s journey that has been portrayed in this autobiographical account.

“Along the red river” captures Goswami’s personal and professional voyage in the backdrop of the turbulent times of the Assam Agitation and the following years of chaos and disorder. Threats to life, gender-based prejudice, the bitterly competitive nature of journalism, and an unpredictable husband – these are but some of the odds she faces in her bid to cover news from the disturbed North-east.

But Goswami survives, nay, she flourishes. She manages to travel extensively throughout the entire North-east, while also bringing up two daughters almost single-handedly. Journalism becomes her sole passion in life, and she manages to always get back to it, despite several distractions.

She offers an objective analysis of the Assam agitation, its shortcomings, and the ULFA’s diversion from their ideology. It would serve the reader well to note that all of this happened against the backdrop of a time when the ULFA would target people who took a stand against them. Criticism of the ULFA came at a price in those days. Many a times one would have to pay with their lives.

There also surface underlying contradictions, as the author juggles different roles adeptly. A fiercely combative Goswami, who minces no words in her professional interactions, is a stark contrast to the lady who doesn’t confront her husband even in the face of his highly erratic behaviour. When she does confront him in the late years of her life, she is also very quick to forgive him and accept him back in her life.
Perhaps it goes to show her dilemma, wherein she can’t shun the love of her life, in spite of being terribly wronged.

At the end of the journey, we find Goswami’s resolve and hard work paying off, as she gives her daughters the best education and values, and they become strong, independent women, while the author herself is able to establish herself as a distinguished journalist.

The book ends on a melancholy note, as the author finally finds the stability that she had been looking for, for years together. She finds a home, though not among the blue hills and red river of her native place, but in faraway Mumbai, with her daughters, and grandchildren. Finally, she finds some repose from the marathon she had been running in. She finds time to reflect. She looks back on her life and the myriad experiences that she has had in its course – the turmoil, the horrors, and finally, some happiness.

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3 comments on “Book Review : Along the Red River.

  1. Harsha says:

    Really liked your review and moreover the way the book has shown the picture of ULFA in Assam.

  2. Beechmount says:

    Subh,
    As a book review, it’s fine, but a bit wordy
    Cheers
    Grandpa

  3. Jessica says:

    Sounds like a good book! I’ll have to check it out…

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