Book Review : Shoes of the Dead — By Kota Neelima

Being in someone else’s shoe is easier said than done. And it is nearly impossible if they are “Shoes of the Dead”!

Farmer suicide is not news anymore, it did come as a shock initially, but eventually the issue cooled off. Public memory is short lived after all. In this entire period when this issue of farmer suicide due to debt distress was grabbing headlines, there was one thing which was missing in most of the political will vs economic reality debate. 

And that was – ‘their’ side of the story. The farmer’s side of the story. 


This book presents that beautifully. 
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Author of this book – Kota Neelima has bagged some of these most sought after accolades and rightly so. Here is a peek in to this beautiful hard bound elegantly presented book by Publisher – Rupa & Co. 
Successive crop failures and the burden of debt, completely crushes the morale of poor and hard working farmers. And death appears to be the only resort to escape humiliation tho come out of helplessness.But what these farmers leave behind them is another tale of suffering & poverty. 

Ailing children, food deprived family and a utter state of destitution. And there is still more to this….. 

There is another angle , another set of people , in fact a whole system which makes the struggle worse for the family of deceased farmer. The money lenders, administrators and ministers use and misuse their power . The farm widows are denied of compensation as the deaths are declared as “natural ones” and not suicides due to farm related distress.

In reality, there are perhaps just these two parties that exist. But in this book , there is a third angle. There is a stronger character who has a story for us, an inspiring journey to take us through. A soulful story of a fighter a modern day revolutionist, somebody like a Gandhi if we may call him. 

Gangiri Bhadra – is determined to change the fate of farmers in his village. His own life crumbles after his brother’s death – one more case of farm related suicide. His brother’s family was now his responsibility and the revolt was his soul’s calling. He was not ready to kill the farmer inside him and was all set to challenge the system. He got himself included in the committee that decides the compensation grant for the farm widows and made sure no more injustice happens to the poor family of the deceased farmer. 

Even with opponents as strong as the minister, landlords who had muscle power, money power and the most evil intentions in life, could not challenge Gangri’s determination.  

The story has a soul ,a voice that is unheard off , a long drawn struggle for justice that is seldom cared for. 

Do read this book, it is a well researched story with a perfect blend of fiction and reality. 

About the Author : Kota Neelima is a political editor with The Sunday Guardian and a Research Fellow for South Asia Studies at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC. Her previously published work includes the novels Riverstones and Death of a Moneylender

—- Reviewed by @Prankyy
Perpetual dreamer, idealist & like a true bong loves food, adda and giving opinion on every thing ! Marketing professional , Founder @Writersmelon

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One thought on “Book Review : Shoes of the Dead — By Kota Neelima

  1. This book comes right at a time when the agrarian crisis are at a peak and are calling for immediate attention. As a student, i had the chance to do a small study on the same in my home state & the outcome was shocking.

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