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25th of May, 1887- A boat carrying 700 pilgrims from Howrah was caught in a tornado and capsized on the way to Puri. This catastrophe has been lost in the sands of time. In the same period, Bengal was witnessing a cultural and social renaissance. Kadambini Devi was relentlessly fighting for women’s rights; Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was building a miniature-Lucknow in Metiabruz, Kolkata. Around the same time, thousands of people were tyrannised into slavery and indentured labour and were being shipped away to South American countries. Narach is a sprawling historical novel that contrasts the uprising in Bengal with the misfortunes of the tormented communities. Spanning over years, Debarati Mukhopadhyay’s years of immersive research have been narrated with such astonishing frankness, detail and immediacy that readers are transported back in time and will get to experience the events as they happened.

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