‘We are here … So will you … You will live forever, Kaziranga … So long …’ pg. 293
Some stories act as mirrors to the society. They highlight the issues and realities which are either cunningly concealed or brutally ignored by the people in authority. Ballad of Kaziranga is such an influential narrative from the state of Assam by Dileep Chandan. As a senior journalist, writer and novelist, Dileep Chandan has various significant works and prestigious titles to his credit. The exceptional ballad is aesthetically translated from Assamese by Parbina Rashid, a writer, editor and columnist for The Tribune.
We all know Kaziranga National Park as a world heritage site and a home of endangered one-horned rhinoceros. Situated in the flood plains of Brahmaputra, with its lush greenery and substantial population of wildlife species, Kaziranga is a great tourist hub. However, what we don’t know or what we are oblivious to is explicitly revealed by Dileep Chandan in Ballad of Kaziranga.
The story features three friends – Amal, Arunabh and Rishi as central characters and various supporting characters among which Lakhimi and forest ranger Hridaynanda have major roles to play. With imaginary people and plot, Ballad of Kaziranga is a reality check. It condemns the heinous act of rhino-poaching which indeed is creating a ruckus in the state of Assam. The story also unfolds the messed up political situation of the region, the illegal activities ruining the peace of Kaziranga and the alarming situation of local villagers. The vulnerability of the forest guards and the threats to life they suffer while protecting the forest is thoroughly discussed like never before. The three protagonists have their different interests and motives in the plot, however, with a common love for Kaziranga. The conclusion glorifies optimism and hopes of a better future.
Altogether, Ballad of Kaziranaga is not just a text created out of imagination but it can be called a documentary with genuine facts and figures. It elaborates the present scenario of the region and apart from the unnerving actualities; the beauty of Kaziranga is vehemently elucidated. It will grab the minds and rule the hearts and will take the readers for a jungle safari in Kaziranga National Park.
Bhabya Singh (Columnist, Reviews)
is a student of Commerce (pursuing Post-Graduation); however, with a fond love towards literature she thrives to read and write.