The Narmada is the only river in India to merit a parikrama, literally a going around. The traditional journey takes more than three years and ends where it begins, having covered nearly 2,700 kilometres. It is along this river that the clash of cultures has played out most strongly over the centuries, as the agriculturist encountered forest dweller, the Indo-European north faced the Dravidian south, the Afghan battled the Goan and the dam builders confronted the environmentalists. Perhaps it is no coincidence then that the Adi Sankara attained the realization of Advaita – non-duality – on these baks.
A journalist who trained as a mathematician, Hartosh Singh Bal seeks to understand the history and nature of such realizations and reconciliations as he travels the route of the parikrama. In his telling, the stories and people he comes across take on a life their own – Osho's relatives safeguarding his memory in the sari shops of Gadarwara, Gandhi confronting Jesus in a theological battle being waged amidst the last Quakers of Hoshangabad, the king of a small island spending moonlit nights firing bullets into the river.
In the words of Ramachandra Guha, 'this wonderful book seamlessly blends literature and philosophy, history and politics, art and the environment. Through his journey along a sacred river in the heart of India, Hartosh Singh Bal takes us to the very centre of classical and contemporary debates on what it means to be an Indian'.
Hartosh Singh Bal trained as an engineer at BITS Pilani and a mathematician at New York University before turning to journalism. He is co-author of A Certain Ambiguity: A Mathematical Novel, which won the Association of American Publishers' award for the Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Mathematics for 2007. He is the political editor of Open, and has worked for The Indian Express, Tehelka and Mail Today.
Item Code: NAM400 Author: Hartosh Singh Bal Cover: Hardcover Edition: 2013 Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers ISBN: 9789350297056 Language: English Size: 9.0 inch X 6.0 inch Pages: 248 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 360 gms