Author– Braham Singh
Book- Bombay Swastika
Previous Works– Debut Novel
Publishers- Om Books International
Number Of Pages- 400
Bombay Swastika swings from a Nazi Berlin gearing up for its Final Solution, to 1964 Bombay, where Ernst Steiger, a German Jew, accidentally finds himself caught up in the murder of a young tribal, killed amidst allegations of something being stolen from a secure American compound. With the monsoons laying siege on the city, the reader accompanies Ernst past Bombay’s refugee camps and haunted whorehouses; food shortages, textbook mafias, communist protests against American PL 480 Food Aid, and peculiar happenings at India’s nuclear facility; where Dr. Homi J. Bhabha, the nation’s atomic mastermind, gets drawn into a conspiracy hatched in his absence.
This one-of-a-kind thriller unfolds through the eyes of a motley cast-Salim Ali, the South Indian, Muslim engineer and committed Marxist; Bhairavi, the enigmatic and sensual refugee girl; Sethji, the dowry messiah; Tsering Tufan-Homi Bhabha’s Smiling Buddha-dying from radiation exposure; and Andhi Ma, the blind mendicant who sees what we can’t.
Bombay Swastika is an exploration of the dark world of absolute truths.
Based on India, during the days of Nazi Berlin, the book, Bombay Swastika reflects the plight of the diverse kinds of people living in it.
A German Jew in India, a Mallu Muslim engineer and a Sindhi Refugee girl, make up the main characters , all skillfully picked to narrate a tale different than the stereotypes.
Most of the pre-independence era books that I had read, were mostly based on the atrocities hurled by the outsider sahebs on the brown skinned. Bombay Swastika doesn’t talk about the conventional stories, it takes all the odd ones out and speaks about them.
A gora who is struggling with his finances and desires. A communist who even being a part of the country, is considered an outlaw, owing to his religious status. A young assistant, ready to seek help to avenge the death of her childhood friend. A story that one would have probably not imagined.
The book starts with a love story, a story of love between two males in the pre-independent India. With homosexuality as the front flash, the book takes a bold step when it tell the story of the Sardar and the Chinee. While most people might turn their eyeballs, I believe , the book tests the limits to which a reader can extend his/her thoughts.
A plot, intriguing enough to make you turn the page as eventually it becomes a need to know what’s inside the gunny bag.
The cover is eye catching, having a significant relevance to the title and the plot.
The author Braham Singh, writes about a serious issue and still, manages to make it funny enough for the reader to chuckle. A perfectly balanced tablespoon of humor, added to each page, is what makes Braham Singh’s writing one of a kind.
This kind of expression has not been registered in any of the existing Indian authors and Braham Singh has surely made his mark, right from his debut.
Cover- 4 stars
Title- 4 stars
Blurb- 4 stars
Plot- 4 stars
Writing and Presentation- 4 stars
Overall- 4 out of 5 Stars
The description of events is one of the positive points of the book, but the book usually gets carried away with it and that confuses the reader.
The book might not be appreciated by the conservative masses, because of the frankness of language and exploration of a few topics.
Interviewed By- Banaja Prakashini
Buy the book from-
What’s the greater sorrow she could sing, love unattained or love lost?
Parvatibai says you have a history of suicide in your family.
Not suicide. Escape. We have a history of escape.
All I want is to win without bribing babus and pimps. Is that asking too much?
Yes. India without babus and pimps wouldn’t be India at all.
You wake up one day, and there aren’t too many friends left.
Ernst didn’t have the heart to tell him that Salim Ali wasn’t crying over Arjun. That he was crying over India.
About the author-
As Chief Product Officer of a global telecommunications company, BRAHAM SINGH writes extensively on IT and telecommunications. Shifting gears, he now gives us Bombay Swastika, his first novel.
He also wrote the screenplay for Emperor, a political thriller set in Malaysia and based around their May 1969 race riots. Emperor, the novel, is near completion. He recently began research on his third novel, The Little Eunuch, set in China. He divides his time between Virginia and Hong Kong.