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Love, violence, betrayal — new book brings tales of ‘dreams and delusions’ from Naxal land

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New Delhi: From 2011 to 2015, award-winning journalist-author Ashutosh Bhardwaj lived in the ‘Red Corridor’ — the region in the eastern, central and the southern parts of India that is significantly affected by the Naxalite–Maoist insurgency — covering, reporting and writing on the insurgency, the police, the alleged government atrocities and the lives that were caught in between.

In his book The Death Script: Dreams and Delusions in Naxal Country, Bhardwaj recounts stories of the time spent there and the many men and women he interacted with, from both sides of the divide.

The book, published by HarperCollins, will be released on 31 July on SoftCover, ThePrint’s e-venue to launch select non-fiction books.

Narrated in multiple voices, the book attempts to look at pertinent questions relating to violence, love, obsession and betrayal through the prism of the Maoist insurgency.

Bhardwaj also explores the meaning of living through this insurgency and the process of writing within such circumstances.

Renowned historian Ramachandra Guha called Bhardwaj’s book, “Remarkable… closely reported, sharply insightful, richly readable”, while journalist Mrinal Pande noted: “Full of anecdotal and hard evidence, it forces the reader to rethink crime and punishment.”

According to Harish Trivedi, professor at Delhi University, “Only he (Bhardwaj) could have written this moving, troubling, indispensable book.”

A journalist, fiction writer and literary critic, Ashutosh Bhardwaj won the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism for four consecutive years (2012 to 2015). He has also authored several novellas, a short story collection, and a book of essays on literature.


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