Johar Mai Bap Johar by Manjushri Gokhale
This book truly proves to its type of being a novel. While as a noun it is novel, as an adjective it is novel too; simply superb. `Johar`is the synonym of `hayat`, it is the way in which the lowcaste people used to greet the highcaste and highclass people by bowing down before them and offering a `namaskar`using their right hand. Centuries before, there was a terrible discrimination between the classes and masses. Casteism prevailed in the society then. It was believed that only the highcaste people have the right to enter the temples. Untouchability was the most aghast way of mistreatment. Sant Chokha Mela was born then. Johar… the true story of Chokha Mela, who was born in the `mahar`community in the 16th century. The intimacy he felt towards Lord Vitthala took him to such heights that even the God himself had to come to visit him…. often. One of the most dedicated devotees, Chokha had to prove his true intentions towards the God again and again. He had to endure worst hardships while doing so. Though born in a Mahar family, he was supported by his parents and later by his wife. They also devoted themselves to Lord Vitthala. But Chokha was last to leave this world. It was only when he had no other thought but that of Lord Vitthala that his soul was allowed to leave the body, that to after experiencing the utmost sorrow of life and hardships. He had fallen prey in the clutches of destiny. It was only after his death that his soul was praised and could become one with that of the God himself. This novel is the mirror to the contemporary thinking, the strict division of the society based on caste, the adversity, and the misfortune that the lowerclass people had to suffer. The author has an endless power to captivate the minds of the readers. Her astute thoughts reflect a continuous flow of emotions. She succeeds in carrying our minds into the period of the last centuries. Once a `true reader`starts reading this book, he or she will neither be able to control the gush of emotions nor the tears.
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