“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.” – Frederick Douglass
Author M C Raj’s novel ‘Madderakka: A Romantic Journey Through Cultures’ is a love story that celebrates the human spirit in its highs & lows. The protagonists in this love story are not just a couple of individuals but representatives of two indigenous communities from separate parts of the world. Veeran is an Adijan, member of the so called untouchable caste from India while Ramona is a Sami woman from Norway. An anthropologist and a philosopher meet under special circumstances and romance blooms between them. They also discover the similarities in rituals followed and oppressions faced by their respective communities back home. And Madderakka is the blessing brought forth by their love, she is Veeran & Ramona’s beautiful and intelligent daughter. And she continues the fight her parents had started to ensure the Adijan community gets the recognition & respect that they deserve.
This book provides a great insight into the culture and way of life of the Sami people and the Adijan people while also revealing the differences in the cultural and social set-up of Norway and India. The early part of the book is fully devoted to capturing the romance between Veeran and Ramona and this has been done exceedingly well. And that the author has managed to narrate it within the framework of the tales of struggle by indigenous people is quite a laudable effort. There is a good mix of political diatribe within these lines and these reveal much about the author’s thought process as it does of his characters.
There is a good flow to the structure of the narrative. The weaving of the romance with the domestic life story and the past with the present time frame are testament to this fact. The prose in the narrative does a first rate job of extrapolating the beauty of the nature with the feeling of love and lust of the characters. In fact almost all the sequences involving Veeran and Ramona have this amazing dream like quality to it. And yet one shouldn’t forget the high dosage of harsh reality the author has infused within these pages. There are some hard-hitting and possibly uncomfortable truths within this story. Reiterating the fact that politics isn’t some external element that you can choose to accept or ignore, the author shows that politics is intertwined with our everyday life and that our every action, social and cultural is in fact a political action.
The book has a wonderful cast of characters who will leave a lasting impression on the readers. The energy & innocence of Veeran, the philosophical & beautiful mind of Ramona, the spunk of Sarah and Deepti and the leadership & magnanimous nature of Madderakka will remain with you even after you’ve finished reading the book.
Madderakka is a simple story well told within the vastness and beauty of two distinct and yet similar cultures. It entertains the reader as much as it educates them about the world and its various human inhabitants. It’s definitely worth a read and maybe some more.
Paperback: 200 pages
Publisher: Notion Press; 1 edition (February 19, 2015)