By Debendra Nath Acharya
Translated as Jangam: The forgotten exodus where thousands died by Amit Baishya (2018)
Set in the background of the Japanese invasion of Burma during the Second World War, the novel tells the story of the suffering of the Burmese-Indians who escaped Burma in search of safety in Indian territory. It painstakingly describes the mix of violence, destruction and suffering, along with a continued, relentless hope in the minds of the refugees making their way across the mountainous terrain and war-torn countryside. To this day, the novel stands as one of the only depictions of this exodus in literature. Despite that, the beauty of the novel lies, in the words of author Arabinda Nath Sharma, in the fact that it is “a human story where historical characters are not only prototypes of those in modern society, but some of them symbolize a deeper philosophy which is the result of the author’s probe into himself”. It received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1984.
About the Author
Debendranath Acharya (1937 – 1981) was an engineer, novelist, and scholar of Sanskrit. He was the Principal of Assam Engineering College. He wrote multiple popular Assamese novels, along with collections of children’s literature. Despite his short life, he was instrumental in popularizing the trend of historical fiction in Assamese literature.