A Burning by Megha Majumdar is a powerful novel set in Calcutta tracking the interweaved stories of 3 characters – Jivan, Lovely and PT Sir
Jivan is a young muslim woman who is wrongly accused of aiding terrorists in firebombing a train when she was only carrying a parcel of old school books for Lovely. Lovely is a Hijra who is set on pursuing her career as an actress who is being taught English by Jivan. PT Sir is a PT teacher who used to teach Jivan and is now intent soon becoming politician in the opposition party.
Some ill advised social media activity puts Jivan in the frame for the firebombing when the police cannot trace the perpetrators. Someone has to be responsible and it looks as if it will be Jivan, both Lovely and PT Sir are witnesses for the defence. As the narrative evolves you wonder whether either will stand up for Jivan, leading to a good twist at the end.
Burning is a compelling read which brings an insight into the under class in Calcutta and the corruption of local politics. Read it!