Story of Mahanadi river told through lives of people

New Delhi, Sep 26 (PTI):
A new novel entwines the tale of the river Mahanadi with the people living on its banks through vignettes of their dynamic lives that are infused with myths, legends and archaeological anecdotes. Characters like Malati Gond, Neelkantha, Kuber, Bhanu Shitulia, Parvati and others may have never met each other but the story of their lives will remain strung together by the common thread of the ever-flowing Mahanadi.
“Mahanadi: The Tale of a River”, written by Anita Agnihotri in Bengali and translated into English by Nivedita Sen, is published by Niyogi Books to coincide with World Rivers Day, which is celebrated every year on the fourth Sunday of September to raise awareness about rivers and to conserve them. Mahanadi emerges from the plateau of Chhattisgarh and travels through forests, highlands, gorges and the alluvial plains of Odisha to meet the Bay of Bengal near the port of Paradip.
For centuries, villages settled on its banks have survived on Mahanadi water for cultivation, weaving, dyeing and pottery, fishing and boating on it. This novel also sheds light on some of the least developed, poverty-stricken regions of Chhattisgarh and Odisha whose inhabitants struggle to make ends meet. The characters and the landscape keep changing with the winding course of the mighty river.
The river plays the dual role of backdrop and central character. Within the framework of such a unique setting, Agnihotri explores the struggles in the lives of marginalised communities that are oppressed by underhand politics, social privilege and economic disparity.
Among the characters is Kuber, who sets out on a journey to find his mother’s long-lost friend, only to realise about the horrors inflicted by building of the Hirakud dam across the Mahanadi.

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