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Analysis Of Such A Long Journey By Rohinton Mistry

852 words - 3 pages

The novel, Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry is set in the city of Mumbai, India, during the year 1971. The book explores the journey of a Parsi man named Gustad Noble and his relationships with others as he goes through the difficult times in his life. The book is not just about Gustad’s personal life journey but it also explores the political background during that time. The battle between India and West Pakistan during the Bangladeshi Liberation War that helped East Pakistan form their own sovereign state, Indira Gandhi's socialist and corrupt government and Shiv Sena's fascist regime led by their ethnocentric leader, Bal Thackeray influenced the background of the novel.

There were growing tensions between East Pakistan and West Pakistan during 1971. After winning the 1970 elections, East Pakistan wanted to establish their own country and separate from Pakistan. West Pakistan answered this with “Operation Searchlight” which started the Bangladeshi Liberation War (Malieckal,77). Operation Searchlight’s purpose was the extermination of all Bengalis. Dinshawji comments on this genocide when he says, “Bloody butchers, slaughtering left and right” (76). 3 million Bengalis died and 10 million decided to take refuge in India (Malieckal, 75-76). To pay for all these refugees, India introduced refugee relief tax which made the lives of the people harder. India joined the war after the bombing by West Pakistan's military aircraft. In the novel, Gustad covers his windows with black paper and builds an air-raid shelter under his bed to keep his family safe during the war (347). After 13 days of fighting, the Indo-Pakistani war came to an end with Pakistan surrendering and the Bengalis establishing their own nation.

In 1971, the Prime Minister of India was India Gandhi, the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India. She was known to be a strong and intelligent woman but the novel, Such a Long Journey reveals her crooked side. Indira was known to have a corrupt government and she was involved in many scandals herself. In 1971, she gave her son, Sanjay Gandhi, the contract and production license of the Maruti Car project even though he had no prior experience in this industry (Malieckal,80). She was involved in the Nagarwala Scandal of 1971 in which Harshad Mehta withdrew 60 lakhs from the bank by imitating the voice of Indira Gandhi (Rajagopal). He said the Prime Minister had requested him to withdraw money but Indira said she had nothing to do with this. Harshad was sentenced for 4 years but he ended up dying while in prison. This is the exact same...

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