Hindsight 2020 | Book Review | Author Sudip Banik | Evincepub PublishingAugust 4, 2020
The year 2020 will be a year that no one will forget. The pandemic of Coronavirus brought people’s lives to a standstill and they got time to ponder over various subjects that had been in waiting for long. This historical time when people were instructed to stay inside their homes to save themselves gave them time to use it any manner they wanted. Sudip Banik has used the time to record this event in his book, “Hindsight 2020: Not a Political Satire” which is, in all circumstances likely to become a hstorical document and also a text of literary importance.
The title of the book may not give a lot of idea to the reader initially regarding the exact content of the book but the present day reader can easily understand what the book will be about with the mention of “2020”. The author gives the book an interesting beginning by talking about his philosophy of “I don’t want to be a photographer”. He explains and justifies his lack of interest in being a photographer and by the time he finishes sharing his viewpoint, the reader is convinced and agrees with his idea of not being the photographer rather the person in the photograph.
Banik has divided the book in 6 plots with a prologue in the beginning. The absence of the word “Chapter” and its being replaced by the word “Plot” is noteworthy. On reading the book, the reader can understand the applicability of plot instead of chapter.
The author picks up on the present day event of the nationwide lockdown imposed by the Prime Minister of the country and the resultant effects of the action taken by the government. Keeping this in the background, he weaves a plotline where there are the characters of Eishu, Ansh, Junaid, Fatima, little Sana and Nandu who have had their own share of life and all it had to offer them and they all are united by the entwined destinies and natural design. The ultimate unification happens because of the lockdown which brought everything to a standstill.
Through the lives of these characters, the author also brings out different aspects of our diverse country and merges them in the book to give the reader more clarity about the diversity of the Indian society and various lifestyles it has due to the difference of economy. He develops the major portion of the narrative in the prelockdown phase when life was in its normal mode and the pandemic was not in the picture. As the lockdown happens, life for many people other than the characters turns topsy turvy and those are the real stories that the author records in the book. This makes “Hindsight” an eye-opener for those who are less aware about the ground realities of the economically backward section and the extent to which their daily fight for bread was extended. The author presents his view fairly without any bias or criticism and leaves it to the discretion of the reader to decide how and what can be done for the deprived section.
Apart from this, through the characters also, Banik addresses a variety of themes and issues that human beings face. The very first among them is the contrast between urban and rural life, the differences of city and village life, other than this, the all the communal violence of Hindus and Muslims which has been an endless thing and still continues. The other important theme he addresses is the issue of caste which is in the blood of the people and the violence and atrocities committed in its name. While pointing them out, the author also indirectly elaborates on the futility of these issues and how important is the universal message: the message of peace.
Towards the end, the author gives his hindsight, his thoughts over what and how he sees the present time and leaves it to the prudence of the reader as to how they would see it. He also gives a Shellyean manner hope to the people and assures that the present time will also change and we can hope for a better tomorrow. On completing the book, the reader is likely to feel relaxed, enriched with the knowledge or perhaps feel a brush-up of facts and at the same time thinking about the characters and how different lives they had and yet unpredictable and unforeseen circumstances brought them together. The readers living through the present time and the readers of future generations should give this book a try to have an in-depth understanding of the pandemic of Corona, its origins and the worldwide impact it has had but also to understand India, excerpts from its history of casteism, communal violence, how generations have suffered and how people still suffer for not just the earlier reasons but new ones too and also, to anticipate how this time will change the coming time.