When the ancient ways of a peaceful but brave tribe is threatened by the arrogance of an empire, savagery of the “civilised” and greed of the affluent, the only thing left to do is rise in rebellion. The year is 1855. The tribe: Santals. Born a few months after the British soldiers raided their village and killed his father, Bikram grows up with a strong intolerance for injustice. Lt. James Davies of the British Native Infantry finds himself in the madding world of 19th century Colonial India. But he is quick to learn and develops a strange affection for this complex land and its people. Shibani is a Bengali child-widow and an heiress, who finds her life lonely and stifling. Of the many burdens she must bear at a young age are protecting her estate and the future of her son. Their lives collide in the backdrop of mounting unease amongst the tribals. Result of extensive historical research and brimming with memorable characters, the story moves through a whirlwind of passion, greed, betrayal, cruelty and sacrifice. As Bikram grows up, he realises it’s his identity as a Santal that has become a bane. He finds himself sucked into the vortex of Hul – the Great Santal Rebellion against the British and their lackeys –the ‘dikus’. Thousands of Santal tribesmen wage a desperate war for self-determination. Bare feet against boots; arrows against howitzers. The odds seem insurmountable. 50,000 Santals are massacred in the Hul.
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