Length: 40 pages
Genre: Drama, Play, LGBTQ+
Publisher: Dattsons Publishers
Date of Publication: 19th September, 2018
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review
Book Pitaara began as a subscription box service but has now grown, acquired plenty of loyal subscribers and has branched itself to related business as well. I had a wonderful time representing them in the months of October, November and December 2018 and when I learnt that they had collaborated with publishers for book reviews, I knew I had to get myself associated with it.
The first review copies were from Dattsons Publishers and I received two books that dealt with LGBTQ+ issues. I first picked this book since I haven’t read much in the genre until now.
“The Pride March is a drama about the plight of the transgender humans who are appallingly marginalized all over the world and about the social conditions prevailing in some parts of the globe which even lead them to get executed in the name of honour killing. Subtitled as “A Theatrical Journey into the Lives of LGBTs in 3 Scenes & 2 Verbatim” the play narrates various phases of Mohini, a young researcher who later becomes Mohan, the Transgender. A woman transforming into a man, after chasing her dream of becoming one and her espousal with the pain of wounds, the pleasures of pain, the pleasurable transformation, and the confrontation with the wrathful societal agencies form the plot of the play. It also discusses the issues of the lost honour – the anger of the patriarchal lost pride – through some memorable characters and incidents. The play sharply problematizes the honour killing committed by a father against his daughter which is a display of indignation by murder to protect one’s honour. The locale of The Pride March is anywhere in India and its time may be any year after 2015. “
Although The Pride March is a book that is only 40 pages long, it tries to address a lot of important issues that are relevant in the society in the present day. The story follows Mohini, a transgender who aspires to complete his transformation to a man. He has a group of friends who understand the issue and are supportive to the point where they accompany him to the doctor for the gender reassignment surgery and the post-operative care. I was glad that he was surrounded by people who cared and who understood what he was going through especially since we later learn that his family was not supportive of the transformation.
However, certain parts of the story did not sit well with me. I did not support the way the medical issues were dealt with in the story. The depiction of a doctor who was openly smoking while consulting on a case as sensitive as gender reassignment and one who did not take care about the confidentiality of the patient was not believable now when the laws are strict about the patient being treated right and doctors being educated regarding these issues. I was also surprised with the way the post-operative instructions were supposedly told to the patient’s friends. But the book needs to be read, not as a medical novel, but as a slice of life in the LGBTQ+ community and these lapses may be forgiven by the casual reader.
The social issues were dealt with with a realism that is sometimes sorely missing in literature and I was glad for it. Although the end was predictable, it carried with it the anguish of two characters who failed to reconcile until it was too late and the verbatim at the end was moving. I found that while the author tried to maintain a certain level of believability with the characters, they were all dramatized to suit the theatre. I am not sure if I am a fan of the genre but it was an interesting literary adventure in the end.
Dr. Efthikar Ahamed currently works as an Assistant Professor in the department of English and Comprehensive Literature in Kerala. He was awarded PhD in English for his research work in the area of poetry and comparative study. He has presented various research articles in national and international seminars and conferences. His publications in different peer reviewed research journals and periodicals, both in English and Malayalam put him in the main list of much-sought-after academic creative thinker and writer in the region.
He has two books to his credit in Malayalam and two in English. The Pride March is his debut play in English.
TL;DR: A quick read that focuses on important social issues
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