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My Rating - 4 out of 5 stars

Publisher - Tara Press
Genre - Historical Fiction
Publishing year - 2019
Language - English
ISBN - 978-81-8386-170-0
Pages - 270

Everything and Nothing by Nilotpal Dutta

Book Review - 

Nilotpal Dutta's second book, Everything and Nothing, is one of the best books I read after many months. The story revolves around Damyanti and her love for Dacca (currently known as Dhaka) and its people. 

With the rich heritage she admires, the friends she loves the most, adored by her family members, and called Paki by a few, Damyanti is living her best life. She is making plans for her future and living carefree but soon starts to understand the rift between Hindus and Muslims, created by Britishers and then continued by the natives for political gains.

Living in denial that Bengalis can't be divided by outsiders - she went to Calcutta to study medicine. There she met Gautam, and after completing their studies, they started a family; and returned to Dacca. However, the situation was getting worse with the demand of different nations based on religion, and after the Noakhali riots, Damyanti was forced to leave Dacca.

Gautam and Damyanti found shelter in Patna and soon became prominent members of the society, but they both have scars that deeply affected them. Leaving their land is one thing but seeing their loved ones raped, butchered, abducted, and forced to change their religion to survive is something one can never move forward.

The story comprises various eras, riots, and predicaments, that changed the Indian map, and I'm not sure if it has done any good. Damyanti has gone through a lot and lost many dear ones, which broke my heart so many times. But she is a strong-headed woman with immense faith in Goddess Durga and the people of Dacca, but the latter was damaged beyond repair. 

With time she realized that she could have done more before and tried one last time not to succumb to societal pressure or the malicious intent of people blinded by avarice, wickedness, and baseness. But will she be able to succeed this time? Will she be able to find some peace after so much misery? It would be best if you read this book to find the answers.

It has become one of my favorite historical fiction novels. I recommend you read it, especially if you're into reading about Indian riots, divisions, emergencies, independence, and demolition in Ayodhya. This story unfolds many chapters and walks you through the lens of Damyanti, whose heart is full of love and hopes for a better future.

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