Book 9 of 2022 | Gunahon ka Devta by Dharamvir Bharati (Hindi Novel) | Diwablog 2

Okay, you may have noticed that I am trying to do a Diwablog series for Diwali, just like loads end up doing Blogmas for Christmas (including me). I thought why not use this opportunity to also work in some long pending book opinions!

A short note on reading habit before the actual review: Remember this post? A lot of you appreciated it and while I barely continued this practice, at least it initiated me into reading articles more mindfully. As for books, I already used to savor what I read but I mostly forget what I read. Hence, going forward, you will see a structure to my book opinions. I also maintain a book journal for my notes now and I love doing that. You’ll also see me writing why I chose to read a book. It will sort of help me take a mental picture of the time I was reading that book in. I want to clarify here that I don’t read for ROI (not that that’s a bad thing) but the note-taking may sound like tedious to some of you and that’s totally understandable, but I do it to savor the book reading experience. Goes without saying that I only do it when I like to.

And now, here are my thoughts on Dharamvir Bharati’s famed novel, Gunahon ka Devta, which also recently got its English translation as Chander & Sudha (I’ll link all books at the end).

Why I chose this book?

Dharamvir Bharati had been an extremely revered Hindi novelist of his time, i.e. the 60s and the 70s. His romantic novel – Gunahon ka Devta – turned out to be a cult classic and I have been meaning to read something from him. So, i thought i’ll start with his most famed.

What I liked:

To be honest, I didn’t like most of it. I wanted to like it so badly because most of the Hindi literature that I like is from this period or slightly before. Not really from today. And i wanted to be known as someone who has read his stuff and loves it. Vain, I know. Still, if I had to pick a few things that I liked, they would be:

1. The old world charm of the Hindi hinterland since it’s based in that part of India.

2. I liked how all the women characters in the book had something strong and unique going on for them. I know many people think that the women characters were stereotypical but I don’t agree with this completely. They may be stereotypical but they all had a characteristic that stood out. Be it Binti, the side-kick cousin or her bitter & orthodox mom or even the super stereotypical Pammi, who is shown as the vamp character by showing her Anglo Indian and ‘easy’. Even the protagonist, she was unique in her own ways.

Oh wait, i should have mentioned what the book is about. It’s essentially a friendship turned love story turned sacrificial love between Chander and Sudha. Chander is a student prodigy of Sudha’s father who is a college professor. He trusts Chander blindly with anything in life and family matters (and that’s how Chander and his daughter are ‘allowed to’ be friends) but there’s not even a possibility of considering him as a perspective groom because of caste differences which was a pretty big deal back then and continues to be in many parts still, especially that area where this is based.

What I didn’t like:

A lot. First of all, I am not a big fan of the sacrificial kind of love stories. Most of the ones that I have read never seem to have a good enough reason for it, so I basically find it difficult to relate to protagonists’ problems. To top it off, I felt that both the protagonists, i.e. Chander and Sudha, had very annoying personalities. Chander is kind of self centred and despite being someone older and well-read in the equation, he exhibits really toxic man-child behavior around Sudha and when not ‘catered to’, he exhibits self-harming behavior. It’s really annoying and I could hardly garner any sympathy. If i was supposed to look for a deeper meaning in Chander’s personality, I failed. Sudha, while definitely seemed a better character than Chander, was just not good enough for me. I cannot place a finger on why I found her annoying, since I may have liked her character in another novel setting. I just didn’t like the fact that she caved in too quickly to Chander’s whims.

That’s really it. I actually really wanted to like it but i didn’t . Below are the links even though I haven’t made a good case for it:

Actual Book

English Translation

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