Ram Madhav
May 4, 2020

The Twice Born – Life and Death of the Ganges

Author - Aatish Taseer

It stirs you up; fabulous and poignant. Aatish surpasses his own excellence, and presents another literary marvel in ‘The Twice-Born’. He proves his prowess once again as a master chronicler. The Benaras that we didn’t know, regardless of umpteen visits we might have made, is showcased; not just as a travel diary, but as a living tradition – Varanasi of yore. Aatish holds a philosophical mirror for the Twice-Born – Dwija; the Brahmin not by birth but by practice and conviction; a mirror that everyone should dare look at to understand the tradition, the philosophy behind it and the ritual it has become.

Aatish makes several profound statements and forces you to re-read passages to understand the profundity before agreeing or disagreeing; like – ‘The past in India is inseparable from the world of belief. Once faith was removed, Indians did not know what to make of their past. As with the dharma of the place, what mattered was not antiquity or beauty, but sanctity’;

A great reading, but slightly weakens towards the last chapters, especially when Aatish delves into lesser known domain of Indian politics with opinionated comments that lower the otherwise mind-blowing religion-philosophical discourse on culture, tradition and history.

Published by Ram Madhav

Member, Board of Governors, India Foundation

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