Mistaken Identity by Nayantara Sahgal

Kin in spirit to both Evelyn Waugh and Salman Rushdie, Sahgal focuses on a young rich playboy in 1920s India. He is an apolitical poet who is mistakenly arrested and spends years in prison in British held India charged with conspiracy to overthrow the government. It is a black humored story, but not quite satire, more a fairy tale in which other Indians arrested for trying to raise consciousness are large hearted fools who will die to make a small point in an overwhelmingly bad situation. The tone is very secular: Whether you are surrounded by Colonials, Muslims, or Hindus, you are in trouble if you even inadvertently stir their stagnant waters.

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