The Fate of Butterflies by Nayantara Sahgal

This book by Nayantara Sahgal was originally published in 2019 by Speaking Tiger Pvt. Ltd. It is a work of literary fiction.

Prabhakar, returning home one evening, comes upon a corpse at a crossroads, naked but for the skullcap on his head. Days later, he listens to Katerina’s stark retelling of gang rape in a village, as chilling as only the account of a victim can be. And in a macabre sequence, he finds his favourite dhaba no longer serves gular kebabs and rumali roti, while Bonjour, the fine dining restaurant run by a gay couple, has been vandalized by goons. Casting a long shadow over it all is Mirajkar, the ‘Master Mind’, brilliant policymaker and political theorist, who is determined to rid the country of all elements alien to its culture—as he, and his partymen, perceive it.

A professor of political science, Prabhakar observes these occurrences with deepening concern. Is the theory he put forth in his book—that it is not the influence of those who preach goodness and compassion that prevails, but the matter-of-factness of cruelty—playing out before him?
In the midst of all this, he meets Katerina, beautiful, half-Russian, wearing the scars of a brutal incident as a badge of honor. Together, they discover that, even in times that are grim, there is joy to be had.

About the author

Nayantara Sahgal is the author of several works of fiction and non-fiction, the first of which, Prison and Chocolate Cake, an autobiography, was published in 1954. She is a Member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She has been awarded the Diploma of Honour from the International Order of Volunteers of Peace (Italy), and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Leeds.

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