There’s gunpowder in the air by Manoranjan Byapari is a work of fiction. It has been published by Eka.
It’s the early seventies. The Naxalbari movement is gathering strength in Bengal. Young men and women have left their homes, picked up arms to free land from the clutches of feudal landlords and the state, and return them to oppressed landless farmers. They are being arrested en masse and thrown into high-security jails.
In one such jail, five Naxals are meticulously planning a jailbreak. They must free themselves if the revolution is to continue. But petty thief Bhagoban, much too happy to serve frequent terms for free food and shelter, has been planted by Jailor Bireshwar Mukherjee among them as a mole. Only, Bhagoban seems to be warming up to them.
There’s Gunpowder in the Air is a searing investigation into what deprivation and isolation can do to human idealism.
About the author
Manoranjan Byapari was born in the mid-fifties in Barishal, Bangladesh. His family migrated to West Bengal when he was three. They were first resettled in Bankura at the Shiromanipur Refugee camp. Later, they were forced to shift to the Gholadoltala Refugee Camp, 24 Parganas, and lived there till 1969. However, Byapari had to leave home at the age of fourteen to do odd jobs. At age twenty-four, he came into contact with the Naxals and with the famous labor activist Shankar Guha Niyogi, founder of the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha at the Dalli Rajhara Mines. He was sent to jail during this time, where he taught himself to read and write. Later, while working as a rickshaw puller in Kolkata, Byapari had a chance meeting with Mahasweta Devi, who urged him to write for her journal Bartika. He has published ten novels and over fifty short stories since. Until recently he was working as a cook with the Hellen Keller Institute for the Deaf and Blind in West Bengal.