Farmer suicides in India, especially in certain districts of Maharashtra have seen a steep rise in the last decade.’ Shoes of the Dead’ by Kota Neelima is a tribute to all those dead farmers and the people fighting for their families to receive compensation. Non-fiction works related to farmer suicides abound, however a fictional work talking about the plight of the Indian farmers, due to varied reasons, was missing from the scenario. It was really great to finally find a political novel based on farmer suicides, set up in contemporary India.
This political book intertwines several aspects of socio-economic India through the eyes of an idealistic journalist, an ambitious young politician and an educated yet poverty- ridden farmer seeking justice for his brother’s suicide. In the midst of the tug-of-war between Keyur Kashinath, the young and rich politician and Gangiri Bhadra, the crusader of the farmers, there are characters like a greedy moneylender, a seemingly good district collector, unscrupulous middle men, a good and a bad maha sarpanch who plays important roles in Gangiri’s fight for justice.