Thursday, September 29, 2011
The Faith of Ashish - Giveaway and Review
India, 1905 - A belief in not only reincarnation and karma but also in the castes. Castes reflect the social status of the people of India, and there are only 4. Hopefully you are born into the highest class, the Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Sudra. The Untouchables fell outside of the four castes. Everyone knew the outcastes to be impure, subhuman, lower than animals and rodents and insects.
This is the story of one such family born into the outcaste class. They live within a village set aside for their social class. One class can never interact with another, especially the outcastes. When Virat leaves for work each day, removing dead animals from the other areas, he is forced to strap a broom to his back, which he uses when walking the road, bending down and then walking, to sweep away his footprints, evidence that he walked there and was not worthy to walk to ground; a metal cup over his mouth to keep an Untouchable's contaminated breath off roads where high caste feet would tread; and a drum to warn members of pure high castes that a polluted, worthless one was headed their way, calling out "Untouchable coming! Untouchable coming!" This is the only time Untouchables are allowed to enter the other class areas. Their job is to remove the dead.
When his only son, Ashish follows him to work one day, he makes the mistake of crossing over the bridge to the pure high caste, the Brahmin, and though the day is hot, Ashish grows thirsty and reaches for a cup at the well. Before he finishes the cup, he is beaten within an inch of death and left at the well, punishment for polluting the water supply.
When Virat finds his son, he is moved to find help, especially when his efforts and his wife, Latha, do nothing to bring Ashish back to health. Fearing he will die, Virat makes a plea to the landowner, Mammen Samuel, whose land the well was on, to help heal his son. Since Virat doesn't have money to pay for medicine or doctors to help Ashish, Mammen Samuel is only to happy to help as long as Virat is willing to pay his debt. What he fails to realize is that debt will never be able to be paid off. Now Virat, Latha and Ashish belong as property to the landowner, who believes that what he is doing is being a great Christian man.
Ashish finds help with the English doctors at a clinic, and even though they aren't sure that they can save Ashish, the order Mammen Samuel to leave the boy in his care. Something he isn't at all willing to do. Not only that but Dr. Moore, won't release Ashish to Mammen Samuel without his parents being there. Even though Dr. Moore believes he is helping all he did, was increase the debt the family now owest to Mammen Samuel by four times the original amount. Now what will they do to save their family and be able to pay off the debt?
In the latest novel by Kay Marshall Strom, The Faith of Ashish, is heart-breaking and shocking. When you see how people were treated back in the early 1900's in India, it leaves you angry and compassionate to help those that these people believe deserve nothing except death. Death in hopes that they can come back into a higher class or at least as an animal.
I received this book compliments of Abingdon Press for my honest review and was riveted because even though I knew from history about this classes of people in the Hindu religion, reading about a life affected by this made it hard to endure, yet you have to. You, as the reader, as drawn in to know how this family will endure this situation and how it will affect the life of Ashish in the process. An unconditional love by a mother and father willing to do whatever it takes to save the life of their only remaining child and to provide a life for him. Hands down, you can not be affected and moved by this story and for that I award this novel a 5 out of 5 stars. This is one book, you won't want to miss out on!
For more information about this book, the author and where to purchase a copy of this novel, please click on the links below:
Thanks to the generosity of Abingdon Press, they are providing a giveaway copy of this novel to one lucky reader of my blog, Reviews From The Heart. Here's your guidelines:
1. Be a follower of my blog, Reviews From The Heart.
2. Be a resident of the US or have a US shipping address. Please No P.O. Boxes!
3. I need a way to contact you if you're the winner so PLEASE be sure to include your email address along with your comment of why you'd love to win a copy of this book. You can use the words (at) and (dot) instead of the symbols.
The giveaway will end on Oct 10th and I will notify the winner at that time by email.