Book Review – Dozakhnama- Conversations in Hell by Rabishankar Bal


  •  ISBN: 978-8-184-00308-6
  •  Category: Fiction
  • Publishers: Random House
  • Price: Rs. 399/-  ( I got this book from the publisher for review)
Not long back I was introduced to Saadat Hasan Manto’s writings by none other than Rukun from Random House and to tell I loved his writing would be less. I lived his stories as somehow I have a deep love and respect towards Urdu as a language. Dozakhnama  - conversations in hell is an extraordinary story  as it’s a biography of Manto saab and Ghalib and a history of Indian culture rolled into one. This was perfect I thought when I read these lines on the backside of the book and grabbed it for reading!

Behind the book

Source: Google Images

Compose some more poetry, Mir sahib your words may survive on someone’s lips.

About the Author

Rabishankar Bal is a Bangla novelist and short story writer with over fifteen novels, five short-story collections, one volume of poetry and one volume of literary essays. He has edited a collection of Saadat Hasan Manto’s writings translated into Bangla.

 ‘Me’ Thinks

Ghalib is a name to be reckoned with Urdu literature from centuries. Maanto Saab is also a wonderful writer known for his contribution to the literary world. Both of them truly celebrated till date, admired and missed with a smile for the magic they managed to create.

This book by Rabishankar Bal has brought them together in a conversation just at the door step of hell. What begins is a journey through shattered dreams, love, broken trust, fragile relationships and the beauty of human nature. We as a country have been extremely proud of our cultural heritage but this book gives you an insight as to how did we end up having this culture and what lay the base for it. The strength of it being the beliefs that we have been carrying forward till now. Sharing some of my favourite lines / couplets from the book:

  •  It seems you are by my side when no one else is.
  • This city of hearts was founded in sorrow years ago The verdict has come , it shall be emptied out.
  •  Now grief and I remain in a hopeful city the mirror you shattered held a thousand images.
  • The old heart is gone, the mind too. There’s life in the body like a lamp burning down.
  •  Marriage transforms the relationship between a man and a woman into a set of habits, and then the relationship begins to fade and finally turns utterly grey.
  • You never understood my desire, my soul. The regret kills me, but you don’t know Let the lotus claim the heart I don’t care What value in a soul that dies of only virtue?
  • Deliverance lies where there is sanctuary.
  • Do you know who wept inside those words? Souls that had been lost in the sky and the air and the space. I could hear their sighs as I wrote my ghazals.
  • There’s so much in my heart, my soul mate But not a single word reaches my lips.
Reading this book makes you feel no wonder this beautiful book was bestowed with the BankimChandra Smriti Puraskar.The cover page, the titling, the index, the simple language, the beautiful shayris teamed with wonderful narrative make this book simply a wonderful read. A complete masterpiece for all Urdu lovers and a must must must read for people who love shayris. This book makes you feel nostalgic as it reminds you of the bygone times smelling of things which take you down the memory lane.

Foodie Verdict

Source: Google Images
This book is life Sheer Khurma - yummy, tongue tantalizing, leaving you in a dreamy state of mind. 

P.S: This book has been received from Random House for review


  1. Wow! you got the book from the publisher itself! must say you are lucky!

    Even I wanna join up!
    Good review.

    1. Lucky yes I would say for I get to read some of the most wonderful books on this earth :D

      And am loving it ekdum...
      Thanks so much!


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