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The Rape Trial by Bidisha Ghoshal

Publisher: Notion Press
Pages: 548
Price: Rs. 555 INR(Paperback), Rs. 140 INR (Kindle Edition)
ISBN: 978-1646787500
Buy here: https://amzn.to/2IZkkhU

What do you do when the rapist is someone you know? What do you do when he has been found innocent in the eyes of the law? Rhea, Hitaishi and Amruta’s friendship has been cemented over a lifetime, but now they find themselves struggling to answer these questions together. Nearly a decade has passed since Rahul Satyabhagi, heir to the mega Satyabhagi business empire, had raped Avni Rambha, bested her in court, and gone on to become a men’s rights activist, and the who’s-who of Badrid Bay had breathed a sigh of relief that the sordid mess was over. But now a sting operation proves what many, the three friends included, had suspected all along — he’d been lying.

Furious that he has been exposed, Rahul plans to sue the media as well as his long-suffering victim. Now, Rhea, Hitaishi and Amruta find themselves at a crossroad — can they carry on doing nothing? DC Virendra Dixit was among those who’d believed that the Rambha rape case had been a ‘false allegation’, but now the sting tape brings him to a case that promises to be a turning point in his career. Just as he thinks he is nearing a resolution, he finds himself at a crossroad of his own. Rhea, Hitaishi and Amruta have carved out a path that has already affected DC Dixit’s, but do their paths cross? Who is the hunter, and who is the hunted? Can a story of hard questions and difficult choices have an easy resolution?

About the author:

Bidisha Ghosal is the recipient of journalism awards such as such as the International Press Institute Award for Excellence in Journalism and the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting. She moved on from journalism to write her first novel. While working on that, she also became one of the key players in bringing to life the personal journey of the late Dr. Prasanta Banerji, her grandfather and homeopath extraordinaire, in a lucid book titled The Diaries of a Stubborn Homeopath. Her first novel is an immense labor of love, combining her buoyant love for thrillers with an exhausting sense of self-righteousness. 

My take on the book:

Almost a decade after the high-profile rape case involving Rahul and Avni, where Rahul walked out unscathed and blamed Avni that he got falsely implicated, there are still doubts on whether he is innocent or not. What if a sting operation brings out a different side to facts and makes those close to Rahul change their belief of the incident? After all the effort taken to hush up the case, will the real culprit let the truth come out now and let their image be damaged? What extent do people go for things they believe are right and how far will they contain opposition? The Rape Trial explores these questions along with what power and money means in the context of justice in our society.

It takes guts for an author to take up a topic like rape and weave a story which is hard-hitting and unabashed all through. The first thing any reader would notice about the book is its length, at more than 500 pages it’s not your average book and in some ways the only thing I feel will stop prospective buyers from picking it. But once you have the book in your hand and can tide through the initial few pages which move at slow pace, the story is extremely engaging, as there are multiple unexpected twists and turns. 

The author does not shy away from bringing out the bitter truth of how judiciary works in our country and how power and money stand above morals and values. The inner conflict that people close to those accused is also portrayed well. The author gives the story the guise of a thriller to make the narrative interesting, for what could have been a plain documentary of a real-life incident. 

While there are certain disturbing and graphic sequences which may not be comfortable for all sections of readers, if you want to read a story which is close to reality and which poses some very uncomfortable questions about the currently prevalent situation in our society, then look no further. 

My rating: