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Shala is a coming-of-age story of a group of friends, set against the backdrop of the Emergency in India during the 1970s.
Summary Of The Book
Shala is a Marathi novel set in the 1970s in India, during the time of the Emergency. It is narrated by the protagonist, Mukund Joshi. The plot revolves around Mukund and his first tryst with love, and it is blended in with the ups and downs that mark one particular year of his school life.
Mukund is a confused fourteen year old boy hailing from an average middle class family. He is in the ninth grade and has three close friends - Surya, Chitrya, and Favdya. He has a huge crush on Shirodkar, a beautiful girl studying in his class.
But Mukund lives in an era where the orthodox nature of society discourages social interaction between boys and girls. As such, Mukund is forced to be clandestine in his attempts to win the heart of his lady love. He keeps his pursuit of love a secret even from his best friends. And as Mukund is fighting loneliness and despair in love, his friends are undergoing similar phases in their own lives.
Shala talks about those bittersweet schooldays when one is desperate to grow up and feel liberated from the shackles of a restrictive and judgemental society. Narrated from an adolescent’s point of view, it explores several topics including infatuation, love, discipline, the education system, the inevitability of separation, and the ironies of life.
Shala was first published in the year 2003. It has been adapted for a film called Humne Jeena Sikh Liya, and for a single-act play called Ga Ma Bha Na. In January 2012, a Marathi film based on the novel was also released.
About Milind Bokil
Milind Bokil is an Indian writer and sociologist, known for his tremendous contribution to Marathi literature.
He writes in Marathi as well as English. He has written short stories, novels, travelogues, and other books, with a focus on social issues. His works include Thirsting For Water, Udakachiya Arti 3rd Edition, Zen Garden. 3rd Edition (Marathi), Ekam. 2nd Edition (Marathi), Ran Durga, Katakari Vikas Ki Visthapan, Samudra, Samudraparche Samaj. 2nd Edition (Marathi), and Janache Anubhav Pusata, 2nd Edition (Marathi).
Bokil has written extensively about social development and its related issues. A quest for meaning and direction in life is a consistent underlying theme in his writing. With his artistic flair for writing, he subtly explores the nuances of social relationships and human emotions.
Bokil was born in 1960. His initial education was in the field of electronics and radio engineering. Like many other youth of his time, he was influenced by the Sampoorna Kranti movement and was drawn towards social reconstruction and development. He quit his job and volunteered for a tribal development project in coastal Maharashtra. He went on to gain bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Sociology from the Mumbai University. He followed them up with a doctorate in Sociology from Pune University. His literary career began in 1981. He has received several awards including the Best Literature Award by the Maharashtra Foundation.