Scharadha Dubey’s book Bol Bam – Approaches to Shiva understands faith through His worshippers. The author was in the city for the book launch
When Scharadha Dubey wanted to find answers to questions that had plagued her for many years, she went on a spiritual journey. This culminated in Bol Bam – Approaches to Shiva, a book that breezes past many genres, asking pertinent questions with their answers hidden within its pages. It was launched in the city recently.
Faith plays an important role in this country and Scharada’s book delves into this phenomenon and finds answers through the worshippers of Shiva. “I was wondering about my place in this life — how my faith was constantly challenged and why it continues to stay firm. I have taken six names of Shiva and explored those facets,” she says.
Interestingly enough, the book is also like a travelogue, working on the metaphor of Shiva on the terrain he lives in. “Through Achaleswar I explored the Himalayan terrain and the second chapter, Shiva is Unmattavesha, He who in the Guise of a Mad One. Through him I explore Varanasi and the people who live in the ghats,” says Scharadha. “I also explore rural temples through an ecological Shiva. All this was because of my experiences during my growing years and curiosity.”
Scharada found that human imagination gave its gods names according to terrain. “Everyone needs a reference point or an absolute concept. How else does one have a relationship and love Him? That’s why gods had forms. If you look at the landscape of Kerala you can see Devi,” she says. But in its heart, the book is also about the people — about devotees and their faith. “Pilgrimage is usually a devout way of travel. It’s been interesting to talk to the 150 or so devotees that I’ve been interacting with. The nature of insight is unpredictable, sometimes they burst into a song and at other times they make you reflect on your life. There is also social commentary,” Scharada adds.
Her conversations allowed her to explore her own belief and challenge theirs. “They find me comfortable to talk to because there is no cloak of objectivity that I’m trying to portray. I often challenged their beliefs, especially when we talked about gender. But on the whole, I’m a participant and was not passing any judgement,” explains the author. Scharada is currently working on a young adult thriller novel and a self-improvement book for youngsters.
Bol Bam is available at bookstores for Rs.350.