Dakshina Murthy’s The Anopheles Sting is a realistic and disturbing portrayal of the present culture of suspicion

The America-led war on terror, post the 9/11 attacks has changed the dynamics of the world we live in. Words such as terrorism, war, nationalism, homeland security have assumed different meanings and connotations. The Anopheles Sting, a debut novel by K.S. Dakshina Murthy is the story of Damu, a youngster who finds himself as a terror suspect after he takes help from a stranger to pay a bill. At the launch, Murthy, an editorial consultant with The Hindu and a visiting faculty member at the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media said he got the idea for the book post the war on terror. “I saw that innocents could also be arrested and held without proof of any wrongdoing. It is terrible to see innocents behind bars.”

The book was launched by former IAS officer Chiranjiv Singh. Writer K.R.Usha and IIM professor and Congress spokesperson Rajeev Gowda also participated in the discussion. Murthy added, “I think the media should look at different angles when covering a crime story. Often, the charge sheet or the FIR filed by the police is taken at face value and a suspect is labelled a criminal by the media even before a case is made against him or her.”

Gowda talked about ways to eliminate corruption and criminals from politics. He quipped, “It is vital for the spending limits to be increased or done away with completely. Putting a tab on spending limits of candidates ensures that a lot of black money enters the system. Funding of candidates must also be made more transparent.”

Talking about the book, former IAS officer, Chiranjiv Singh said, “I find the book very Kafkaesque in its approach. It is a good read and talks about incidents that could happen to anyone. Even a friendly gesture that you undertake could land you behind bars and make you a terror suspect. I think the book cannot be slotted into any particular genre such as a thriller, since it is not a simple mystery that gets solved. I found it unputdownable, disturbing and realistic in every sense.”

The book is priced at Rs.295 and has been published by Dronequill.