Review: Postcard From The Lushai Brigade (Songs of Freedom series)
Author: Hannah Lalhlanpuii
Cover Illustration: Samar Bansal
Publication: Duckbill- An imprint of Penguin Random House
No. of pages: 216 pages
Age Group: 9 years+ (publisher’s recommendation is 10 years+)
Nestled within the serene expanse of Mizoram’s Lushai Hills, this enthralling historical fiction delves deep into the narrative of the freedom struggle, as seen through the eyes of a young Mizo boy.
Bawiha and his elder brother Kima are nurtured in the embrace of the Lushai hills, where they mature while being enchanted by their grandmother’s tales brimming with magic and sorcery. Their realm overflows with uncomplicated pleasures and extravagant daydreams.
Their mother toils as a housemaid at the bungalow of the British Superintendent, Mr McCall, a fact that their grandmother harbours resentment towards due to her disbelief in the British presence.
However, for Bawiha, the young protagonist of our tale, the British presence doesn’t appear to disturb him or give rise to any prejudice. He even accompanies his mother to aid in tasks at the bungalow and perceives Mrs McCall as a kind person, even though his grandmother disapproves.
The narrative unravels through the evocative prose of the author, who adeptly captures the lifestyle, traditions, and spiritual convictions of the Mizo people. All is harmonious in Bawiha’s world until the momentous occasion when the Japanese invade India, prompting the Lushai tribe to be enlisted in the Indian British army to counter the Japanese onslaught.
Initially captivated by the troops, machinery, and weaponry, Bawiha’s fascination wanes as his benevolent and supportive brother, Kima, enlists in the Indian British Army. The evolution of Bawiha’s perceptions and the ensuing consequences of the invasion becomes the crux of the tale.
The author’s writing is both evocative and poignant. The narrative offers a unique vantage point on the freedom struggle through the lens of a child, rendering it with a sense of freshness, innocence, and unadulterated honesty.
This book is a part of Duckbill’s “Songs of Freedom” series which explores the lives of children across India during the struggle for independence.
Overall, this book offers an exceptional read for young readers, providing insight into the freedom struggle, the Lushai tribe’s way of life, and the strength of sibling bonds. It’s a valuable addition to both home and school libraries and a thoughtful gift choice as well.
You can read the reviews of The Chowpatty Cooking Club and That Year at Manikoil on this website. You can also explore the other newly released books in the Songs of Freedom series here.
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