In current times, romance and mythology-based fiction dominate the Indian book market. Every day a book launches in some part of the country showcasing a love story and promises to be different from the other. In this wave, ENDURER A Rape Story by Kapil Raj is a brave effort to amalgamate fiction with activism. Holding the creative side of fiction writing, Kapil crafts a compelling storyline around the sensitive subject of rape and sexual assault. Not only the attempt leaves a lasting impact, but the book splendidly reflects the acts of the society of how we collectively fail to support the survivors of this heinous crime.
The protagonist Palak, comes from a niche segment of society. She along with her friends liberally live their college life. Any experience is not just enough as they want to cross every limit – a typical desire of the youngsters. They see beyond the justification of right or wrong where excitement dictates the judgment. The act can be knife-edged, but it should serve in reaching a new level of exhilaration. The Palak and her group do the same; after getting used to alcohol beyond the limits in their night-outs, trips and parties, they started experimenting with drugs and ecstasy.
Life hits the hardest when you are not expecting it. As fascinating it seems, Palak along with her friends visits a Rave Party. She wakes up next night raped with scars all over the body with extreme impact of drugs over her sensibilities. Hallucinations bewilder her, and she is hit continuously by horrific flashbacks. Adding to the misery, a sex-tape of that night is also circulated in the college. Under the forced circumstances, Palak withdraws from her circle and embarks a journey into a new world of Nawalgarh. There she comes in adobe of Sethani – a widow who manages a haveli converted hotel in the historic city and is a saviour to the women in need.
She is bedazzled to witness the conditions of women and how lightly she used to take things which were bestowed upon her – a common trait for the ones born with a silver spoon. Distressed by this and her ongoing trauma, she seeks out on a journey to stand against the tides and face her violators. The sub-plots take us along the reality of how our society especially friends and the known-ones treats the victims and through existing taboos, cast a lifetime agony. The nail-biting instances of Palak’s discovery of her violaters along with twists and turns in the life of sub-characters maintain the momentum of the narrative.
The story challenges many aspects, like will revenge lend a victim peace or what is the definition of justice? Can any punishment justify the horror done to the victim? Are conditions of women different in various strata of society? Unlike usual rape stories, Palak stands up positively and re-discover her meaning of existence by challenging the outlook of society. But this was not easy, read on to know her journey.
Being a male writer, Kapil has done fantastic work in describing the horrific moments and reactions of the victims. His campaign on the subject #SheisnotaVictim #SheisanEndurer which is focused on to stop the “secondary wounding” of the victims is being supported on various forums.
ENDURER A Rape Story quivers the emotions and sub-consciously forces one to meditate on the situation by placing you in the mind frame of the victim. It is suffocating, spits on the pride of the so-called development of the human race and systems.