A touching story of struggle and hope (Book Review: Akash Verma's A Broken Man)

Title: A Broken Man
Author: Akash Verma

A Broken Man is the story of Krishna and Chhavi.

Krishna, the guileless, Dalit boy, who has dreams. He has experienced too many harsh realities of life to be openly ambitious. But he has dreams, and sensitivity, and talent.
"My dreams are like a fire burning inside my heart."

Chhavi, the daughter of a powerful politician, belongs to high caste. She has had a sheltered enough life to naively believe that she can change the world. (This perception of Chhavi is the realist/cynic in me talking.)

A Broken Man starts in the glittering world of Bollywood, soon to go back in time to Lucknow University.

Through the words of Krishna, the author has portrayed the convoluted issues of politics and caste and caste politics with a surprising simplicity.
"It's only here unlike any other place in the world that you are born with two identities - your religion and your caste. You may not have a name, but you will have this identity sticking to you like your shadow. Wherever you may go, it will walk with you, never leave you alone."

A Broken Man is about a world that I know exists, but thankfully not from personal experience. A world that I have had a glimpse of when a certain someone is served tea in a cup that is kept aside and is not to be used by the rest of the 'superior' lot.

I know I am lucky that it is not a world I know. Lucky because this world of discrimination is poison for the one who discriminates and hell for the one who is discriminated against.

Akash Verma writes little details very effectively. A meal at a restaurant, the first experience of holding hands - there is a raw, hesitant tone to the author's expression in such situations. 
His narration is such that I feel I have seen the world of Krishna and Chhavi.

Even a fleetingly mention incident leaves an impact.
"He could never forget what he last saw of his family as they unsuccessfully tried to defeat the mammoth force of the ravaging stream. The sleeve of his younger son's red-coloured check shirt, that he had got stitched for a cousin's wedding the previous year, and the pain in his wife's eyes as she looked at him for the last time before getting pulled down by the gushing water. Was it the fear of death, the pang of separation or the helplessness of being the chosen one to die so wastefully?"

You, as a reader, live them with the characters.

The Hindi poems, which according to the story are from Krishna's pen are brilliant.
Some verses are translated in English too, but I feel that reading them in Hindi gives you a special insight into the thoughts of the writer.
And there are the stories that Chhavi tells, treasures that her grandma has told her. Really good.

The cover of A Broken Man is poignant. The defeated stance of a man imprisoned and all alone, overwhelmed by the chaos all around.

Dirty politics, caste discrimination, impossible relationships, and hope against hope... sounds like a filmy story. It actually is and I mean it in the best way possible.

Akash Verma's A Broken Man is a story of struggle and injustice that moves you. But despite its' title and the heartrending path the story takes, it is also a story of innocent wisdom, beautiful poetry, love, hope, and dreams that come true. 
I am happy I read it.

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The italicized text in quotation marks are quotes from the book.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Take a deep breath before you are born here, my child! 

You take birth in a land where I struggled; gave it my sweat and blood. A land that I thought belonged to me..… unbridled, uncompromising. 

Krishna is a Dalit boy from Bihar who struggles to overthrow the chains that hold him back. Chhavi is a high caste Brahman girl fighting for the rights of others, propagating equality in a politically charged Lucknow University campus. After Krishna saves Chhavi from getting torched during a protest against reservation, love slowly blossoms, only to be ruthlessly crushed by a society that thrives on divisions of caste and religion. From student politics in Lucknow to the interiors of Bihar, from the corridors of power to the glitz of media and the film industry in Mumbai. 

A Broken Man is the quest of a deprived Krishna to redeem hope from despair, love from separation and success out of repeated failures. From the bestselling author of It Happened That Night and Three Times Loser, this is a story that reinforces our faith in what love can accomplish as it pushes us to achieve the impossible, making us tap our true inner potential.

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About the Author - Akash Verma

Akash Verma is an entrepreneur. His work has taken him across the country, and he finds this experience very relevant while giving shape to his stories. He has published two bestsellers till now. Akash is currently based out of Gurgaon, India. He is fascinated by Cinema, Literature, History and Travel.

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  1. Thank You for the beautifully written review. It really captures the soul of the book.


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