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The Members' Blog

Review of ‘Only in Darkness Can You See the Stars’ by Santosh Bakaya

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Article by Smeetha Bhoumik © 21 November 2019 .
Posted in the Members' Blog ( ).




Only in Darkness Can You See the Stars
Author – Santosh Bakaya
Publisher – Vitasta, Price Rs 495
2018
link : https://www.vitastapublishing.com/store/non-fiction/biography/only-in-darkness-can-you-see-the-stars-martin-luther-king-jr-detail

I would like to begin the review with a feeling that had slowly enveloped me as I started reading – a surge of recognition that in my hands was something very precious, its value beyond measure. This is literature at its finest, a fount of inspiration, a narrative that combines historical facts with detailed personal information about one of the greatest leaders of the world, and of the American civil rights movement – Martin Luther King Jr.

What I love about the book is its writing style – the easy, affable way in which it uncovers the architecture of a life burgeoning towards greatness, in a progression of ordinary and momentous events. It is inspiring as it takes us through difficult times and the beautiful ones that King lived through, with deep appreciation of their underlying message, his responses crafted with care. Contemplation and reflection were the hallmarks of his intellect and he deliberated upon choices before embarking on a venture.

The book starts with his formative years within a warm learned family, that was not spared the woes of segregation however, as black people in a country defined entirely by whites. The strength and poise with which his elders responded to such treatment laid the foundation for King’s unshakeable confidence in later life. Santosh Bakaya describes his childhood, his family and teachers, his school, college, vocation, the people who left a lasting influence on him, the challenges he faced in his struggle for civil rights in America, with a deep understanding that can only come from a place of love.

Names and events that inform our collective awareness come together in the flow of this narrative invariably bringing a smile, like meeting someone you know ! And it’s because they are held in high regard, adoration even. Rosa Parks of course, (vividly visualised in the bus scene ) but Joan Baez enchanted me as I paused to let her song ‘Diamonds & Rust’ play in my mind, before heading to the YouTube version. There were many such happy moments of looking up in wonder, pondering and resuming to read. King’s non-violent fight against injustice inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, and winning against grave odds is one of the most inspiring learnings from his life and this book.

Anything I did not like ? The fact that it could happily accomodate a hundred more pages…for me it ended too soon. As did the life of one of the greatest architects of equality in the world.

I would recommend this book to everyone in search of love, peace and a great read..

Smeetha Bhoumik


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