From the ritual-bound household of an orthodox scholar in a small village in Bengal in 1897 to Germany and Mumbai at the turn of the new millennium, The Inheritors follows the shifting life patterns of a family through a melange of narratives, memories and characters.
The unrelenting puritanism of Nyayaratna Bishnupada Deb sharma drives his daughter Radharani to insanity and throws into sharp relief his grandson Shibkali's feeble attempt to break free. Giribala voices her resentment against her circumstances through a lifetime of silence, her destiny finding an echo in her daughter. Alo, tragic victim of her husband's sexual perversions. And Pramatha's depraved radicalism is set against Shashishekhar's progressive outlook which symbolizes the most significant departure from the stifling constraints of his community. Even as it inherits the deadwood of the past, each generation strives to liberate itself, setting the stage for the eternal conflict between tradition and change, between a legacy and its inheritors.
Aruna Chakravarti draws upon history and myth, religion and folklore, rituals and culinary practices to create a vivid portrait of a community of Vaidic Kulin Brahmins. The narrative, oscillating back and forth in time, weaves a vibrant tapestry of life – differing ideologies and sensibilities, suicides and desertions, marriages and infidelities, bigotry and liberalism – independence and a society caught on the cusp of conservatism and modernity.