Book Review – The Oath by Narayan Radhakrishnan
Dr. Kalyan C. Kankanala
Literators Publishing, 2016
Book List Price: Rs. 199.
The Oath is a really good read…and a relevant read at these times were the phrases war on terror and sedition are being used and exploited just to seek political vendetta and nothing more.
Should a doctor treat a patient keeping in mind who he is- or his or her moral, social and humanitarian outlook? Is a doctor a professional first or a nationalist first? Will a doctor be accused of treason or sedition if he treats a patient knowing fully well that he is a terrorist…or lets say the scum of its worst kind. These are the thoughts that rush through my mind while I read The Oath. Kankanala who has carved a neat niche for himself in the field of Indian legal fiction with his first two books, Road Humps and Sidewalks (set in pharma industry) and Pirates of Bollywood (piracy) now shifts his attention to the medico- legal field.
Kankanala’s third work is a standalone thriller. Blind lawyer Arjun who was the protagonist of his earlier two works is not present in this work….and for that matter the time zone of this latest work is set between the late Sixties and the early Eighties. Though a legal thriller with high charged courtroom action- the novel is told from the standpoint of the accused doctor- Doctor Krishna rather than the lawyers. Of course we see the war of words between Sitaram the defence lawyer and Anil the public prosecutor.
The book is wholly set in Andhra Pradesh and even NT Rama Rao, the charismatic actor turned chief minister of this State is a character in this novel. Now what is the crime- Dr. Krishna is accused of? Krishna is a doctor who believes in the Hippocratic oath and he had treated Naxalites.. ..he saw them as patients and not as criminals. The police who were hot on track of these criminals conclude that Dr. Krishna’s actions have put their plans in jeopardy and he is to blame for the death of a few policemen. And soon Dr. Krishna is charged with murder. He is put on trial before Judge Madhav. What follows is pulsating courtroom action ..culminating in a finish that would make filmmakers think….why cant I make a movie out of this book. (Is S.S. Raja ’Spielberg’ mouli reading this review)
A fantastic read. Highly recommended.