Tag Archives: george orwell

2084: The End of the World by Boualem Sansal

2084-the-end-of-the-world Title: 2084: The End of the World
Author: Boualem Sansal
Translated by: Alison Anderson
ISBN: 978-1609453664
Publisher: Europa Editions
Genre: Literary Fiction, Translated Works
Pages: 240
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

The title “2084: The End of the World” was what intrigued me and I knew I would love reading this book. I think as you age, you also become a little more discerning about what you read. What is also true is that what you read is a reflection of your personality to some extent, but I shall not go there as of now. The book in question though is “2084” and if you’ve not guessed by now, then well, it is a play on 1984 by George Orwell and also tackles the same theme of a totalitarian regime, that is brutal, unreasonable and has no logic attached to it at all. Might I say that this book is a tribute to Orwell’s vision and craft.

2084 is the story of a near-future (I think it is already taking place as we speak and that should scare you enough) in which religious extremists have established a state of their own, and where autonomous thought is forbidden. It is funny how this book came at a time when Trump just got into power and to see and realize what is happening in the US of A is enough for this book and more of its kind to be almost prophetic in nature.

In kingdom of Abistan, named after the prophet Abi, an earthly messenger of god Yolah, there is no individuality and it is also not encouraged. In fact it is punished if anything. No one can think or speak other than what is laid out for them. New histories are being written. Memories are erased. The heretics are being put to death in the city square and for all to see. At the crux of the story is Ati, who has met other people in ghettos, who has heard tales of how it used to be and what does it mean to be a free-thinker. Ati then starts to think, to question and in all of this he has to not only safeguard his thoughts, but himself as well.

“2084: The End of the World” is also a mystery novel. What is the mystery of the number 2084? Ati has to find that as well. How did the world come to this? What happened? How did it lead to the formation of the most fundamental Abistan? This is the book that speaks of democracy and what threatens it, just as 1984 did. What is ironic though is that the world was reading 1984 (in the wake of Trump’s presidency) and I was reading 2084 – a book on similar lines. Sansal’s writing is raw and troubling. You know the future is happening right now and all that is mentioned in the book is being carried out one way or the other. He is almost prophetic when it comes down to delivering a hard-hitting apocalyptic read (in more than one way). “2084” will make you think, contemplate and wonder how we got to this – and this story isn’t just about one religion or one kind of society. It is reflective of all of us as humans – read it, lend it, buy it for people who need it the most.

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Banned Books

I never could understand the concept of banning books. I mean what about the right to express? Do the political parties also have a say when it comes to that? It seems so. Off late with the banning of “Such a Long Journey” by Rohinton Mistry from the Mumbai University History Syllabus has made me wonder about the freedom of choice, about the right to express oneself no matter what the person is expressing.

Books have been banned since the time they have been written. Right from Lady Chatterley’s Lover to Such a Long Journey. What are banned books though? To which access is not made easy. I do not understand the concept of banned books. Why must a labour of love be banned? The one book that the writer has pondered over and slaved over for years suddenly is not accessible to a certain set of people.

I can only begin to imagine what Mr. Rushdie would have gone through when a fatwa was issued for him over The Satanic Verses – so much so that he had to flee from the place he loved the most to somewhere else and call it home. Does every government have its agenda? Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was banned from China because animals were talking and that gave them the status of humans which did not appease the Chinese Government’s so-called sensibilities.

There have been several other books which have faced the ban tan on their covers. I cannot for one fathom how governments restrict the right to choose and read what a citizen wants.

Books won’t stay banned.  They won’t burn.  Ideas won’t go to jail.  In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost.  The only weapon against bad ideas is better ideas.  ~Alfred Whitney Griswold, New York Times, 24 February 1959.

I wonder how people remain this way – by not allowing themselves to be enthralled in the world of books and sometimes banning books without knowing what they contain.

Here are the Top 100 banned books from 1990-2000: