A River Sutra

“infobox Book “
name A River Sutra
image caption First US Edition
author Gita Mehta
country India
language English
genre(s) Short Story
publisher Doubleday (US), Heinemann (UK)
release date 1993
media type Hardback and Paperback
pages 304

A River Sutra is a collection of short stories first published by Indian author Gita Mehta in 1993. Each story features the river Narmada and the Narmarda River Valley, and focus on themes such as love.

Story Summaries

The Monk’s Story

Ashok is from a rich family, whose father owns many profitable diamond mines. When Ashok goes with his father to visit one of these mines one day, he is horrified at how poorly the workers are treated and how bad their lives are. Ashok then joins the Mahavira religion and dedicates his life to becoming a good person so that he won’t treat people the same way as his father does.

The Teacher’s Story

A mullah and an inn keeper are having a conversation. The mullah tells the inn keeper a story of a professor of music who had dreams of making it big. However, those dreams were never realized by the professor, so he begins to train a musically talented orphan instead. After forming a strong bond, the orphan is tragically killed in front of the professor, which drives him to commit suicide himself.

The Executive’s Story

Nittin Bose is the manager of a tea plantation. One day, while visiting the plantation, Bose meets a peasant girl named Rima and falls in love with her. He wants to marry her but knows it would be frowned upon because of her status. Bose’s feelings for the peasant girl do not stop, though, and he pours out his feelings into a diary, because otherwise he can’t think straight.

The Courtesan’s Story

A courtesan’s daughter is taken by a man named Rahul Singh. After an extensive search, the courtesan finds her daughter and Singh. However, all is not as it seems. Singh did not take the daughter for a malicious reason, he took the daughter because he thought they had been married in previous lives. Their life together was happy. Singh, despite reforming his life, is killed by the police anyway, and the daughter commits suicide shortly after.

The Musician’s Story

A young girl’s father is the best raga musician in the area. The father is one day approached by a young man who asks him to teach him everything about raga in exchange for marrying the daughter. However, after being taught everything about raga, the young man is deceitful and marries another girl instead.

The Minstrel’s Story

This story focuses on V.V. Shankar, a religious professor trying to get rid of the harmful superstitions in society. Shanker infiltrates the Naga Baba group to save some girls who have been sold into prostitution by their families. The Naga Baba group worship the god Lord Shiva, and the families who sold the girls think it was a form of worship to do so.