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A Romantic Journey Through Cultures

M C Raj
Notion Press, 2015
ISBN 978-93-84878-78-8 (paperback)
190 Pages

The Harrington Review

A truly cathartic novel, M.C. Raj's Madderakka hit the book market
approximately 8 months ago. The prolific Indian-born author, philosopher,
spiritual leader and international speaker stayed true to his chosen path of
promoting universal human rights and representing indigenous peoples,
while infusing hope, optimism and mystic power into his latest novel.
Madderakka is a love story that transcends personal fate. Beginning in an
internet chat room, a symbolic romance blooms between a young Sami
philosopher and a Dalit/Adijan anthropologist. Among local and international
intrigue, they manage to build a life together that culminates in a mission
that their beautiful daughter, Madderakka, fulfils.
The very first pages take the reader into Rajs exceptionally uncompromising
world: a beautiful exchange between two culturally sensitive characters
representing indigenous peoples, filled with humility and understanding
towards each other's culture.
The following scenes and chapters reveal many examples of M.C. Rajs
trademark style. Unbridled sexuality (Ramona "busy with her nipples", page
4), succinct portrayal of the mysteries of caste dynamics of India" (page 41)
with special attention to the untouchables (page 43), the use of dreams
and flashbacks to propel the plot forward (Veerans dream of Sami history),
and the ever-present celebration of women as symbols of empowerment,
energy, leadership, and future, not only in the authors native land, but all
over the world. "It is our women who are the modern architects of the Sami
community, Ramona, one of the main characters, declares (page 52),
undoubtedly representing the authors point of view.
Chapter 6 begins with an awe-inspiring description of the Alta river of
Samiland. From his previous books, M.C Rajs imagery depicting nature still
haunts me. In this novel, the graceful, sensitive description of the river Alta
is a brilliant illustration of the authors poetic soul (page 58).

Another trademark of M.C. Raj is the method of using an insider character to

inform an outsider character - along with the reader- about the authors topic
and message. Both main characters, Ramona and Veeran, are insiders
regarding their own cultural history, but as they compare and share their
heritage, they also prove to be invaluable sources of information for the
Since I was a little girl, I've striven to learn something new every day of my
life. M.C. Raj makes it easy for me to keep up with my goal. Every page of his
book is a new resource, loaded with information. Ancient history and
traditions come alive in the modern mind-set and daily routine of authentic,
21st century characters, guiding and transforming the lives of attentive
By drawing parallels between the Sami and Adijan peoples' story, Raj
explains the general fate of indigenous peoples that became oppressed by
newer settlers all over the world. Yet, his description is not bitter, but rather
objective, and many times full of hope. Hope and intelligent, cautious
optimism saturate his words when depicting the similarities of the struggles
of these nations and the ways they found to restore and preserve their
culture, including the lessons they can learn from one another, and the grief
they can exchange and share in order to lessen the burden of injustice.
At chapter eight, the more or less linear story line turns into a complex,
multi-layered structure with several flashbacks and leaps into the future:
another trademark Raj. First we meet Madderakka, the title character, in her
adult life, then we learn about Ramonas death, and finally, in chapter 9, we
pick up the story where it was left off in chapter 7: Ramona and Veeran's
return to India.
I like the arch of the novel: starting from personal and local, it opens up to
universal and communal. The celebratory last chapter gives me goosebumps. Very touching speeches (page 178). I wonder about the boundaries
of fiction and reality
Whatever he does, speaks or writes about, M.C. Raj makes you think. He
tests the limits of your imagination and pushes your cultural and emotional
buttons. In other words, he challenges you to acknowledge that you are both
a humble part of, and, at the same time, creator of the universe.
He is my personal hero.
Hedi Harrington

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