DARSHAN: An Indian future By Vijayendra Mohanty

    Vijayendra Mohanty Ô 9 characters

    The year is 2050. The place is the Dharmic Republic of Bharat. It is ruled by a secretive Sangh and watched over by the gods of the pantheon.

    Now, a Drohi rebel has made his way to the Central Temple and seeks an audience with the gods.

    What he does there will change the Republic...

    The sub-continent...

    Forever. DARSHAN: An Indian future

    An amazing story by Indian fiction and comics writer Vijayendra Mohanty, it mashes sci-fi with the political zeitgeist of our times. 50 years into the future of India, it is ruled by a Hindu theocracy with the help of techno-virtual Gods. An atheist (adevist) rebel tries to hack the system, and stumbles upon some surprising revelations. English I thought why such a short tale this is - when I initially eyed it up as Vimoh released it on insta. But after reading it at one go, I am feeling that only this much of mind numbing hit I can tackle. Darshan offers scary-but absolutely plausible scene from the future. It makes you stare at distant horizon while all the words from headlines jumble in front of eyes, gathering to make one word that is in trend now: Bharat. English Darshan feels like a promise. Part of it is a cautionary tale about the big brothers in our society. Part of it dips in the vast reserves of Indian mythology. Part of it delves deeply into science fiction and leaves a Westworld feel to it. Part of it feels like cinema (if you have read it who know the part I speaks of). In its whole it is well written and worth the read.

    Great work by Vimoh. I do wish it was longer though. The world he has created deserves much more. English What do you pray about?

    You may think why does it matter. But, it just might. Because the Gods are young and naive. And what you pray is what you get.

    To be fair, the nature of prayer making has become more methodical and narrow. You have to be part of the due process and your request explicit. The monitoring does not help. But, whoever participates in the process gets what they asked for.

    The only problem is Not everyone prays at temples. And before the lost reader of this review assumes that this is only about the exclusion of other religions, it's not. Ruminate the implication of this. I will not posit to you the complex nature of faith and the multitude of ways people incorporate it in their life.

    I do not know whether the science described in the book will be plausible in future. But what I do know is that the way it utilises religion certainly is.

    I mean, is there any better way to gain power in this country than to make religion a tool? Anyway, my apologies, for I digress to reality.

    The best part of this short story is in its nuances and implications. If the exposition to the technical utility seems to be robotic and unnatural. Well, its because it is. But, as I said, this story is at its best where it does not expose you to the implications. August 2047, for one.

    The fusion of sci-fi and Indian politics is worthy. But I am an emotional person and maybe I caught on to something that was not the point. Is this interpretation the same as the author intended? I don't know.

    I think the story hurries a little at the starting. But it steadies soon enough. I am also aware that the second part of the book is incoming. Looking forward to it.

    - Mradul English A cracking good short story - I really enjoyed reading it! This short tale sets up a world way deeper than the brevity of the story suggests, or would warrant. It has potential for more tales to be told in it. I took one star off the review only because it is brimming over with exposition - too much of a good thing perhaps? I'm not sure I needed so many riddles or obscure references in the prose. They aren't hard to figure out if you think about it for a minute, but the act of doing so distracts from the story. There's some jargon here that people outside of India or those unfamiliar with the mythos of the Mahabharata may find hard to contextualize. This was not an issue for me.

    All in all, this is challenging, vivid, politically charged science fiction - like all good science fiction should be! Well worth the asking price - this is a piece that will leave any Indians (and those in particular who object to the present state of the subcontinental zeitgeist) with plenty to ruminate on.

    Can I also say that the Doctor Who reference really warmed this Whovian's heart. :) English

    Vimoh's short story is a haunting reminder of times to come, in light of the current political situation in India. Darshan is set in 2050 India, a techno-virtual utopia controlled by a religious faction. A rebel citizen tries to break into the system, wanting to know about the controllers of the Republic, but instead stumbles upon unimaginable, hard hitting truths. In a few pages, the author shows how we must open our eyes and inspect what our beliefs really mean to us, and how we act in the name of our Gods, before it is too late to save ourselves and our free will. English A short but gripping sci-fi story, Darshan creates a world that you'd want to explore further. However, it manages to give you some major glimpses of the fictional dystopian future where the reader is free to imagine the rest. As you progress, the sense of mystery keeps you going until the end as you come across the final climax. This is definitely a good read for those looking for a dystopian setting in India. English 4.5/5 stars

    I went in without much expectations for this short story, thinking this would be another clichéd dystopia. Like something out of Leila.

    By Krishna, was I wrong.

    The author paints a compelling portrait of India in the future.

    A country ruled by a mighty Sangh (RSS?), and watched over by virtual Gods, where people pray to improve their credit scores, and where only a few Drohis (anti-nationals?) question the system.

    The main character, called the Citizen, is a Drohi who seeks an audience with the Gods, but is actually on a secret mission to bring down the Sangh. Of course, things take a turn for the worse. Everything that happens from that point is fantastic, making you question everything.

    My only problem with the story is that it went by too soon (hence I shaved off 0.5 stars).

    A longer story would have helped me understand and relate to the main character, and understand the world in which he lives. But hey, I'm not complaining — it still gave me lots to think about.

    In fact, I think this is one of the best sci-fi shorts written by an Indian author. English DARSHAN – ‘An opportunity to see or an occasion of seeing a holy person or the image of a deity’. That is at least the meaning explained in the dictionary. But more than that, DARSHAN is a true reflection of the world we find ourselves immersed in. This is not a work of Science Fiction, anymore.


    We have lived for centuries, immersed within a palimpsest of histories - carefully layered. But those layers have withered away – stolen! The only layer that remains is but one – so chosen – by the rulers. A world of a few Gods, a few manipulated thoughts and methods. Thank you Vijendra for holding up our reflection – in the sludgy waters of a roadside pothole.
    But time is a great leveler and the future, carefully guarded by an ethical Universe. I have faith!
    English A great combination of religious dystopia, sci-fi, and interesting segues to vast Indian mythology. This is a well written short and I was intrigued till the end. The wordplay around citizen aka Drohi and vice versa was quite interesting and relevant for the times we live in. English