Prominent among the vast storehouse of India’s river-inspired literature is Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide: A Novel. Set in the delicate ecosystem of the Sundarbans, the novel explores the relationship between the people and the water of the land in an era deeply affected by climate change. Another significant work is the non-fiction book Empires of the Indus: The Story of a River by Alice Albinia, which covers the author’s exploratory journey from Karachi all the way to Tibet, where the river Indus originates. Another notable work is Amruta Patil’s graphic novel Adi Parva: Churning of the Ocean, a feminist retelling of the Mahabharata from the point of view of the river Ganga.
TIDAL TALES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Even the “Epic of Gilgamesh”, which was inscribed on clay tablets dating back to 1800 BC and is possibly the oldest story known to mankind, tells a tale of lives deeply intertwined with rivers. Here, water is a source of both rejuvenation and destruction. Neither good nor evil, it simply represents the cycle of life and death. Then there’s Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the inspiration behind Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. In the book, the Congo River grants access into the “dark continent” of Africa, and the arduous physical journey leads to an exploration of one’s subconscious mind. Other well-known river books include Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and the light-hearted Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome.
In the world of cinema, rivers have inspired classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), a British-American war film; the Brad Pitt-starrer A River Runs Through It; The River Wild, a 1994 thriller starring