O. V. Vijayan is one of the finest literary figures in Malayalam, known for his novels, his cartoons and his satirical depiction of political life in India. His classic Dharmapuranam is one of the finest portrayals of Indian political life. Dharmapuranam tells the story of Siddharta, a modern-day Messiah like figure who as per his namesake seeks to attain enlightenment and spread it to different parts of society. However, his movement and travels bring him in conflict with the President of Dharmapuri, a tyrannical figure.
The plot is not the main element of Dharmapuranam however; the real drama lies in the digressive view of life on the margins in India. Modern India is very distant from the fount of spirituality that provided it with its richest values, leading to breakdown in the spiritual life of contemporary India and degradation of environment and society.
Dharmapuranam is a remarkable work of political satire, worthy of Voltaire and Jonathan Swift. The language is especially rich, and the characters are a joy to read even as they reveal the corruption and inefficiency of organizations. The novel was originally published in 1975 in serial form, during the tense climate of the Emergency. In addition to anticipating the trends and changes that would arrive in Indian politics of the 90s, the novel is also a portrait of the 70s as well, showing in detail the kind of political corruption and failure that was part of India at the time.
Dharmapuranam by O. V. Vijayan was acclaimed by Khushwant Singh and David Selbourne, who, in the Times Literary Supplement, noted that the novel was dangerous stuff and cut close to the bone. Vijayan is one of the key figures in the Malayalam language and has written several novels, essays and short stories, having won awards from the Sahitya Academy and winning the Mathrubhumi Sahitya Award in 2004. Some of his best books are The Legends of Khasak and The Infinity of Grace.This paperback book is listed online with the ISBN-10 number of 8171300669 and the ISBN-13 number of 978-8171300662.