Gautam Prasad Baroowah has recently released his futuristic socio-political book titled ‘Where Wise Owls Dare’. Through this book the author urges the readers to protect the one-horned rhinoceroses of Kaziranga National Park. His knowledge on the subject and his passion for the cause came out commendably during my interview with him.
The economist, the businessman, the author – Gautam Prasad Baroowah
Aditi: Tell the readers a little about Assam.
Gautam Prasad Baroowah: Assam is one of the seven states located in northeast India. The Ajom dynasty ruled here for six hundred years when the British annexed it in 1826. Till 1946, Assam’s GDP growth was better than most Indian states. It declined after Independence due to geographic bottlenecks. Assam is famous for oil, tea, and natural resources. It is the home of the rhinoceros, and the British created a sanctuary here that is world famous. Due to poaching, the number of rhinos, however, have dipped and they are now on the extinct list.
Aditi: What is the greatest threat that Assam is facing today?
Gautam Prasad Baroowah: The greatest threat is migration from Bangladesh. The new population is threatening the Assamese socio political scene. Assam was always a good surplus state. With the large influx of people, economic the conditions have declined.
The cover of the book ‘Where Wise Owls Dare’
Aditi: What made you write a socio-political book that is set in the future?
Gautam Prasad Baroowah: The socio-political scene has undergone a tremendous change. Earlier there was no Hindu-Muslim conflict at all. Nowadays, due to the influx of the new population class conflicts have begun. My story refers to such class conflicts. The parents of my hero were killed in such a conflict, and the son and the daughter became orphans. The father was a Bangladeshi Muslim, and the mother was a Bodo Hindu. I wrote this novel to bring together the community, to wipe out the conflict, and to show that an immigrant’s son can become the CM if he loves the state.
Aditi: Do you think writing socio-political books is tough given that factions in India might get sentimentally hurt?
Gautam Prasad Baroowah: Writing a socio-political novel is difficult. You need an insight into the real economic situation of the state. The rhino is a peace loving animal. It does not attack anyone unless provoked. This too is an Assamese characteristic. But these peace-loving animals are being killed, and local population is threatened. In such a situation, political and social rejuvenation is necessary.
Aditi: Did being an economist help you in writing this book?
Gautam Prasad Baroowah: My knowledge of economics helped me a lot. The growth model described by Dr.Faulkner is a point in case. For example, the generation of electricity through geophysical route is a new concept. Unless you have in-depth knowledge, you cannot suggest that.
Aditi: What would you say is the USP of your book?
Gautam Prasad Baroowah: Rhinos can be saved by the economic rejuvenation of the neighbouring population and through international cooperation since the market for rhino horns are in various Asian countries and not in India. The book reflects the strength of women. Not just foreign research scholars and the CM of the state, even a prostitute that becomes a wildlife warden and can save wildlife.
Aditi: What got you into writing from the corporate world?
Gautam Prasad Baroowah: Writing was my passion from my student days. I didn’t migrate from a corporate job to a writer. I received an award for my writing before I become a business manager.
Aditi: What is the next book that you are writing?
Gautam Prasad Baroowah: My next book is based on the conflict between the ambition of a father and a son. The ambition of the father is to see his son became a professor at Harvard University. The son fulfils his father’s desire by getting the job, yet he refuses to join the school. The name of the book would will be The father, mother, and holy child. The child leaves home, writing a note to his mother that he followed whatever his father wished, but ultimately he couldn’t be happy. So he left home in search of the truth of life and divinity.
Aditi: When it comes to writing what is more important to you – the sheer love for writing or awards?
Gautam Prasad Baroowah: The love of writing. However, I have accepted an award.
Aditi: What message would you like to give the readers?
Gautam Prasad Baroowah: No message in particular. I do not want to be judgmental. Let the reader decide what they want. Read it and love it. My book is a socio-political fantasy based on a dream, and it reflects love and affection between man and animals and how they can promote each other’s needs.