Death of a Moneylender

Falak, a young newspaper journalist from Delhi, is assigned to a remote village in south-central India where a moneylender is found dead, hung from a lamppost in front of his house by an entire village united against injustice.

Falak coldly hunts the story for a page one by-line, unconcerned with corrective conscience, an attitude that cost him his relationship with Vani, a rival newspaper journalist. Within hours of reaching the village, his story is ready; a villainous moneylender killed by long-suffering villagers.

But Falak has also unearthed a disconcerting fact, that the moneylender was a kind-hearted, generous man whose death was being used to intimidate other moneylenders. Outstanding loans are written off to buy peace with villagers, but the politically well-connected and dangerous moneylenders plan a brutal retribution.

Shambu, a farmer, seems to have master-minded the death with Bhanu, the moneylender’s son. Falak hates the villagers for committing the crime but also sympathizes with them. He hates the half-truth he reports, but covets the by-line it gets him. Truth rescues him from this twilight of dilemma. It devastates him, transforms him. And ironically, also makes him lie.

Paperback (2009)
Death Of A Moneylender
Roli Books

Reprint (2016)
Penguin Books India