If I Have To Be A Soldier by Nikhil J. Alva| Book Review| Book Summary

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If I Have To Be A Soldier by Nikhil J. Alva is a gripping tale of suffering, patriotism, religion, culture, friendship, and above all a pure love story that has to pass the test of war. Read the full review and summary in the article below.

Author: Nikhil J. Alva

Cover                                                                                    star star star star 

Plot                                                                                       star star star star half star

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Release Date                                                                          29 January 2024

Pages                                                                                     336


Book Review: If I Have To Be A Soldier by Nikhil J. Alva

If I Have To Be A Soldier by Nikhil J. Alva is a story of one of India’s most secretive wars of 1966. When the people of Mizo failed to receive much-needed help from the central government during the famine. The local people formed the Mizo National Front (MNF) to fight against the Indian government demanding an independent country. 

War is never easy and innocent people suffer beyond imagination. This book describes the sufferings, death, and emotional turmoil that make a person rebel against his people and nation.

The cover of the book is different with a beautiful color combination and gives a glimpse of the story. It has two soldiers in front and at the backdrop, there are bamboo huts, rats, a falling church, and much more. The title goes completely with the storyline of the book If I Have To Be A Soldier by Nikhil J. Alva.

This is the story of two friends Sena and Samuel who are fighting the same war but from different sides.

Captain Samuel Rego is the adopted son of a Pastor couple who lives in Asakhua. He shared a good bond with his father and always tried hard to impress his mother. Since he is a mixed breed, he is often bullied and teased by local students in school. The only person who understands and saves him at school is Sena.  

Sena is the son of the headmaster of the school. He is brave and good at sports but hates studies. He lives in a house provided by the school with his two sisters Christine and Martha along with his father Eoma. His mother died long back due to malaria. He loves his sisters but hates his father.

The love between Martha and Sammy is pure and based on understanding and emotions.

The author had wonderfully described the beauty of Mizoram. I saw the bamboo huts, houses, church, the local school, and the scenic beauty of Asakhua in my mind while exploring If I Have To Be A Soldier by Nikhil J. Alva.

The story is crisp and clear, different twists and turns kept me on the edge till I finished this book. The simple vocabulary used in the story made me finish the book fast.

Sometimes there is no right or wrong side. It’s just the emotion of the soldier and his passion for his motherland that gives him the courage to take chances in tough situations. This is what I learned after reading this tale of love, friendship, and patriotism.

The spread of Christianity and the confusion of local and tribal people about religion is highlighted well in the story. The way it helped tribal people to settle down in one place and provide education to their children gives a glimpse of the changing India.

The untidy kids and unorganized house without a mother are perfectly described in the story. Belief in a witch and people going to take advice during tough times is something that is part of ancient India is highlighted and plays a major role in shaping the story.

The brutality of war and the suffering of innocent people is heartbreaking. The first love and heartbreak and the way it brings down the confidence of teenage boys is something that is often ignored by the parents.

The reason why Sena’s mother ran away leaving small children behind is something I would like to know more from the story.

I learn a lot about Mizoram’s tribes, culture, and religion while exploring this book. The dirty politics in the military that some people play to save their names, and jobs, and to get promotions is exposed in the story.  The author also exposed the foul plays played by some young men in MNF for their personal benefit and fun.

Overall, it’s a good and different book. If you love reading fiction books set in the backdrop of war then I will highly recommend you to read If I Have To Be A Soldier by Nikhil J. Alva.

Also Read: Married in Hate by Shilpa Suraj

Book Summary: If I Have To Be A Soldier by Nikhil J. Alva

Captain Samuel Rego returns to his birthplace after eight years. He was handpicked by the major because he knew the local language. He was shocked to see the face of the war prisoner whom he came to interrogate. He was his childhood friend, hero, and his saviour Sena.

They separated from each other on a bad note. The Sena accused Samuel of raping his sister Martha. This forced Samuel to leave his birthplace Asakhua. He carried this grudge for Sena since he was a seventeen-year-old teenage boy.

After seeing Sena, he felt no emotions. For him, he is a prisoner who joined the MNF group and is fighting against the Indian government for the independence of Mizoram.

When Samuel was taking Sena back, he managed to escape by shooting one soldier who tried to kill him. To catch Sena when Sammy ran behind him, he was misunderstood by his fellow soldiers as a supporter of MNF. Now both are running and fighting like cats and dogs in the dense forest of Mizo.

Will Caption Samuel Rego have any success in catching Sena?

Why did Samuel have to leave his birthplace overnight?

Will Sena ever forgive Samuel for betraying his sister Martha?

To know more read If I Have To Be A Soldier by Nikhil J. Alva.

This review is powered by the Blogchatter Book Review Program. 

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