Contact Us | About Us |
Movie Screenings Sweepstakes Special Offers
Campus Circle > Books > Fiction
Archives
Books: Fiction

The Rat-boys of Karalabad

By Kevin Wierzbicki
<i>The Rat-boys of Karalabad</i>
(Credit: zulfiqarrashid.com)





Article tools
sponsored by

In parts of Southeast Asia (India, Bangladesh and Pakistan in particular), there’s a horrendous procedure that involves the purposeful disfigurement of the heads of male children so that when they’re sent out to beg in the street, people are more likely to give them money out of pity. This is a form of organized beggary where a handler works these so-called “rat boys” in a similar manner to that of a pimp working his whores.

The Rat-boys of Karalabad by Zulfiqar Rashid is a work of fiction that details this situation from a very interesting perspective:

The book tells the story of a young man named Omar who, unlike the "rat boys," is living a life of privilege at “the shrine” in Karalabad (also fictional). Here, he is being groomed to become the shrine’s next Pir (leader).

This is all fine and good with Omar when he’s very young, but as he grows older, he realizes that he is only living at the shrine because he was taken from his parents as a toddler. Upon this epiphany, Omar wants only to find his parents.

Eventually, resentment of the situation and the inherent hypocrisy of how life is lived in the shrine (one of the things he’s taught is that it’s expected of him to mistreat and even kill rat boys) festers within Omar until he’s mad enough to consider murdering the current Pir.

While Omar is trying to sort all this out, he comes to the horrifying realization that when it comes down to it, he’s been disfigured (if only mentally and spiritually) for someone else’s purpose, just like a "rat boy."

Deep thinkers will draw plenty of corollaries here, but those just looking for a good story will be satisfied as well.
 
Grade: B

Article posted on 4/21/2014
This article has been viewed 2653 times.














Read Campus Circle

View Issues Online
Current and past issues
Download
View Issues

Download Current Issue
Download Current Issue
PDF Format
Related Articles You Might Like...

Fiction House of Leaves: A New Halloween Classic 10,317 views

Fiction The Fun Parts 10,108 views

Fiction That is All 8,394 views

Fiction Zombie Cat: The Tale of a Decomposing Kitty. 1,839 views

Fiction 11/22/63: Stephen King’s ambitious time-travel tale is rich with details of ’50s and ’60s. 10,241 views

Fiction A Final Trip to Oz 1,733 views

Fiction You’re Next 2,057 views

Fiction A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter 2,008 views

Fiction 32 Candles 1,655 views

Fiction Midnight and the Meaning of Love 2,649 views
Member Comments