Wars were destructive but they were responsible for the industrial revolution, computers and faster comfortable means of travel. Without war would it have been possible to harvest nuclear energy through fission or fusion so soon after Niels Bohr?s theory of Hydrogen atom was published?
This novel deals with the changes in traditions and lifestyles of a conservative society of an Indian town bordering Pakistan. This was done in this novel by focusing on the lives of students Mita, Sailaja, Jahnavi, Tridev, Lokesh and Niranjan and residents Vedavyas, Ashutosh, Sajjanlal and others of Devipur. All kinds of differences come up for close scrutiny at the time of marriage.
Because of regional agitations for a separate statehood for their region, the misdeeds of the vice-chancellor and the autocratic ways of the principal, the National Engineering College degenerated into disrepute. The college was restored to the path of progress by the determined efforts of Professor Goraknadh who staked his life in that process.
Vedavyas arranged for a customary pre-marital visit of the bride groom Mukhesh and his father Ambareesh to Goraknadh?s house for a meeting with his daughter and bride, Jahnavi. The groom misbehaved and left abruptly; Vedavyas learnt that the groom heard rumors that she was in love with a Harijan named Lokesh. Actually his allegation put ideas into her head and she began loving him. Vedavyas approached some others but could not settle any alliance
vedavyas went to look at the progress of the Construction work of his house. During excavations for the foundation a Shiv Ling surfaced; a temporary shelter was constructed for it immediately which served as a Shiv temple; it accentuated religious fervor.
Sailaja and Niranjan loved each other. His father Ashutosh was running a nursing home exclusively for Brahmins; her father Vinayak came from an adjacent state and was more conservative. Lovers knew that they can?t obtain the consent of at least one family, for their marriage. Vinayak arranged Sailaja?s marriage with Tripurantak and she invited all her friends for the wedding, which was unusual.
War suddenly erupted between Pakistan and India, one day before Sailaja?s marriage. Because there was no discrimination based on caste or religion in the army, Lokesh wanted to join the services after graduation; he told his friends that he decided to join the army the very next day and did so. Tridev convinced his parents and joined the next day. Niranjan returned to his college, joined the army and then informed his parents. All the three were sent to the forward areas.
Devipur and the neighborhood suffered the consequences of war. Omkar completed medicine and joined his father.
Several changes began to occur. Ashutosh employed Bharatram, a Harijan in his nursing home; Jahnavi joined as a nurse. The nursing home was thrown open to all. Mita had an unusual disappointment in marriage. Bharatram helped to get Omkar and Lucy married. Later in the novel, many more marriages took place disregarding the traditional norms. Temple for Shivji was completed.
The war ended as suddenly as it began. Lokesh and Tridev returned soon after the war and related how they were wounded and how a Muslim Lady doctor treated them and returned them to the Indian Army Camp. In 1947 when their family was migrating to Pakistan, an orthodox Brahmin protected them, gave them shelter and treated them as honored guests for three days; that gesture changed their lives and they began helping people in need, irrespective of their religion or nationality.
Niranjan was to return under the exchange of prisoners of war but was replaced by someone else. A Muslim school teacher saved Niranjan, nursed him to health and married him. Later, he wrote a cryptic letter to Ashutosh indicating how they can be retrieved and brought to Devipur. Ashutosh?s wife Sarvani deciphered the letter and they succeed in bringing the couple to Devipur.