- Shamsuddin: A poor Miyan Muslim in Assam - the central character
- Latika: A passionate and dedicated social worker who forms a close friendship with Shamsuddin
- Snehalata: Latika's aunt and Shamsuddin's benefactor
- Debjyoti: Team Lead of the NGO that helps the slum dwellers in Guwahati.
Shamsuddin's Grave is the story of a poor man who leaves his small village in Assam to make more money in the city of Guwahati. However, Shamsuddin is caught in new problems of the city. He finds it very expensive to make his ends meet and works doubly hard to afford a roof over his head and save for a new home. All this while, he leaves his wife, Amina, and their children with his brother. When Shamsuddin returns to his family after a couple of years, his world shatters.
Latika, a divorcee, leaves Delhi to work at an NGO in Guwahati. She is appalled by the pathetic and unhygienic conditions of the poor people living in shanties, especially those belonging to the Miyan Muslim community. Latika rolls up her sleeves and gets to work right away, despite threats from the local goons.
The book is very special, mainly because of the powerful story that needs to be told to the world. Paromita explores the sensitive situation in Assam and addresses the problems faced by this state - floods, infiltration, Government apathy, illiteracy, human trafficking and poverty. The author gets the emotions spot on! The characters feel real and unique.
The only downside of this book is the poor editing and sweeping errors in spelling and grammar. The same story, in the hands of an expert writer, would perhaps make it to the Man Booker longlist.
This book gets an overall rating of 6 on 10 from me for the moving story and high levels of interest that it commands. However, the poor language hinders the novel from being a great one.