River Dog: A Journey Down the Brahmaputra by Mark Shand

I recently finished reading Mark Shand’s River Dog and it was an excellent book. This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for a very LONG time – I got this book as a present back in 1993 – and it has collected dust ever since. I don’t know why I didn’t read it until now – it is one of the best non-fiction adventure books I’ve ever read. It’s filled with adventure, humor and the antics of a dog – which turns out to my best combination of genre in a book.
Mark Shand tells the story of his journey down one of India’s sacred rivers, the Brahmaputra in a touching, eloquent and entertaining way. His journey starts from Tibet across Arunachal Pradesh to the Bay of Bengal on the mighty Brahmaputra in the company of his Indian hunting dog Bhaiti. His attempt was to trace the source of the sacred river – and boy, what an adventure it was – all of it told with humor.
In this book, he gave many historical accounts of India and the beauty of tribal cultures in some of the rural areas in India. It is interesting to learn the tribal culture and their way of living – and the importance of regulations to preserve their culture. The last part of his journey ends in Bangladesh – and it was a poignant account of the sufferings of the people there after being hit by a massive flood, brought on by the river. Despite the devastation brought on by the river, the people there did not blame the Brahmaputra – instead they blamed the government for not providing immediate relief and support. They described the river as sacred and that we should never blame nature.
Next, I am looking forward to reading his earlier book – ‘Travels on My Elephant’ in India – should be fun!
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