A result of years of research, besides personal exposure to the plight of the poor, the novel depicts the life of the Pamabada community in coastal Karnataka. The male members of the community play the role of 'Bhuta' during the night, while during daytime they continue to carry on menial work in the villages.
The paradox is while they perform the role of 'Bhuta' in the evenings the villagers worship them, but once they remove their robes they are treated as menials.
The novel brings out the social change that is occurring in coastal Karnataka. In the family portrayed in the novel, one brother follows the traditional profession while another gets educated and turns his back on the traditional life. There is undercurrent in the novel as to how the villagers want to preserve their tradition while wanting to move ahead socially.
"I spent five years researching for this novel. The novel showcases the culture of the people who are illiterate. It is the story of a person, who is untouchable in daytime but divine at nighttime. The Pambada are treated as slaves during day and treated as divine persons at night. It is exactly the state of 'real people' my novel is talking about," said Dr.M.Veerappa Moily, the novelist cum senior Congress leader at the Triveni Kala Sangam during the release of 'Dhol'.
"I write for myself and try to express my innermost feelings in my writings. I don't write until I am emotionally possessed by the subject," Moily informed the audience.
The novel endorses the viewpoint that unless the Pambada community get formal education and develop a scientific outlook , they cannot free themselves of the centuries' old exploitation and poverty.
The novel talks about the Pambada lifestyle, Bhuta, Yakshagana, various ceremonies, rituals and rites that form the background of the novel. eleasing the novel's Hindi version ''Dhol'', senior Congress leader and AICC General Secretary Janardhan Dwivedi, said: "The novel is based on social values and the interesting part is the writer, Mr. Moily, who has been a lawyer gives several logical reasons for various things and developments instead of pronouncing judgement. Being familiar to one section of society, he has tried to highlight their daily problems."
"The novel showcases how a member (the protagonist Lakan) of the exploited community turns Bhuta and is revered by all during Bhuta worship. But the same person is treated as a menial in general life at day time. It throws light upon this strange situation faced by members of a community," Dwivedi added.
"Each chapter of this novel has something worth learning. The novel tells about people of lower class who create art and culture. These are the people who live the art in real sense, as shown through Bhuta in the novel. It shows the grotesque face of politics besides revealing the dangerous face of land-mafia surviving under political protection," said Professor K.D.Palival, former Professor and Head of Hindi Dept of Delhi University.
Dr Bilimale, who introduced the book, said: The novel extensively makes use of Pambada myths and oral narratives. In this sense, this book is an important source for the researchers in the area of anthropology, folklore and sociology."
"Moily's first novel Suligali was a touching story of rural life, full of conflicts as well compromises. His second novel, Sagaradeepa depicted the problems and sufferings of the poor fisherman community of the costal Karnataka. His third novel Kotta reflected the agony and anguish of one of the most neglected community called Koragas. His fourth novel, Tembare, is now translated into Hindi by B.R.Narayana as 'Dhol', " informed Dr.Purushotham Bilimale .
"Moily has brought out two collections of poetry, four novels and a collection of discursive essays in English. Recently, he completed his most ambitious work as a poet-Ramayana and Mahanveshanam in five volumes," Bilimale added.
Moily plans his next work on 'Draupadi', a character in Mahabharata, who is considered by him as the central character of the epic.