“Road to Heaven” tells the story of a young Sikh’s pilgrimage across India. His journey leads him along the “Grand Trunk Road”, an ancient trading route and one of the most dangerous roads in the world, from Kolkata in the east to Amritsar in the west where it ends at the spiritual centre of Sikhism.
Rajan represents the “Generation Next” of India, growing up with Mac-Book, smart phone and social media and adopting the western way of life. He is young and modern, wild and shaped by consumerism, finds politics depressing and knows little about his country’s history.
His family regards Rajan as a rebel, since he doesn’t wear his long hair in the style of the Sikh under a turban, but conceals it under a baseball cap. His pilgrimage, a way of thanking God, illustrates the inner conflict of a generation that blindly follows tradition for tradition’s sake.
His journey will take him to places he has never seen before and that unsettle him deeply. He is afraid of the cows in the dirty streets of Varanasi, gets caught up in a garish fairground in Allahabad, is in raptures of love at the sight of the Taj Mahal, discovers why widows from all over the country travel to Vrindavan, encounters a feminist in Gurgaon, the ‘Singapure of India’ and visits the Street of Demonstration in New-Delhi.
On the way to his journey’s end, the golden temple of Amritsar, he is confronted with the reality of his country, in which corruption, social evils and violence towards women create the fabric of society. The road to heaven invariably leads him through purgatory.
The end marks a deeper understanding of India’s fate as a nation and the conscious dismantling of our romanticized western perception of India as a land of wisdom, spirituality and non-violence.
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