The Song of Kahunsha


308 pages
ISBN 0-385-66228-9
DDC C813'.6






Reviewed by Tanya Rogoschewsky

Tanya Rogoschewsky is a librarian at Red Deer College in Red Deer,


Chamdi is a 10-year-old orphan who dreams of finding his long-lost
father and of exploring the vast city beyond the orphanage walls. The
city, which he envisions as a “city of no sadness” named Kahunsha,
is in reality the city of Bombay.

When Chamdi leaves the orphanage for the brutal world of India’s
slums, he meets a brother and sister who teach him the harsh rules of
survival in their corner of Bombay. It is an area presided over by Anand
Bhai, a vicious criminal who ensnares Chamdi in his network of thieves,
informants, and street children. As the violence in the city escalates,
Chamdi and his friends must sacrifice their innocence in order to
survive while at the same time maintaining their dream of a better

The Song of Kahunsha is a heartbreaking story of hope, despair, and
loss of childhood innocence. Irani captures not only the complex sights
and smells of India, but also the ruthlessness of street life. Although
the novel gets off to a slow start, readers who persevere will be richly


Irani, Anosh., “The Song of Kahunsha,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024,