At a time when India was caught up in the whirlwind of the Independence struggle, there lived a community completely cut off from the world. In the bustling south Bombay of pre-Independence era, the Khandhiahs, or the corpse bearers of the Parsi community, were forbidden to come out of the Tower of Silence. In 1991, playwright and author Cyrus Mistry trudged into their land to tell their story. As a part of his research for a documentary for Channel 4, he met many people, until a story within this story caught his attention. “Someone told me a story of his father who was, by caste, not a Khandhiah but forced to become one,” says the 57-year-old. The documentary film never came out, but it became the foundation for his new novel titled Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer (Aleph Book Company, Rs 495). The book won the 2014 DSC Prize for South Asia on Saturday at Jaipur Literature Festival.