His real name was Prabodh Kumar Bandhopaddhay. Owing to his dark complexion, he was known to his family members as Kala Manik black diamond , or simply Manik. In the same year, he got admitted in Wesleyan Missionary College at Bankura. Earlier he studied in Contai Model Institution in Contai. In Wesleyan College, Bandopadhyay came in contact with professor Jackson.
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His most writings notably deal with the existence of grief-stricken and wretched conditions in the context of rural Bengali people. That is why this novella is deemed to belong to the mainstream world literature. While it was published by D. Library of Calcutta in , Bishwo Sahitto Kendro published it in In this novel, the author created an immortal character Soshi Doctor, the protagonist, who attempts to upgrade his native village through using his scientifically-cultivated mind on those relational, superstitious, and familial problems which intermingle with our societal vein.
Furthermore, this outstanding piece concerns about the individuals who contaminate the abstract society with their chicanery and devilry of mind. In one of his letters, Bandopadhyay wrote that this novel was a humble protest against those who tend to play with the lives of humans as if they were puppets. Its messages being very complex to conceptualize, it is very essential to moderately expand the summarized picture of the novel. The story starts with a heart-touching, tear-jerking and mind-alluring description on the death of Haru Ghosh by thunder under a colossal banyan tree.
The main character Soshi discovers the dead body of Ghosh when coming back his home by boat at dusk. He enters into his village with such a tragedy. Soshi is the son of Gopal Das, a business tycoon in Gaodia village. However, despite sudden wishes of Soshi to live in city oftentimes, he could not abandon his village for his gluing affection upon it to serve its dwellers. His son Paran is a sheer farmer whose wife is Kusum and whose sister is Moti. Kusum feels jealous to Moti as she assumes that Moti is more beautiful than she and Soshi is lovingly weak to Moti.
Kusum endeavors to impress Soshi to satisfy her sexual appetite because of her ups and downs in conjugal relations with her husband. She goes to Soshi often and pretends that she is suffering from several diseases. It implies that Kusum wants to establish an extramarital affair with Soshi having no interest toward it for a certain time. Yet, in the course of time, a change pierces the heart of Soshi to be accompanied with Kusum, but she denies directly.
The novel, here, introduces reader community about a sudden change of a cryptically married woman who once madly wanted to get Soshi. In addition, there are two crucial sub plots in this novel.
One is the story of Jadab Pundit and another is between Jamini and Sendidi. Jadab Pundit with his wife died through morphine- induced suicide to safeguard his unconscious statement which is "I will pass away in the next Rath Festival". People from not only Gaodia but also some neighboring villages gathered in his house and made it a sacred place. Only was Soshi able to explore the true cause of the death but he remained silent.
Amazingly, Pundit died testate, leaving his entire estate to Soshi himself to build a hospital. This donation makes science triumphant over superstition. The other sub plot is between herbalist Jamini and his wife Sendidi. Gopal Das arranged the nuptial of Sendidi with older Jamini. Nevertheless, Das maintained clandestine sexual relations with Sendidi.
Yet, he could not escape the shrewd eyes of Soshi. Giving birth a son with the hidden love of Das, Sendidi unexpectedly died. From then, the direction of this novel enters into a mystical path. The writer, indeed, made some thrilling episodes reflecting those events in the outlooks of the leading character. He also used rhetoric, metaphors and charismatic expression to highlight Soshi in the entire novel. Bandopadhyay took Soshi in a situation to challenge the migratory proclivity of the educated section of people from village to city in the previous century.
This novel also signifies the discernment of animals over the corpse of human being; for instance, "Getting the permanent silence of Haru Gosh, a squirrel climbed down from the tree at a time". More importantly, it shows that all people except the hero of the lagging village are prisoners of destiny and superstition.
It is obvious that Soshi is a well-educated figure who investigates any social problems experienced by him but he acts like a passivist in lieu of a reformist. Although this novel generates huge conundrums in the minds of readers due to the number of characters and theoretical flavor, it is a valuable asset in Bengali literature. Surely, this time-honored novella is colored with keen intelligence and wit, colloquial language, a neat narrative, a profound awareness of social malpractices, and a robust focus upon the continual conflict between city and village.
A film was produced based on it in Honestly speaking, from the literary point of view, we will commit an intellectual sin provided that we attempt to get a towering understanding of the root fabrics upon the Hindu society of the 20th century without this one.
The reviewer is a student of Dept.
Putul Nacher Itikatha