Presentation on theme: "By:- Upamanyu Chatterjee. Introduction First written & published in 1988 The author Upamanyu Chatterjee is a 1983 batch IAS officer Recounts the protagonist’s."— Presentation transcript:
First written & published in 1988 The author Upamanyu Chatterjee is a 1983 batch IAS officer Recounts the protagonist’s stint as a IAS officer posted in a small district, Madna. The book got a great cult following when it was released.
It adopts a unique style of writing and story telling. A style not very commonly witnessed in the modern Indian writings. The author has portrayed the sense of dislocation and alienation felt by the protagonist.
The protagonist Agastya, an IAS officer is posted in an under developed, far-flung district. The abysmal living conditions there unsettle him. Agastya finds himself in a state of daze. He is also struck by the laidback attitude of the administrative community. Born and bred in a metro, Agastya feels completely disoriented.
The author describes Agastya’s growing sense of boredom, frustration and farcical existence in Madna. This is evident in the following lines … “God, he was......., weak, feverish, aching, in a claustrophobic room, being ravaged by mosquitoes, with no electricity, with no sleep, in a place he disliked, totally alone, with a job that didn’t interest him, in murderous weather,....... His stomach contracted with his laugh. He wanted to rebel.”
The story has varied and colourful episodes and many nuanced characters. The author brings a rare emotional nakedness and searing honesty to Agastya’s internal monologues. “The noise of jeep made sustainable conversation impossible, which Agastya was happy. He could slide down in his seat till neck, without chafing, allow his mind into restlessness.”
The book reveals a detailed knowledge of the Indian heartland. The story draws from personal experiences of the author. There are detailed descriptions of the socio- economic scenario of a small town. The descriptions are reminiscent of R.K. Narayan, whose fiction was based on Malgudi. These descriptions make the reader feel nostalgic about the era gone by.
The protagonist Agastya is completely aimless and refuses to be pinned down to any thought easily. These lines describe his feelings….. “ There wasn’t single thought in his head about which he didn’t feel confused”. Agastya is equally confused about his career choice, and toys with the idea of seeking other work.
The author brilliantly captures a generation and nation struggling to cope with globalization. These lines profoundly describes this phenomena… “They are turning modern without warning, these morons.”
The obsession to copy the West blindly has been brought out in these lines when Agastya comments about his friend… “He is the sort who would love to get AIDS just because its raging in America.”
The author attempts to bring to fore the corruption and dishonesty rooted in bureaucracy. The SP of Madna explains to Agastya in one of the instances… “In the government, there is nothing such as absolute honesty there are only varying degrees of dishonesty. All officers are more or less dishonest.”
The book also been converted into a movie with the same title directed by Dev Benegal, starring actor Rahul Bose. This movie is considered as a landmark in the contemporary Indian Cinema.
Strengths: The book adopts a unique and interesting way of story telling, which greatly appeals to the reader. The author has brilliantly described the inner most feelings of the protagonist. The story is infused with many colourful episodes which keeps the readers intrigued in spite of the static life of Agastya. The author’s stance in the novel is largely witty and humorous, making it an interesting read.
Weaknesses: The author brings a rare emotional nakedness to his descriptions of the feelings of the various characters, which at times seems to cross the limits of morality. The author has generously used cuss words and sexually explicit passages, which make the book unsuitable for the young readers. Most of the characters in the story have a grey shade and have been portrayed with a tinge of cynicism.
Methodology and Presentation: Upamanyu Chatterjee has used an assured English as well as Hinglish. He has utilized the local linguistic usage for presenting this tale. The narrative is a judicious mix of modern and traditional, urban & rural, foreign and national. The language is a balanced one and a glossary has been provided at the end, to help readers understand the Hinglishized words.