Monday, September 22, 2008


Rabindranath Tagore was undoubtedly a great man and a great novelist. His writings really are different. But (I know I have no right to say this considering the fact that I am talking about a man like him; forgive me if I hurt your sentiments which I know I will) sometimes, they are so boring!

'Rajarshi' was a novel written by him after having a dream. He dreamt that a little girl had visited a temple with her father one day and seeing the blood of animals sacrificed to the god/goddess, on the temple steps, the girl had asked, " Why is there so much blood?" Based on this, Rabindranath Tagore had penned an entire novel. I haven't read the whole novel yet but I have felt that our Nobel Laureate was just not at his best when he wrote this one. Why did he have to describe the time of the day so often? In every chapter, there is one long paragraph about either the day or the night or the afternoon or the early evening. In two lines about the atmospheric conditions, we could have understood the coming incidents, whether they will be good or bad. In one of the chapters, he describes the morning as a very pleasant one and tells us about everything and everyone from the sun rays to the squirrels and from the goats to the people happily chatting while preparing to take a bath. But, then he says that Jayshingha (one important character) is not happy to see everyone else so merry! Then, why did he make us read so much? And that Jayshingha! He changes his mind every alternate chapter. He is just not able to decide whether to support the king or the priest. By inserting this character into the novel, Rabindranath Tagore makes things so boring. There was simply no need for the readers to digest this man called Jayshingha when he practically does nothing and finally kills himself. Chapters have been on Jayshingha. And, what's the point of having such a philosopher like Govindamanikya as king? Just because a girl asked the reason for all that blood, he ordered that all sacrifices should be stopped! Why didn't he just concentrate on his other administrative duties? Oh, but of course, he was a philosopher, not a king. So, how could he? Govindamanikya was also a big bore in the sense that he was wanting to listen to the 'dhrubopakhyan' from a little boy of five or six who, all the while, was wanting to go and meet his friend and play in the woods. The only smart person in the novel is Raghupati, the priest, who doesn't waste a singel moment in deciding what he wants. He is the villain but to me, he is the character who makes us open our eyes properly and read every time he comes into the picture.

I hope I'll get something better in the rest of the chapters though I have every doubt. I know I have already hurt a dozen sentiments and am already being cursed but I could not help it!


B. O'Hemian said...

No you didn't hurt my sentiments. I know most Bengalis would get defensive if you mention anything negative about Kabiguru, and I appreciate the courage that you show in overcoming that and writing this post.

As a kid, when I read the Bengali classics - Bankimchandra was my favorite, then Saratchandra and then Rabindranath. This, despite the fact that Bankimchandra's language was definitely the most complex of them. But I fell in love with his plots.

Having said all this, the genius of Rabindranath Thakur cannot be ignored. Explore more, I am sure you will like some of his work.

P.S: Just as I was reading this post, I remembered that you were reading Dr. Zhivago, and suddenly I remember the tune from the movie. You will remember that Rohit and I were trying in vain to remember the tune when we met.

newsgroups said...

Ugh, boring books! I guess you have to read this one for school. There are so many boring books in the world! And I don't understand why they exist. One reason for existence for books is that they transfer knowledge, but the other is that they entertain people. When a book doesn't fit in both categories, why does it exist? Isn't a book more than a message? Isn't it the art of telling a story that also makes a book?
For me the books that grip people are the better ones. But somehow those books are not considered as such.
Greetings! nanny

Woodsmoke said...

It is impossible to maintain a blog or keep up with any kind of personal writing if you try to keep everyone happy and unhurt all the time. Having said that, which was basically my way of reiterating that this is your space, and so always write what you feel you must. Like one of my teacher says, your best writing comes when you are angry, hurt, or bitterly frustrated.

Coming to the post itself, after all that gyan. :)
I loved reading this. It had a tone of irreverence (without being disrespectful) and the right dose of humor. It's always difficult to pull them off together. I think you did a great job. Additionally, I think posts like this should be read by anyone with any plans of becoming a serious writer. It shows you clearly where an iconic writer may succeed and where he may fail.

Keep up the good work and hone that budding irreverence.

Titash said...

Tagore regularly went over the top. Hope you have peace with him!

Soorma said...

well,i agre with u that RAJYARSHI is boring!!But Raghupati is not dat good.But, yes,he is witty.When i got hold of dis bk. like other bks., i started reading it,but d 1st few pgs. made me get bored and i understood how d rest would b!!NISHKRITI is much better than dat.By d way have u read ANNE FRANK's diary?Its very good & i think u will surely like it.BEST OF LUCK for RAJYARSHI!!

Kanu said...

I am not going to offer my critique for I shamefully admit I haven't read any of his works!

All I want to say is that as a reader it is totally your like a book you praise don't like say it out loud. Though you have gotten me interested in the book...

Nicely put girl. Keep up the good work

Butterfly said...

Well,I am so glad that the frist comment is in my favour. Thank You so much!:-)

I liked Rabindranath Tagore's short stories like 'Postmaster' and all but I have not read any of Bankimchandra's or Saratchandra's works.

Rightly guessed...I have to read this one for school but some school books provide such a good read like 'Macbeth'.
Even if some books do grip people, they are not considered as being better than renowned author's books. That, sadly, is a world fashion.

When I write my posts, i basically don't care about what everybody thinks. In other fields, that already has to be done. So, this is one area of my life where I do/write anything that I wish.:-)

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! Thank You for all that admiration. Frankly, I hadn't thought that this casually wriiten post would earn me this much appreciation.

Yeah, hopefully!

Nishkriti is worse!I hate all the three bahus and their husbands, specially, and contrary to most people's expectations, Ramesh and Shailaja!

I have read Anne Frank's diary and have also written a post on it previously. You can read it. And, you're right. I loved the book!

Best of luck to you too!:-P

Well, what a successful post this has turned out to be! Thanks a lot!:-)

newsgroups said...

Hi Butterfly!
I miss your contributions! Hope all is well. Greetings! nanny

Butterfly said...

Thanks a lot for your concern.:-)
Everything is perfect and I couldn't update because I was away from home and I'll be writing posts on that today.