Indo-Nepal border issue is in the air since ages. It has been always a 'better tool' for leaders of the political parties to ease their career in one and the other way. And now, it has been a same case - but for good- for an issue in a novel. The treaty signed between Nepal and India in 1950 intends for a close strategic friendship. But it is proved ever prejudiced. Moreover, it has been a huge snag for the Nepalese residing in the borders. Nayanraj Pandey, in his latest piece Loo has beautifully crafted a second to none tragedies we are breathing.
A desire for the next novel written by the same author had mounted the years back when Ullar turned addictive. In Loo Pandey has lifted the same characters facing the terrible poverty and societal setbacks. This is a tale of the subalterns who are being excluded by the mainstream political force. The more the readers flip into the pages, their fist certainly would bump up because of the heart ridden atrocities the people are facing there.
The story is all set in Pattharpurawa village of Nepalgunj. The village has been portrayed as a huge character in itself. Though non-human by breathe, the village is powerful in depicting the miseries. The atrocities of SSB faced by the innocent villagers are closer into reality. The leaders said to be working for the people turn appalling; raping the innocent girls and hanging the people into death. The awful characterization is another point to be noticed. The characters narrating their own story revealing some facets is good in itself. It helps reader know the psyche of each character. Somewhere, the narrator character's information seems unworthy. The reader could question, "How such a rug fellow would hold bigger information of political diplomacy?" Moreover, different character's narration should have to be different. How could each of them would carry identical tone of narration, word preference and symbol use? The perfection of every good novel rests on the style of its narration. And here the author has admitted it. He discloses writing is not that much tough- says- "It's easy to write. Not that much tough, for sure. For that, the characters must recite their story honestly and the writer should write truthfully."
Likewise, the author's capacity of language use is incredible and enticing. It holds the readers to flip the pages till the end. Some 20 pages before the end are bitter which expose the one and the other trauma faced by the people. The most painful and horrible situation is the author getting Tute Pandit's letter. The readers feel exhausted when Pandit revealed that Pattharpurawa is no longer in Nepal! The Nepali land being captured by India finally is becoming the painful reality in these days too. The story started from a death revelation goes on with loads of ups and downs. Most of the characters carry equal value in the pages. Ilaiya, Radiolaal, Bajrangi, Nusrat, Tute Pandit, Karim, Kabita, Hardei and almost all of them are better placed in their pose. These characters never let go their characterization. They stay ever same what they were. The metafictional confession in the end of the pages is breathtaking. The style of acknowledgment worth a huge clap. The real life people, used as the characters fit into the fictional reality. But, the story slippers somewhere as if the author is hurried to expose.
The author's capacity of holding the reader until the end is brilliant in style. There are few instances where Pandey would have to work more. Raising his hero, Ilaiya, carefully is a master craft. However, in the end the way hero is left seems painful. It would be better if the writer had spent more ink for his well settlement. The images are perfectly used as per the terai settings. No metaphors or simile goes out of terai as per the condition. Pandey added few events and characters (like Prem Lalawa and Draupadi) from his previous novel Ullar. This insertion seems relevant and cool. The most dissatisfying evident in the novel is the style of bracketed information given in non-consistent way. The exposition of meaning through the bracketed information seems very much unusual and disturbing. It could be well suited in narrative sentences but certainly out of the way in some dialogues.
As a whole the novel disclosing the painful reality of the marginalized people of border locale would add discourse in the political arena. If the ever prejudiced issue of Indo-Nepal border would be settled well, sharing benefit to both of the countries, this piece of fiction would be a milestone in Nepali literature.
Book : Loo [लू ]
Author: Nayanraj Pandey
Publication: Sangri-La Books
Price: NRs. 300/-