Those who read my last post must know by now that today’s novel will be a Bengali novel, written by revolutionary author Sarat Chandra Chatterjee. The novel is Parineeta which means previously married. Those who are familiar with Indian movies , this name must be ringing a bell in their ears.
For those who are not familiar with the story I’ll provide a short summary:
The novel begins with Gurucharan a bank clark, getting the news of the birth of his fifth daughter. A few days later he brings his niece Lalita , a 13 year old orphan home. She slowly adjusts with her new surrounding. She is best friend of Charubala . Gurucharan’s neighbor is Mr.Nabin Roy and family, who are wealthy and the family head is a wicked man, always deceiving poor people whom he lends money with high interest. His youngest son Shekhar takes an instant liking to Lalita after she arrives. Now the specificity of the novel’s name comes to light when Lalita, Charu , Shekhar were playing childish game with dolls and they get married. All of this being part of the game they didn’t mind. As the story develops so does Shekhar’s love for Lalita. In the meantime a new character is introduced in the story Girin who is Charubala’s uncle and her mother’s young cousin. He’s nearly Shekhar’s age. A very helpful person, he helps Gurucharan turn into a Brahmo so that he doesn’t have to pay dowries for daughters. Shekhar was out of town for a few when Lalita’s marriage with Girin is fixed, after returning he learns of that but doesn’t ask her anything. They don’t see each other for many days. Both Gurucharan and Nabin Roy are dead .Shekhar feels Lalita is married but story later is revealed when Girin says Shekhar that he already knew of the marriage, she had told him everything and you cannot marry an already married woman, as was the custom those days. Shekhar told his mother the entire story and the lady who had always adored Lalita like her said daughter is happy to have her at home.
Now lets begin our discussion about the characters:
She was thirteen at the beginning of the novel gradually she grows up. She’s beautiful, a little outspoken lady. Adored by everyone..Shekhar’s mother asks her to call her Ma. She is optimistic, that was she chose to tell the truth about her and Shekhar’s marriage to Girin.
Shekhar – He is the protagonist and youngest son of Nabin Roy, though the eldest is mentioned only by name. He is twenty five years old and has a master degree. He works as a teacher. He is deeply in love with Lalita . He is an obedient son , a faithful friend. He wants to marry Lalita but is restrained by social customs and his father.
Girin – He is another important character of the story. It is because of him that story turns into a love triangle at times. He is a university student and as earlier mentioned the uncle of Charu. He is a Brahmo and convinces Gurucharan to be a Brahmo as well, so that during his daughters marriages he is spared from paying large dowries. He is a wise person and thinks about social good.
This was all for today’s character discussion. For next week I was wondering if we could discuss on “Outsider” but then it came to my mind that ” Jane Eyre” is not bad either. So which one do you think should we put on the shelf next week?
This post is little different from the others that I’ve written. Here in this post I’ll mainly focus on a poem by one of India’s as well as Asia’s greatest poet Rabindranath Tagore.
” Where the mind is without fear
And the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;”
This poem was written in around 1900. The original poem was written in Bengali and the poem was named “Parthona”. Below I have mentioned few lines of the Bengali version.
” চিত্ত যেথা ভয়শূন্য, উচ্চ যেথা শির,
জ্ঞান যেথা মুক্ত, যেথা গৃহের প্রাচীর
আপন প্রাঙ্গণতলে দিবসশর্বরী”
The poem appeared first in the volume Naivedya and later translated to English in 1911 along with his other poems. It was also mentioned in Gitanjali, for which he received the Nobel and became the first Asian ever to receive it.
The poem has its own importance it had been written to encourage the freedom for their struggle against the British .Our country has developed a great fold from what we were those days, but this development has to led to some misunderstandings we seem to have forgotten our culture these days. Well I don’t say that western influence is bad, since world is global so we need to follow the trend but in the long run among its our own culture that’ll help us. Suppose we move to foreign country there if we face some problem we would instantly turn to a fellow Indian for our help instead of asking a foreigner, its a human instinct ; then why don’t we follow the same rule for our culture. Our own culture is our base where our body stands and losing it will be like losing our the ground beneath us, without a stable ground we cannot float for a long time. You call it gravitational theory in science , buy logical all of us need a solid ground based on which we can make our decisions.
If you follow the poem the first line “where the mind is without fear” says when our mind is fearless and when do you think will it be fearless ? The day we know ourselves, the day we understand ourselves and can make all the right decisions and that can happen only of we have an idea of where we come from and if our decisions are right our head will always be held high, in every problem we’ll be able to find out the solutions.
This is one of my favorite poems and I recited it for the first time when In was in grade 7, though I didn’t understand its meaning just recited it, now I really know what it means and how it was inspiration for the ones who fought for the sake of the country .
The poet told the patriots to never be afraid to speak out their voice , never to bow before enemies, he wanted a world where there would be no boundaries probably because our country was filled with superstitions which made it even more difficult for everyone to be united.He wanted a place where there would be no corruption but this problem has yet to be solved , our country still lingers on the grounds of corruption.
Perhaps we can never make a perfect country but we can at least try to make a difference, even a single individual’s action may to lead to a great change.A change for human welfare, for nation’s development.
With this I wish all my fellow Indians a HAPPY REPUBLIC DAY
About the rites and rituals followed in a hindu bengali marriage and problems faced by them.
To begin with I must say that I’m never in favor of marriages with lots of rites and rituals. Well its good to be an audience but performing it is quite difficult. The Bengali Hindu marriages are still performed in the traditional ways. Among the Hindus there is a religious book called Panjika , in which auspicious dates for special occasions are written.
After the Pundit finds out that the kundalis of both the bride and groom are matching or they are suitable for each other astrologically, then a special date is selected from the Panjika to fix the date of the marriage. On the day in which the marriage date is fixed both the families exchange sweets. Then follows engagement which may be one year before the marriage or a fortnight before.
On the eve of the wedding day, women from bride’s family rally up to the nearest water body and bring water from there which used to bathe the bride the next day before her wedding. Before wedding is about to take place turmeric is put all over the bride’s body and then she bathes with water brought for her on the previous day.
The marriage process takes almost 3-4 hours to complete, the bride and groom have to move in circles around the holy fire 7 times, in some cases they hold each others hands or sometimes the ghungat of the bride is tied with the chadar of the groom. Then after a few more rituals the groom puts vermilion on the bride’s forehead. You must be thinking that they have been declared man and wife, but unfortunately it takes longer time.
The next day they are again wedded in the same process as the previous day it is called bashi biya in Bengali. In the evening the bride and groom finally go to the grooms house. Their the groom throws a party for his family members and for those who couldn’t attend the marriage, this is called Bou Bhat. After a few more days the bride visits her parents again and thereafter two or three days her husband takes her back to his home.
I might have missed here 2-3 occasions but the importance here is lavishness with which the marriage takes place. The ego problem or show off that Bengalis nowadays have, does no good to them. Even if they are poor they’ll never think about their economic problems before spending in their daughter’s marriage. This is because of our culture or pride. Dowry cases are least visible currently, but still the bride’s parents never act like miser in their daughter’s marriage.