Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Turn the page- The Evil Offspring

In the days I started serious reading, I preferred English literature. They were supposed to improve my language and mould me into a global citizen. Recently I found out that my native Kerala is blessed with amazing writers which I have missed all these years. So I am into Malayalam now.

I have been reading ‘Asura Vithu’(Evil offspring) by M.T Vasudevan Nair. MT is one of the renowned Malayalam writers and has scripted some of the award winning movies as well.

One of his first books I have read is ‘Randamoozham’(Second Chance). Usually we read the Mahabharata in the popular point of view. Here he draws the picture in the point of view of Bhima. It was such a wonderful and touching portrayal. Bhima is shown as a soft hearted person taken for granted by all.

The climax where his mother reveals his paternity is very touchy. I wonder if the Hindu fanatics would have allowed such a book to be released today.

‘Asura Vithu' is set in world war days. It paints the picture about a rural village during those tough times.

MT’s command over language, issues and situations is remarkable. Today it would be impossible to touch up a whole lot of issues in a single novel.

The main difference between a good writer and great writer is his writings transcends generations. Even it would be difficult for me to put my favorite writer Kushwant Singh in the list of great writers.

Most of the issues MT mentions in ‘Asura Vithu' is still prevalent in our society. The most prominent one being the casteism, moreover, the influence of the rich in the caste equations.

Another feature being the degradation of families entirely dependent on agriculture. As a result a new breed comes up that prefers getting a paid job. Even today a farmer has only second rate status even though he grows our food.

WW-II is a sensitive area for India. India was dragged into a war we weren’t supposed to be in. MT shows the inflation and food shortage in rural India. The aloofness of the people to the morality of warring side is humorous.

Another sensitive and very relevant subject is infidelity. Men from rich families are allowed to spill their wild oats. In the end the unfortunate woman is married off to some idiot who gets a good amount as bribe.

Reading such books enhances our social outlook. But sadly these serious writers have been ignored today.


Susan Deborah said...

John, I have read MTV and Basheer but all in translation and I really loved their writing. Their subjects were relevant than as much as it is today. They were a class apart, if I can say. But English has it's own writers as well. Sad that I cannot read works in my native-tongue of Tamil but I don't lose an opportunity to read translations: Not like the real one but nevertheless . . .

Tight read.

Have a great remainder of the week :)

Joy always,

Jon said...

Reading Basheer's translation are not worth it. His main forte is his language

Rachna said...

That is the whole problem. We miss out on great authors in our native tongues. I would love to read some Hindi literature and good books not those yucky novels. But, I do not know any stores in Bangalore where I can find such books :). Kudos to you. Keep reading Malayalam writers. After all our culture is inherently linked to our language.

Jon said...

And i hate all those InDi Anglo writers fresh out of college

Tys on Ice said...

i read the translation of randamoozam which is called second turn in english (!)...sounds like some sort of traffic manual..

thing is when i was in school, our malayalam teacher read to us the malayalam version of the book...thing abt our language is that translations doesnt do us justice...iam currently in the process of translating the works of Shihabudeen and i dont think iam giving it any justice...he thinks so but i feel that iam not able to get where he is...

Jon said...

Sorry, i havent ever heard of Shihabudeen..
I know techno ppl here who reads English just for a social symbol...

I started off my Mal novels with Basheer. Today I feel so proud to say I hail from the land of greats like Basheer, MT...