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Friday, January 15, 2010

O.V.VIJAYAN’S VIEW OF HISTORY AS REFLECTED IN “THE INFINITY OF GRACE”

Vijayan’s view of history is not different from that of the present age where history is not accepted as a mere pedestrian account of incidents in their proper order. It aims at a scientific estimation of historical events and the exploration of human values. The writers of the present age are not ready to accept the common notion that history deals with the past and it is futile to rummage in those details. Instead they bring into light the sufferings of individuals and other ideals which were thrown into oblivion in the hands of those writers who did it for catering to the tastes of power and also for protection. The present day writers scrutinize the dangers hailed at the existence of the individuals and their inner struggle in the search of their “self” and substantiate their arguments on the basis of this observation that these are not of the past only but of the present and is sure and more dangerous to be of the future. Thus the division of time or place vanishes and everything takes place in a stagnant time. In Malayalam literature, O.V.Vijayan and Anand are the notable writers who have dealt with this exhaustively along with other serious matters of concern.


As in his previous novel, “The Saga of Dharmapuri”, this novel also tells us something about his view of history. The present novel deals with the predicament of human beings caught in the whirlpool of “karma” and the realization that comes to them from different incidents and persons. Thus the whole world is replete with the presence of grace. Vijayan juxtaposes many historical incidents to prove this and also points to the pitiable state of man who repeats his deeds ignorantly. He criticizes the ways of history and says that it is nothing but a tale of murder and rape:

“Olga was upset.
‘Muder and rape’, she said, ‘will men never be sated with these dark rites?’
……………………………………………………………………………………….
‘look at these ruins; they are the insatiety of history’

History is an ensemble of various battles fought by men and their ignorance. ‘The hollow realization’ comes only to a few while the rest are indulging in more sinful actions.

Beliram says,
“All this war, just to impart a child’s lesson to us!”
This is the knowledge that the Editor also shares:
“The editor had seen the revolutions he had been part of in his youth become govts. and his comrades become men of power”
…………………………………………………………………………..
“He had seen multitudes rise up to overthrow empires, and become new empires themselves; he had seen other multitudes rise and traverse the sterile wastes of history”

Vijayan’s criticism of the vulgarity that history deposits on the sands of time becomes sharp and pungent when he points to its continuation in the present. For instance, Allah Bux says that he has decided to have no cabaret in his hotel. He is a symbol of tradition. The cabaret that he finds around him reminds him of the molestation that the women of his country face.

He says,
“In my Dacca, Pakistani soldiers strip the girls naked, and parade them in the streets. The only difference between that and cabaret is one of location and circumstance”

Kunhunni also says the same,
“We have not grown enough to stop the violent dance which signifies the birth of nations”

In their blind and unscrupulous advancement, men have drifted away from the spirit of their nation and what it has gained.

“They pulled down the ivory mansions and in their place built dismal apartment blocks like catacombs. The chaste spirits of Ram Mohan Roy, the Brahmo Samajis, and Tagore stripped bare and whirled in a dance of submission before the immigrant trader. The invasion.”

The agonies of men are thrown into dark corners and pass onto the next generation unhealed.
“Man, in his fleeting existence, takes upon himself millennial agonies”.
Vijayan satirises the age old notion regarding history that it tells about what is gone and has nothing to do with the preent.

Kunhunni says,
“You may not have heard, comrade. It is the story of 1948. Prehistory. Forget about it.”

His flak is also directed against the way the historians report incidents twisting facts and without proper analysis.

“As I write this, all around me the machine-guns chatter…….or wait, make it the bazookas boom”.

It is only a child’s game for them and they pay little attention to the fact that it is upon this that the coming generation has to base its existence.

Vijayan is dissatisfied with the balance sheet of the historical incidents which are nothing but the stripping of women and murder. He looks for a realization which is abiding and would clear the future ways. Kunhunni tells about the Mahabharata war but emphasizes the greatest document it brought about:

“I was wrong Alla Bux. After this Mahabharata, it was not only the memory of the stripping of Draupadi which survived. Something else remained’.
‘What was that?’ asked Allah Bux.
‘The Bhagavad Gita’
‘May this war also leave us a Gita’. Allah Bux smiled”
...............
By
Santhosh Kumar Kana

1 comment:

Rajendraprasada Reddy said...

good article. I like it. OVijayan is great person