Sunday, October 14, 2007

After reading "Ghanchakkar"

Sanjeev Uprety's Ghanchakkar deals with a tormented individual who seeks the remedy for his mental problems in the national happenings during the time starting from the Palace Massacre to the succesful spring revolution in 2006. The novel seems to be influenced by Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. Like Saleem Sinai in Rushdie's novel, the protagonist-cum-narrator of Ghanchakkar suffers from disability, albeit of mind, unlike the physical disability of Saleem. Whereas Saleem claims himself to be the twin of his country, India, the narrator of Ghanchakkar finds the malady of his mind related to the happenings of his country. A thinking individual, a lecturer in the English department, is certainly moved by the phenomena of his country but he takes his thinking too far and gets muddled into the intricacies of his of mind, hence the title of the novel. But we must never forget that the happenings of the country are also changing rapidly and it confuses the thinking individual. This interplay of inner and outer or the private and the public makes the novel national allegory a la Midnight's Children.
The use of magic realism is done brilliantly in the novel. A leader slowly metamorphoses into garlic which oppresses all. This seems symbolic of the autocratic King. Likewise, another leader gradually turns fat and fatter as he approaches the stage from where he is to deliver a speech. This reminds on the democratic leaders whose bellies increased in great propertions as they enjoyed the power in government.

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