JOLMANUSH literally translates into water-people but not necessarily pirates. Pirate is usually a negative character where Jolmanush is something more. Chanakya Barai’s novel Jolmanush, published from Bhashachitra Prokashoni, is not only the story of pirates but also the story of the characters including their everyday life and love, betrayal, sadness and humanity. Young writer Chanakya Barai’s way of expression is short and simple.
Rivers are closely interrelated with lives and the nature of the Sunderbans. People living in the Sunderbans are also living with the rivers. Pirate activities have been initiated and performed through those rivers. They are using the rivers as their way-in and a way-out. The nature and the climate condition, the deep mangrove area with multiple tidal streams and channels, make the forest a place of natural beauty and a safe place for pirates.
The story of Jolmanush describes the decision of notorious pirate Rustom which is crucial for his life as well as the novel. He has to pay a lot for his decision of returning to a normal life. The making of a new gang by Tahir and Khalid, the death of Tahir’s son, kidnap and rape of Tahir’s wife, the consequential death of Rustom and Tahir are representing a scenario of the pirates’ society. The traditional life of pirates along with their pain, struggle, love and humanity and many more have been described in the novel with a simple language in a creative way. The inner nature of the Sunderbans’ pirates, their normal life behind the criminal life, the revenge and the way of revenge will make any reader think deeply.
Presenting pirates’ story, the writer Chanakya Barai has shown the readers an unknown side of the pirate society. From the novel, the readers could sense that a person can be a pirate by profession, but the pirate also has a personal life, some desire and simple wishes. It is a difficult task for a writer to work on pirates and their society because human minds are predominated by common perception of criminals and criminality. Chanakya Barai has taken the challenge and done his best. The writer portrays several characters through some simple descriptions and those descriptions will make the reader to imagine and rethink about the pirate society.
The symbolic presentation of the events, with examples, has been creatively done by the writer. The readers may have their own opinion for using those symbolic descriptions. The novel is illustrating the symbolic presentation in such way that the main image will not change if the readers avoid those symbols.
Portraying the characters is also an important feature of the Jolmanush. Focusing on not only a specific character requires the creative representation of each character and object. Here, the writer’s creativity to describe each character and object is noticeable. Either it is a successful attempt or not, is only being defined by the readers. But the way of portrayal, the personal connection of the writer with the Sunderbans, the uncertainty and tragedy, the betrayal and death make the novel dramatic. The undefined human nature, the humanity in the shape of cruelty will make the reader to think more about the pirates and their activities.
Crime has the letter ‘C’ for coming, but there is no ‘O’ for out. Past will be demolished after the entrance in any pirate family like Rustom. Nobody wants to know the reasons or causes, even the silent bleeding inside a pirate’s mind. The novel Jolmanush is about those pirates and their emotion. The unknown journey towards the prefixed destination is the ending massage of this novel.
Nazmul Islam Dawn is an independent writer.
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