One of the successful novels published in Nepali language, Loo depicts the life sketch of people of the Terai and touches the issues of their poverty, discrimination and tortures they face. The plot of the novel is set in the Terai, southern plain of Nepal near the Indian border. The novel by Nayan Raj Pandey is about the subalterns who are being excluded by the mainstream political force.
Set in Pattharpurawa village of Nepalgunj, the novel has its characters narrate their stories by themselves. Although these narrations help the reader understand the psyche of each of the characters, it seems unnatural that those rugged fellows of the village know so much about the political diplomacy and also, they speak in identical tones, which should have better been avoided in the book. The book published in 2012 tells the story of the miserable conditions of the people living in the Terai along the Nepal-India border. The area is not safe as people from the other side of the border can come here anytime and loot the properties, take cattle away and also rapes the women and girls living here.
In the story, a girl named Nusarat has been raped and the property of her parents has also been looted leaving them psychologically and mentally tortured. The innocent and naive people of the village are mislead by a political leader from beyond the border who has formed a group named Mukti Morcha with a fake name Swaraj claiming to be in support of the people as a plan to rule the village along with a gangster named Shambhuram. The innocent villagers like Bajarangi are easily convinced with his lies and starts working as his supporter for political candidacy. Though he is not an Indian, he moves swaying the Indian flag in Swaraj’s support until he comes to learn about the truth.
The story is followed by series of misunderstanding, oppression, threats of revealing the truth and also kidnapping and murders. The book has been beautifully expressed and although the book is categorized as fiction, it explains the reality of the lives of the people in the border areas. With all its strengths and some drawbacks, the Nepali novel Loo by Nayan Raj Pandey is a good read.
Book review by kumbha (originally posted at Boss Nepal)
Image source: Himalayan Readers’ Book Club website