“Loo” book review

loo by Nayan Raj Pandey

The few successful novels of these years are Pretkalpa, Urgen ko Ghoda, Karnali Blues. Among all the novels published this year Loo became the best one. There are some reasons for being best. The new novel Loo depicts the real, bitter, and terrible events with acute study, investigation and personal experiences. In the process of depiction or projection, the novelist’s labor of creativity has helped to heighten the novel up in the air.

Nayan had already felt the responsibility put by his readers after his publication of “Ullar” that got immense praise among the readers and fellow writers. This responsibility made him more serious and responsible enough for appearance of Loo. The novel is set in the terai, southern plain of Nepal near the Indian border. For people of hill, the landscape of Terai is strange and different. Terai does not have ups and downs as in the hills but it also has the ups and downs of many lives. There are no slopes and heights in Terai as in hill but there are also fate’s slopes and heights in the terais. The novel has also shown the life sketch of people of the terai and how the poor, untouchables and even Muslims of the border side people are subordinated and even tortured. Nayan Raj Pande has made the same torture and oppression as the main subject of focus of the novel.

The novelist has successfully portrayed the life of rural terai people, their language, customs and traditions, festivals; rituals are really knowledgeable and interesting. Speech, dress and food culture of terai is unique and strange knowledge for the hilly people. This novel acts as a mirror to the people of terai that shows their prevailing status and grievances. Hence this novel is knowledgeable for the people of terai also. The book also shows the pains and struggle of muslim minority in their life which is totally a virgin subject matter to read. This novel is made on the story of village that lies in the western terai border.

The village is Pattharpurwa and the characters are the poor people of the same village. The evil characters are the Indian police of border security, imperialists like Shambhuram and the nepali leaders who agree the violence upon people as mere spectators. The story’s main theme is about the nepali land grabbed by india and the violence upon the border side nepali people by the Indian sides along with social, economical and political interference. The lack of responsibility by the nepali leaders to facilitate or uplift the terrific poor life faced by the Muslim, untouchables and marginalized people is well highlighted in the novel through artistic expression.

Characters such as Illaiya, Nandu chidimaar, Hardeyi, Chameli, Radiolal, Kamala, Bajarangi, Brijlal, Mahesar, Jageshwor, Tute Pandit, Anwar, Rajiya, Salim, Nusarat, Karim, all have this story successful inspite of sad and poor life faced by those people. In order to take that successful story filled with pains, from your heart to your mind, you have to read the novel. Shambhuram who lives in Baharaich steers the leaders of Nepalgunj. The book narrates the painful stories suffered by the people who live in India- Nepal border.

This book is surely a milestone in nepali fiction as its main subject is real, prevalent and virgin. Pande has finely described the border violence that nepali people are suffering and still helpless due to their own government that is quiet spectator. The sufferings that marginalized people are internalizing are depicted through simple narratives making it easy for any reader.

Book review by Ken Subedi.
Loo book image from Himalayan Readers’ Book Club website