I wonder when will people understand the importance of literature and the freedom of authors to express what they feel like and do not go around banning books just because they are written with verve and hold a mirror to how we live.
It Rained All Night by Buddhadeva Bose is one such book that was banned in 1970, the original title being Raat Bhor Brishti. The police at that time did not even spare the manuscript and it was burnt to ashes. Later though the high court overruled the banned and set the book free.
I did not even realise the book was banned till I researched some on it. I am certain that it was banned on the ground of vulgarity and some such thing, however my question remains: So why can’t a wife look outside her marriage for physical fulfillment, if her husband fails to meet them? Just alone for this I guess the book would have been banned today as well, considering the dark ages we now live in.
The plot of the book is simple: Maloti, an attractive Middle-Class Bengali girl, marries the pendantic college lecturer, Noyonangshu – and too for love, only to discover him to be, “insecure, sexually timid” and confused.
Noyonangshu on the other hand is quite liberal with his ideas with reference to the nuclear family concept and wants his wife to enjoy the very best. He is aware of her trysts with his friend Jayanto who seems to match her desire and intensity.
The entire book juggles between the socio-political and the sexual awakening of its characters in a time when Calcutta and Bengal were shaping it self for greater things. I enjoyed reading the book and loved what the author had to say for instance where marriage is concerned and how it is not needed in an evolved society like ours (really?).
Marriage! What a complex, difficult, necessary and fantastically durable institution it is – yet so fragile. Two human beings will spend their entire lives together. Not five or 15 years, but their entire lives – what more atrocious a tyranny, what more inhuman an ideal could there be
Buddhadeva Bose’s writing is crisp and to the point. It is racy and not cluttered at all. In fact the reader is often looking forward to what is in store next. The style though is disjointed and has a series of monologues of the internal storms of each character and what they go through as situations come along.
It captures the conflict of values in a beautiful and unsentimentilizing manner. It does not through sentiments in your face and yet emotion is at the core of the book. At this point, I would like to say that the translation is superb by Clinton B. Seely. It does not take away the essence of the book like most translated works. All in all this book is unforgettable. In almost every way.
Book: ‘It Rained All Night’ by Buddhadeva Bose; Translator: Clinton B. Seely; Publisher: Penguin Books-India; Price: Rs 150