Two Different Critiques

This post presents two pieces of critical reading of a single text, a short unpublished story. The first was written in the Fall of 2020 and the second in the Fall of 2022. The purpose of including these texts is (i) to show how different readers respond to a text differently, and (ii) to explicate the polysemic nature of a narrative representation.

“Deconstruction of Male-Female Binary”

– Gunaraj Nepal

Take a moment to think about your child who was born as a girl and is now grown with an unusual genital. What would you do? You would do all the usual things to keep her female, right? And you would keep all the unusual things about her secret. The story “The Prize for Unbecoming” deals with the rupture in the concept of gender defined by patriarchy as physical and cultural reality and takes physical union beyond the dichotomy of ‘male’ and ‘female’.

The story is set in a traditional, patriarchal society. The writer seems to be well-informed about the roles for men and women defined by patriarchy. It revolves around Rita turned into Ram Prasad later by her parents. As presented in the story, she was a girl child at her birth but grew with unusual features identical to those of a boy. It can be argued that society wants to see people with fixed gender, so Rita’s unusual growth into ‘boy-like’ was unacceptable. This led her parents to change her name. The change in the name gave Ram Prasad the privilege of being absent from the village until he passed the secondary exams and later. This was a voluntary exile for five years which he would not be able to do as Rita. And again it is “he” who wished to marry the girl he loved. The parents agreed to allow him to marry a girl though the people continued to talk about the biological relevance of their marriage.

Though the story is very brief, it has the power to evoke a lot of responses all at once. A colleague from my department said that this is a story about transgender’s thirst for love. Another colleague said it is all about the cursed family where only the male can bring happiness. And yet another colleague said that this is a surrealist story about genetic or gender change. Still another colleague added that this is deconstruction of males’ genitals that are no longer needed to make a female happy. I think that it is possible for any individual to have some of the markers for one sex and some of their markers for the other sex, thus deconstructing the binary opposition of male/female on which patriarchal constructions of sex and gender identity rely.

Two things kept me wondering about this story: first, its ending with no supporting clues or context; and second, its title which deconstructs itself. Any reader can notice it. Its abrupt ending offers a great deal of scope for the reader to think and reflect. The story shows that Ram Prasad remained in exile for five years, which raises a lot of questions in the reader’s mind.  Where did he go? What did he do? Did he undergo any surgery to make himself “smart to manage” life with his girlfriend Laxmi? Secondly, it is not clear to me why the writer has this title because it tends to support the notion of “becoming”, not ‘unbecoming’ as the title stands. I see a move to the ‘becoming of a male’, who goes to live in exile, falls in love, and marries a girl of his choice. So, it is “becoming” because traditional gender constitutions have been broken to allow Ram Prasad to live smartly with his wife, in a society that does nothing but live in wonder looking for the biological relevance of such a relationship.

The story begins with Rita’s unusual growth as a girl and ends with her role as Ram Prasad who knows how to smartly live with the bride. It has a stylish end: “It’s all about being smart. It’s about being smart to manage,” which keeps the reader in speculation. This leads critics to interpret the story in multiple ways: a story about transgender’s thirst for love, about the cursed family seeking happiness, about genetic or gender change, and about deconstruction of males’ genitals. However, I see it as a deconstruction of the binary opposition of male/ female on which patriarchal constructions of sex and gender identity rely.

[Mr. Nepal is pursuing MPhil at KUSOED]

“Gender Transitioning Should No Longer Be a Taboo”

– Bhaskar Subba

Gender transitioning, an idea originated in the West and now a fundamental right, is a current popular buzz phrase. A Canadian actor Ellen Page, who had a whirlwind Hollywood ride from ‘her’ – excuse my using a feminine pronoun – breakout role in Juno, rather unexpectedly made the headlines when she shared a post on Instagram saying that she was a transgender. Many were struck dumb by this sudden announcement while there were some who simply stood by her, feeling proud. Now, she goes by the name Elliot Page. At least in terms of their gender discovery, I see no difference between Ellen and Rita. Assumed to be a girl child by her parents, Rita, all of a sudden, metamorphoses into a boy, following her unusual genital growth. GENITAL GROWTH, which, if I might say so, is A NON-EXISTENT MEDICAL CONDITION. It is hard to believe, but I am taking this medical condition with a grain of salt.

Actually, the story of Rita is common, not unusual in any sense. She was born as a girl, but unlike Ellen, who needed much courage and time to reveal her sexual identity, dismantles her false sexual identity at an early age after an unusual genital growth. However, it was not easy for her parents to accept the fact that their girl was actually a boy.

As time goes by, some weird things start to happen to Rita’s body: a mustache and a beard grow, her voice breaks up and a menstrual cycle stops. When she is in sixth grade, she makes her first strong demand to her parents, asking them to either take her out of the school that she was going to or send her to a distant school. However, in the story nothing has been mentioned as to why she makes this demand. Perhaps, it could be due to her feelings of embarrassment over her physical change that was taking place. Whatever the reason is, her parents agree to fulfill her wish. The new school gives her a new identity: Rita becomes Ram Prasad, a resounding triumph for him, if you will.

Another turning point comes into Ram’s life when he finds his soulmate, Laxmi. To get married to her was not an easy affair for him, a daunting task, I would rather say. However, with his parents’ approval, he ties the knot with her. But what follows after his marriage is a self-imposed banishment. For some reasons, the couple had to stay away from their home. After five years of staying away from his home, Ram along with his wife Laxmi returns to his village, strong and impervious. His relationship with his wife, one that deviates from the conventional social norms, begins to circulate and a climate of malicious gossip takes root. But such gossip miserably fails to bother them, being completely unsusceptible. Both put up a strong fight against those who spite and hate them and eventually emerge victorious.

Would Rita be able to assert her sexual identity if she was in a completely different situation? According to the story, Rita’s parents have three children including her. She is the only child who is born healthy while her two sibling brothers are deaf and dumb. By an odd quirk of fate, her siblings being unable to hear and speak turns out to be a blessing in disguise. One might wonder how it is so. Imagine if all three children were healthy, would Rita be treated any differently by her parents? That would not have, you might disagree with me, given Rita an advantage that she had. With two healthy boy children, her parents’ behaviour towards her would certainly have been different, making her feel unacceptable. She would have suffered total neglect. It is plain that her parents listen to her and readily honour her wishes because she, although being out of ordinary, is better than her two sibling brothers because she is in full possession of her faculties. That, I think, is the reason why in spite of all odds she is able to be herself.

While the story may possess a simple plot, its narrative lacks a multitude of crucial components. One of them is that we are not told where and when the story takes place. As we know that in any story a setting is extremely important as it provides the reader with context on the time, place, and environment that the story takes place in. Without a context a meaningful interpretation is not possible so that is why I am uncomfortably compelled to say how I actually feel about the story is purely based on assumption. Considering the two names of the antagonist − Rita and Ram Prasad – the story might well have taken place either in countries like Nepal or Bharat. If so, then it is necessary to look at historical context of gender issues, which include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender.

In the beginning, you might have noticed that I have described the idea of gender transitioning as Western origin. Upon witnessing the Western world’s exhortation for individuals, especially those residing in countries like Nepal and Bharat, to combat gender discrimination, I am struck with the realization that both the residents of these nations, who may have unwittingly neglected their rich cultural heritage, and the Western proponents of gender equality are in need of enlightenment and education. Homosexuality and transgenderism had been completely acceptable for thousands of years in ancient Bharat Barsha until the invasion of Bharat by the Mughals and the Britishers. For example, Shikhandi, who was born as a daughter to Drupada, the king of Southern Panchala, became a biological male after agreeing to a sex exchange with a Yaksha. Similarly, had the act of transitioning one’s gender been considered a social taboo, Arjun, who underwent a transformation from male to female following the curse imposed by Urvashi, may have been hesitant to pursue such a course of action, fearing ostracization or being labelled as deviant. Numerous additional instances serve to exemplify the fact that Sanathan Dharma instructs its followers to display reverence towards all, regardless of their individual sexual orientations.

To the best of my knowledge, any matters pertaining to gender that may be deemed problematic are a direct result of the influence exerted by Abrahamic religions. The holy scripture Bible openly denounces homosexuality, and if you read Leviticus 20:13, which says “If a man lies with a male as with women, both of them have committed an abomination,” then it will not take long for you to realize where these problems have come from. Likewise, in the Quran the prophet lord rebukes the people of Sodom and Gomorrah saying, “Do you commit abomination such as no people in creation ever committed before? You practice your lusts in preference to women, you are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.” Most conservative followers of Abrahamic religions still have complete contempt for those people who do not fit into a biological definition of male and female. Some are very discreet – they simply do not want to run into trouble − while others are openly against LGBTQ. For example, the richest state in the world, Qatar, which held the greatest event FIFA World Cup 2022, was in the headlines for its stance on homosexuality. According to their Sharia Law, homosexuality is haram.

I am not saying that a person like Rita is not subject to discrimination and hatred in countries like Nepal and Bharat, where Sanathan Dharma is still widely practiced. What I am trying to get across is that we are the ones who are asked to see beyond sexuality, color of skin and caste. Our Sahastras proclaim Aham Brahmasmi, which literally means I am Brahman. The sole purpose of life is to realize that we are not just a heap of flesh and bones, but soul, according to Sanathan Dharma.

The unfavorable perception that is held regarding sexuality is not inherently ours, but rather a construct that has been imposed upon us. Abiding by the principle of “Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma,” which espouses the belief that everything in existence is a manifestation of the divine, we strive to recognize the presence of God within all beings, thereby rendering all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, inherently worthy of acceptance. As a result of this outlook, it becomes apparent that Rita’s gender transition should not to be viewed as a noteworthy topic of discussion, particularly by those who belong to Bharata Barsha, the light of the world.

[Mr. Subba is pursuing Master’s studies at KUSOED.]


Reading a Biography of World’s Most Famous Equation

Deepak Subedi

When we started to conduct a regular series of popular lectures on Einstein’s life and achievement to mark the World Year of Physics 2005 in connection with Einstein Centenary Year, I was looking for a book which consisted of historical description of Einstein’s monumental work in Physics. To my surprise, I found a book entitled A Biography of World’s Most Famous Equation written by David Bodanis. After going through the book, I was encouraged to write a review on its praise.  
The book presents a very good description of the development of basic conservation laws in Physics. The author has skillfully presented the physical theories in extremely simple and interesting way so that readers without the background of Physics and Mathematics can also grasp the theme. The book has been successful to become popular among the popular science books. The Times magazine wrote about the book: “with skill and plenty of colorful anecdotes Bodanis traces the intellectual ancestry of E=mc2 “. 
The book is divided into five parts. In the first part, the author introduces the birth of the equation. It gives glimpses of the childhood of the equation which surrounds around 1905 when the three revolutionary papers by Einstein were published. One of these papers was on special theory of relativity which consisted of the ever popular equation. 
The second part of the book discusses the development of the law of conservation of energy and highlights the contribution of Michael Faraday in this work. It says that Faraday discovered his law of Electromagnetic induction showing a link between electric and magnetic fields which once seemed totally different. An extraordinary vision of energy concept was created by Faraday’s work. It helped to formulate the law of the conservation of energy. The scientific community was more confident that every other form of energy could similarly be shown deeply inter-connected.
In the third part of the book, the author presents a detailed history of the development of the law of conservation of mass.  For a long time the concept of mass had been like the concept of energy before Faraday. With his meticulous experiments, Lavoisier showed that matter could convert from one form to another, yet it will not burst in and out of existence. This law of conservation of mass was as much important as Faraday’s work on energy. The substances that fill our universe can be burnt, squeezed or hammered to bits but they won’t disappear. This finding worked as building block for a more general law of conservation which was put forward by Einstein at the beginning of 20th Century.  Einstein later proved in an extraordinary way that there was a link between these two domains. So, a more general law of conservation of mass and energy taken together was formulated. The most remarkable aspect of the discovery was to show that mass and energy are equivalent. It unleashed a secret that tremendous amount of energy can be released from a very small amount of matter.
The next part of the book covers period around the second world war when the first experimental results of nuclear fission of heavy elements were reported. In fact these were the experimental evidences to validate the equation. 
In the final part of the book, the author switches away from war and describes several areas where the equation has been applied. This period has also been termed as the adulthood of the equation.
I liked this book very much. So far as I know there is also a documentary available based on this book. I recommend this book to anyone who would love to peer into the history of the amazing world of physics.
Works consulted
F. Macdonald, Albert Einstein, Orient Longman Limited, Mumbai, 1994.
D. Bodanis, A Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation, Pan Books,

महाकाव्य सम्बन्धी पाश्‍चात्य परिभाषा

– रामचन्द्र पौडेल

पश्चिममा काव्यलाई बुझाउन पोएम (poem), पोएट्री (poetry), भर्सेज (verses), पोयसी (poesy) शब्दहरू प्रचलित रहेका छन्। परम्परागत मान्यता अनुसार महकाव्य न्याराटिभ (narrative) न्‍ने बुझिन्छ। यसरी हेर्दा न्याराटिभ (narrative) को अर्थ कथात्मक हुन्छ । खास गरी महाकाव्यलाई बुझाउन लङ्गर न्याराटिभ भर्सेज (longer narrative verses) शब्दको प्रयोग गरेको पाइन्छ। पाश्चात्य साहित्यको फाँटमा दीर्घतर कवितालाई दीर्घतर आख्यानात्मक कवितालाई महाकाव्य भनिन्छ।

यसै सन्दर्भमा प्रा. कृष्ण गौतमले पाश्‍चात्य महाकाव्य भत्रे ग्रन्थमा महाकाव्य सिद्धान्त र परिषाका  बारेमा लामो चर्चा गरेका छन्। त्यसलाई यहाँ उद्धृत् गर्नु उपयुक्त हुन जान्छ।

महाकाव्यको उत्पत्ति वीरहरूका कृत्यको अभिनन्दनबाट भएको हो। पश्मिमा त्रासदीको उत्पत्ति धार्मिक विधानबाट भएको मानिन्छ। अतीतमा केही महाकाव्य देवताको वंशसित पनि सम्बन्ध राख्छन् तापनि धेरैजसो प्रसिद्ध महाकाव्य अतिमानवीय वीरको गौरवगानकै निम्ति लेखिएका छन्। महाकाव्य देवता, मानव र दानवको समष्टिमा नै आफ्नो आफ्नै भाषामा महाकाव्य पाउन थाले तब ती महाकाव्यका रूप र विषयमा केही परिवर्तन त आयो किन्तु तिनीहरू ग्रीकोरोमन छायाबाट अलग हुन सकेका थिएनन्। पश्चिमी महाकाव्यको विकास ग्रीक र रोमन सँस्कृतिकै छायामा भएको हो।

नेपालीमा भनिदैँ आएको महाकाव्यलाई पश्‍चिममा एपिक (epic) भनिन्छ, जसको अर्थ ग्रीकमा बोली, शब्द, गीत (स्पीच, बर्ड, ङ्‍ग) आदि हुन्छ। यो भव्य शैलीमा गरिमामय विषय र गम्भीर पात्रहरू राखेर उदात्त प्रयोजनको सिद्धिका निम्ति तयार गरिने लामो वर्णनात्मक कविता हो। तलका परिभाषाबाट यो कुरा अझ छर्लङ्ग हुन्छ:
१.    भव्य र सौजन्यपूर्ण शैलीमा एक वा अनेक कथात्मक नायकका ठूला कामको अभिनन्दन गर्ने लामो वर्णनात्मक कविता महाकाव्य हो (क्रिस बाल्डिक, दि कन्साइज अक्सफोर्ड डिक्सनरी अफ लिटरेरी टर्मस, पृ.७०)। यसरी महाकाव्यलाई नायकले गरेका महान् कार्यको अभिनन्दन गर्ने कार्यको रूपमा लिइएको पाइन्छ ।

२.    उच्च शैलीमा अतिमानवीय पात्रहरू राखेर लेखिने लामो वर्णनात्मक कविता महाकाव्य हो (मार्टिन ग्रे, ए डिक्सनरी अफ लिटरेरी टर्मस, पृ.१०३)। यो परिभाषाबाट के बुझ्न सकिन्छ भने महाकाव्यमा अतिमानवीय पात्रको चयन गरिन्छ भने त्यो वर्णनात्मक शैलीमा लेखिन्छ ।

३.    गरिमा र महत्वले युक्त खास गरी युद्ध जस्तो विषको निरुपण गर्ने लामो वर्णनात्मक कविता महाकाव्य हो (बाबरा, फ्रम भर्जिल टु मिल्टन, पृ.१)पश्‍चिममा कविताको व्यक्तिपरक रूपलाई गेयवर्गमा र वस्तुपरक रूपलाई प्रबन्ध, कथात्मक वा वर्णनात्मक वर्गमा राख्ने चलन छ । यस वर्गको कविता कतैकतै लामो कविता भत्रे नामले पनि अहित हुन्छ । प्रबन्धात्मक कृति त्यो हो जसमा कुनै कथा हुन्छ र त्यसको वर्णन गरिएको हुन्छ । लामो  कविता कथात्मक हुन र नहुन पनि सक्छ । जसमा कथा छैन त्यसको बनोट कोलाजको रूमा हुन सक्छ । प्रबन्धकाव्यका वीर कविता (हिरोइक पोइट्री), लोकगाथा (ब्यालेड) रोमांश तथा अन्य भेदहरू हुन्छन् ।

लोकगाथा: वीर कविता वा महाकाव्य जटिल हुन्छ, लोकगाथा अपेक्षाकृत सरल हुन्छ । आर जे रीजको भनाइ छ कि यी शान्त गाउँमा जन्मेका दुई दिदीबहिनी जस्तै छन् तर एउटी (लोकगाथा) आफ्नो प्राकृतिक सरलताको सौन्दर्य राखेर गाउँमै बसेकी छ, अर्की (महाकाव्य) खर्चिला परिधानका निम्ति चलाखी र पैसा खोज्दै शहर पसेकी छ भने लोकगाथा वर्णनात्मक कविता हो । प्रेम, साहस तथा करुणाका, बोक्सी जादू, अन्धविश्वास तथा भूत आदिका विषय यसमा आउँछन् । बेलायतमा रविन हूडका ब्यालेडहरू खूब परिचित छन् । राजा आर्थर झैँ जनप्रिय यिनी शायद ऐतिहासिक नै थिए र बाह्रौँ शताब्दीमा बाँचेका थिए। यिनको सम्बन्धका ब्यालेडहरू कम त्रासद र ज्यादा हास्यप्रद छन् । जसरी मौखिक महाकाव्यबाट साहित्यिक महाकाव्यको विकास हुन्छ त्यसै गरी मौखिक ब्यालेडबाट साहित्यिक ब्यालेड विकसित हुन्छ । नेपालमा पश्चिमतिर घमारी, ढुस्को, भैनी, फाग चैत आदि लोकगाथा प्रचलित छन् ।

रोमांस भन्‍नाले गद्य वा पद्यमा लिखित मध्यकालीन आख्यानको बोध हुन्छ । रोमांसको उत्पत्ति फ्रान्समा बाह्रौँ शताब्दीमा भयो। पद्यको स्थान क्रमशः गद्यले लिंदै गयो । वीर महाकाव्य (हिरोइक एपिक) युद्धमा केन्द्रित हुन्छ तर रोमांसमा दरबारिया बहादुरीको चित्रण हुन्छ । शूर (नाइट) हरूका खोज, खेल, जादू, प्रतिस्पर्धा, राक्षस, अजिंगर, बाउन्‍ने, राम्री युवती आदिसित गाँसिएका विषय यसमा आउँछन्। बेलायती आर्थरसम्बन्धी, फ्रेन्च शार्लिमनरोलाँसम्बन्धी तथा क्लासिक अलेग्जेण्डरहरूसम्बन्धी सामग्रीको उपयोग रोमांसमा हुन्छ । बाह्रौँ शताब्दीका फ्रेन्च कवि क्रेशन डि ट्रोयेस रोमांस कृतिहरू प्रभावकारी छन् । आनुप्रासिक पद्यमा लिखित चौधौँ शताब्दीको‘‘सर गवेन एण्ड दि ग्रीन नाइट’’ र गद्यमा लिखित सिडनीको ‘‘आर्केडिया’’ टमस मेलोरीको ‘‘मर्ट डि आर्थर’’ रोमांस हुन् । इटालियन अरियोस्टोको ‘‘ओल्र्याण्डो फ्यूरियोसो’’ स्पेन्सरको ‘‘फ्रेयरी क्वीन’’ रोमांश हुन् र टेनिसनको ‘‘आइडिल्स अफ दि किंग’’ शास्त्रीयता र रोमांशको मिस्कट हो । सर्भेण्टिसद्वारा लिखित उपहास रोमांस (मक रोमांस) ‘‘डन क्विक्सट’’ १६०५) आएपछि यसले पुरानो ढंगको दरबारी रोमांसलाई कमजोर पा¥यो । पछिका गद्यरोमांस याथार्थिक, सामाजिक निरिक्षणमाभन्दा रूपक र मनोवैज्ञानिक खोजमा जोड दिन्छन् । आजका वैज्ञानिक आख्यान सामान्यत:  रोमांस नै हुन्।  वर्णनात्मक वा वस्तुपरक कविताका अन्य रूप पनि हुन सक्छन् जसमा कुनै कथाको वर्णन हुन्छ । जियोफ्री चसर (१३४०१४००) को क्याण्टबरी टेल्स वर्णनात्मक कविताको आकार नै हो । चसरमा हास्य, यथार्थ, दार्शनिक सूक्ष्मता र कविताको अपूर्व मेल  छ । वस्तुपरक कविताको अर्को रूप नाटकीय कविता पनि हो,जस्तो टेनिसनको ‘‘युलिसिस’’१८४२) इलियटको ‘‘दि लभ संग अफ जे अल्फ्रेड’’ आदि ।

वीर कविता भन्नाले यहाँ त्यस्ता काव्यकृतिको बोध हुन्छ, जो लामा र गम्भीर हुनाले छोटा वीर कविताभन्दा फरक छन् र महाकाव्यको श्रेणीमा पर्छन् । ‘‘इलियड’’, ‘‘बेउल्फ’’, ‘‘सँग अफ रोलाँ’’ यसै प्रकारका काव्य हुन् । यस्ता सादा, मौखिक, लोकप्रचलित विकसनशील वीर कविता वा महाकाव्यको युगपश्चात् लिखित, साहित्यिक वा कलातक महाकाव्यहरू आए, जुनकिसिमका कृति अहिलेसम्म निर्मित हुँदै छन् ।  महाकाव्यको शुरुवात वीर भावनामा भयो । यसैले आरमभका मौखिक महाकाव्यहरू वीर कविताको नामले पनि अभिहित हुन्छन् । वीर भावना गौण भएका, प्रकारान्तरित भएका वा हुँदै नभएका लामा, वर्णनात्मक कविता पनि महाकाव्यको संज्ञा भिरेर देखापर्दै आएका छन् । वस्तुत यस विधाको केन्द्र वीरभाव हो र अन्य भाव यसका सहायक हुन् ।

कविताको एक वृहत् भेदको रूपमा महाकाव्यको छुट्टै अस्तित्व छ तापनि लोकगाथामा र रोमांस तथा अन्य किसिमका विधाहरूसँग पनि यसको कतै टाढा र कतै नजिकको सम्बन्ध छ । गीतिजस्तो नितान्त वैयत्तिक विधासित गेय स्तरमा यसको सुसम्बन्ध छ। मौखिक महाकाव्यका कविताहरू गाउनका लागि र सुत्रका लागि सिर्जित हुन्थे न कि लेखनका लागि र पढ्नका लागि । कतिपय रोमांसकृतिहरू महाकाव्यकै अभियानले भुषित छन्, जस्तो वायर्डो, अरियोष्टोका ठूला कविता ।  पद्यसित मात्र त के, गद्यसित पनि यसको निकटता छ । निकटतामात्र छैन कि केही इतिहासविषयक कृति र औपन्यसिक कृतिहरू महाकाव्यको गरिमा राख्छन् ।

(महाकाव्य सम्वन्धी पूर्वीय परिभाषा अघिल्लो अङ्‍कमा प्रकाशित छ।)

(अन्त्यारम्भ महाकाव्यको कृतिपरक अध्ययन शीर्षकको शोधपत्रको अंश)

Hypocrisy for Survival: Redefining Terrorism in SHALIMAR THE CLOWN

– Khagendra Acharya

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Published in 2005, Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie is made up of two narratives: one a love story in a beautiful setting, the other an assassination of the American ambassador in brutal manner. The first story depicts Kashmir as a paradise with, multi-cultural, multi-faith tolerance and harmony. Boonyi Kaul, who is the beloved in the story, is a dancer and the daughter of a Hindu pandit. Shalimar the clown, who is the lover in the story, is a performer and tightrope walker whose father is the Muslim headman. The space they live is Kashmir and there is no antagonism. Enjoying the condition of co-existence, the lovers get married and also receive the approval of society.
Boonyi-Shalimar love story is a node through which another story opens onto a wider domain of importance –an act of ‘terrorism’. The second story, which culminates into an assassination of the ambassador, starts with the coming of Maximilian Ophuls, an American Ambassador to Kashmir. Getting access to Max as his driver, he finds a comfortable space to accomplish his intention i.e. to slaughter the ambassador very brutally. In this sense, the murder story entails alternative definition of terrorism, which in turn provides significant domain for analysis due to two important reasons. Firstly, it supplies the content that is against the spirit of his earlier novel Satanic Verses (1988) and in tune with pro-Islam statements that he made later; and secondly, his statements post to the publication of Shalimar the Clown again reiterate the statements in the Satanic Verses. Taking into the entire history of Salman Rushdie’s definition and redefinition of the term terrorism, I would argue that Rushdie’s redefinition of terrorism in Shalimar the Clown is hypocrisy for survival.
No doubt, whether the novel is studied by foregrounding its setting or the storyline, we find the prime concern of critics to be territoriality. Taking into account a major aspect in Rushdie’s life i.e. the (hi)story behind Fatwa imposition by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 over him. In Satanic Verses, Rushdie has presented what Khomeini called “a calculated move aimed at rooting out religion and religiousness, and above all, Islam and its clergy”. As the novel was labeled an ‘apostasy’, he was condemned to death by Khomeini. Consequently, a $2.5 million bounty was put on his head, forcing Rushdie to go into hiding. In his attempt to escape from the decree, Rushdie announced and published apologies as a strategy for survival. In one of his announcement to apologize, Rushdie expressed regret as the publication hurt sincere followers of Islam.
Any of his apologies, however, were of no use; he had no any option to go hiding. One planned attack on Rushdie failed when the would-be bomber, Mustafa Mahmoud, blew himself up along with two floors of a central London hotel. Similarly, Hitoshi Igarashi, the Japanese translator of the book, was stabbed to death in July 1991, and many others were made targets of attack. Italian language translator, Ettore Capriolo and William Nygaard, the publisher in Norway, were among others who survived an attempted assassination. It was good that Rushdie could survive unharmed to hear Iranian government’s statement about the lifting of fatwa in September 1998. But, some fundamentalist Muslim groups declared that a fatwa cannot be lifted.
The corollary of Fatwa and Rushdie’s apology to lift it in 1989/90 reappears in 2005 and reveals an interesting fact behind the publication of Shalimar the Clown. Khomeini’s  fatwa against Rushdie was reaffirmed by Iran’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in early 2005 in his message that read the day will come when they will punish the apostate Rushdie for his scandalous acts and insults against the Koran and the Prophet. With it followed the publication of Shalimar the Clown. The novel, like his essay “In Good Faith” does not attack Islam in the spirit of Satanic Verses: there is neither the criticism of recent Muslim political figures such as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei nor the questioning to the authority of the very root of Islam: Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad. The only compelling instance in the novel that describes ‘fundamentally Islam’ a characteristic is ‘jihadi training camps’. But here too, he is not straightforward as before.
Another instance in which Shalimar assassinates Max (viewed by many of the westerners as terrorist attack) is shown to be the case of personal revenge. The intention here is clear: by explicitly castigating western historical specificity about terrorism, he implicitly makes plea again to lift Fatwa. But the novel fails to function as such. In 2007, Fatwa was again reaffirmed. Leading Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Ahmad Khatami declared that the revolutionary fatwa issued by Imam Khomeini remains valid and cannot be modified. What followed Khatamis statement was Rushdies reaction in an interview with Pamela Connolly. Rresponding to her question, why he adhered to Islam and spoke in favor of the religion, he answered that it was deranged thinking.
Rushdie’s answer is clearly non-pro-Islam. His response shows that he lives in between the guilt for the past (criticizing Islam) and faith in the statements manifested in Satanic Verses. Shalimar the clown dramatizes the guilt in the form of resistance to western discourse of terrorism as a consequence of Islamic fundamentalism. His faith, which is blasphemous for Islam, remains palimpsest here. By foregrounding his guilt, he attempts to appear true to Islam among the Muslim and thus make an apology to lift Fatwa. But once he knows that there is no such possibility, his anti-Islam mind resurfaces and does not hesitate to claim that he adhered Islam as strategy to escape ‘the pressure’. Hence, his redefinition of terrorism in the novel at the backdrop of the whole story from Khomeini’s Fatwa to his response to why he adhered to Islam cannot be dissociated. The close nexus compels any reader to conclude that Rushdie’s anti-western definition of terrorism in Shalimar the Clown is another hypocritical effort to survive from the Fatwa reaffirmed over him.     

महाकाव्य सम्बन्धी पूर्वीय परिभाषा

रामचन्द्र पौडेल
कविता विधामा सान्यत: स्वीकारिने पाँच उत्तरोत्तर विस्तारित श्रेणीहरूमध्येका वृहत् तथा वृहत्तर, बृहत्तम दुबै रूपको संज्ञा होमहाकाव्य। प्राकृत परम्परामा पाँच सन्धिभन्दा केही कम (चार) सन्धि लिने काव्य पनि अझै देखा पर्छ भने संस्कृतपरम्परामा सकलकथा का सामान्य महाकाव्य आर्ष महाकाव्य पनि छन् । आनन्दवद्र्धनले प्रबन्धकाव्यमा कथावस्तुको सृदृढ योजना र रसप्रतिपादन हुनुपर्छ भनेका छन् । कथावस्तुअन्तर्गत नाटककाव्य सन्धि र सन्ध्यङ्गको प्रयोग यसमा पनि अनुकूल अलङ्कारहरूको प्रयोग हुनुपर्छ भन्ने उनको विचार पाइन्छ । वास्तवमा एउटा कथात्मक गठन र  गुम्फन हुन्छ। यसरी कथात्मक ढाँचामा जीवन र जगत्को विशद् पक्षको काव्यात्मक प्रस्तुति हुन्छ। प्रवन्धकाव्यलाई दुई रूपमा विभाजन गर्न सकिन्छ (१) महकाव्य (२) खण्डकाव्य। यहाँ खण्डकाव्यभन्दा महाकाव्यसम्बन्धी सन्दर्भ अपेक्षित भएकाले त्यसमै केन्द्रित हुनु उपयुक्त हुन्छ।
महाकाव्यसम्बन्धी पूर्वीय मान्यताहरूको विषयमा खोजमेल गर्ने हो भने यस सम्बन्धमा सर्वप्रथम कलम चलाउने पूर्वीय आचार्य भामह (छैटौं शताब्दी), रुद्रट (सातौँ शताब्दी), दण्डी (आठौँ शताब्दी), हेमचन्द्र (बाह्रौँ शताब्दी) र विश्वनाथ (चौधौ शताब्दी) ले महाकाव्यको स्वरूप रपरिभाषा एवं सम्बन्धबारे चर्चा गरेको देखिन्छ, यसमा भामह र दण्डीको विचार उल्लेख्य छ । जसलाई संक्षेपमा यहाँ प्रस्तुत गरिन्छ। अचार्य भामहले महाकाव्यमा जीवनका विविध रूप र कार्यहरूका वर्णन भएको लामो कथानक हुनुपर्छ भनेका छन् । महान्कार्यको प्रस्तुति गर्ने महान् चरित्र भएको व्यक्ति यसका नायक हुनुपर्छ । यसमा नाटकका पञ्चसन्धिहरू आवश्यक हुन्छन् र सर्गहरू आबद्धभएको हुनुपर्छ । महाकाव्यको भाषाशैली शिष्ट, विशिष्ट पदविन्यास र अलङ्कारयोजनाले आबद्ध हुनुपर्छ र यो सुखान्त हुनुपर्छ भनेका छन् । नायकको अभ्युदय र विजयको वर्णन पनि हुन आवश्यक छ । दूतसन्देश, यात्रावर्णन, युद्धआदेशको वर्णन हुनुपर्छ भन्ने भामहको कथन छ । नायकको लागि महान् व्यक्तिको चरित्र र महान् कार्यको प्रस्तुति हुनु आवश्यक छ । (भामह, काव्यालङ्कार, : १९२१)
भामहपछि आचार्य रुद्रटले पनि काव्यालङ्कार (रुद्रालङ्कार) नामक ग्रन्थमा महाकाव्य सम्बन्धी आफ्ना चिन्तन अघि सारेको देखिन्छ। उनले महाकाव्यका सन्दर्भमा यस्ता धारणा व्यक्त गरेका छन्महाकाव्यमा उत्पाद्यअनुत्पाद्य दुवै लामा पद्यबद्ध हुनुपर्छ र यसमा प्रसङ्गअनुसार अवान्तर कथा अर्थात् पुराण र कथा, आख्यायिका वा तत्व हुनु पर्दछ । कथा सर्गबद्ध नाटकीयतत्व युक्त हुनु पर्दछ यसमा जीवनको समग्रताको चित्रण कुनै घटनाप्रधान युद्ध वा साहसिक कार्य आदिको आश्रयले अलङ्कृत वर्णन, प्रकृतिचित्रण, विभित्र नगर, देश, भुवन, स्वर्ग, नदीको वर्णनविधान हुनु पर्दछ। महाकाकाव्यका नायक द्विजकुलोत्पत्र, सर्वगुणसम्पत्र, महान वीर, विजिगीषु, शक्तिमान्, नीतिज्ञ र कुशल राजा हुनु पर्छ । यसमा प्रतिनायक र त्यसको कुलको पनि वर्णन हुन्छ। कथानक कल्पित वा अकल्पित जुनसुकै भए पनि महान् हुन्छ। यस कथानकभित्र अवान्तर कथाहरू पनि समाविष्ट हुन सक्छन् । यसले युगजीवनका विविध पक्षको चित्रण गर्दछ। नायक सर्वगुण सम्पन्‍न, द्विज कुलोत्पन्न, शक्तिमान,नीतिज्ञ र कुशल राजा हुनुपर्छ। महाकाव्यमा प्रतिनायक र त्यसका कुलको पनि वर्णन हुन्छ। अन्तमा नायकको विजय देखाइन्छ, प्रतिनायकको हैन। महाकाव्यमा कुनै महत् उद्देश्य,चतुर्वर्ग फलप्राप्तिका साथमा सबै रस पनि हुनु पर्छ र रसात्मकता, एकोद्देश्यता अभित्र रूपम प्राप्ति भएको हुनु पर्दछ । महाकाव्यमा अलौकिक र अतिप्राकृतिक तत्व पनि हुन्छन् तर मानिसबाट गरिएको असम्भव अस्वाभाविक घटना हुनु हुँदैन (रुद्रट, २०३२ : ५७)। रुद्रटले नायक र कथा तथा उपकथाका सम्बन्धमा नयाँ कुरा उल्लेख गरेको देखिन्छ।
रुद्रटपछि आचार्य दण्डीको विवेचनामा विस्तृतता पाइन्छ। दण्डीले महाकाव्यमा कथावस्तु, नायक, रस, चतुर्वर्गमा एउटाको  प्राप्‍ति प्राकृतिक वर्णन, अलङ्कारको प्रयोग, छन्द योजना र सर्गबद्धता हुनुपर्छ भनेका छन्। कथावस्तुको आधारको रूपमा ऐतिहासिक सदाश्रित हुनुपर्छ भन्ने दण्डीको भनाइ छ। गठनको सन्दर्भमा नाटकीय सन्धिले युक्त भएको श्रृङ्खलाबद्ध कथावस्तुको पक्षमा उनले आफ्नो  विचार व्यक्त गरेका छन्। महाकाव्यको प्रारम्भ मङ्गलाचरणअन्तर्गत आशीर्वादात्मक, नमस्कारात्मक र वस्तुनिर्देशात्मक हुनुपर्छ भन्ने दण्डीको कथन पाइन्छ।  सर्गबद्धताको क्रममा सर्ग ज्यादै ठूलो हुनु हुँदैन भन्ने पनि उनको विचार छ। उदात्त गुणले युक्त नायकको कल्पना पनि दण्डीले गरेका छन्। महाकाव्यमा रसको लागि उनले विप्रलम्भ श्रृङ्गारलाई महत्व दिएका छन्। महाकाव्यको उद्देश्यमा धर्म, अर्थ, काम र मोक्षमध्ये एउटाको प्रतिपादन हुनुपर्छ भन्ने दण्डीको कथन छ। त्यस्तै महाकाव्यमा छन्दप्रयोग र सर्गान्तमा छन्दपरिवर्तनको आवश्यकतामा दण्डीले जोड दिएका छन्। उनको कथनानुसार  प्रकृतिवर्णनअन्तर्गत विभिन्न ऋतु, पर्वत, नगर, समुद्र, बगैँचा, जलविहार, उत्सव, सूर्योदय आदिको वर्णन छ।(दण्डी, काव्यदर्श, : १६२१)
नवौं शताब्दीका ध्वन्यालोक ग्रन्थ प्रस्तुत गर्ने आनन्दवर्धन र दसौं शताब्दीमा त्यसै ग्रन्थको टीका लेख्ने अभिनव गुप्तले पद्यकाव्यका प्रभेद देखाएका छन्। तीमध्ये नवौं प्रभेद सकलकथामा ललित महाकाव्यका र दसौं प्रभेद सर्गबन्धमा आर्ष महाकाव्यका लक्षको निर्देश सूत्रात्मक रूपमा गरेको छनक मिल्छ।  यी दुबै विद्वान्हरूले महकाकव्यका प्रयोगगत रूढीबाट अभिप्रेरित थप लक्षणहरू भने बताएनन्। यसो भए पनि तिनले ध्वनिवादको स्थापना गर्ने क्रममा प्रबन्धकल्पना सम्बन्धी मान्यताको चर्चा गर्दा प्रबन्धात्मक रसाभिव्यक्तिका निम्ति सुन्दर मूलकथाको निर्माण, त्यस कथाको रसानुकूलता, त्यसमा रहनुपर्ने सन्ध्यङ्ग (पञ्चसन्धि) को सङ्गठन, त्यसका खासखास स्थलमा आवश्यकता अनुसार गरिनुपर्ने विशेष रसहरूको उद्दीपन र प्रकाशन अनि प्रधान रसको खोज तथा रसानुकूल अलङ्कारविधानको अपेक्षा (ध्वन्यालोकतृतीय उद्योत, कारिका १०१४) जस्ता जुन विशिष्टताहरूको उल्लेख गरेका छन्। तिनले महाकाव्यात्मक प्रवन्धकल्पनालाई नै औँल्याएको  बोध हुन आउँछ। यहाँनेर आनन्दवर्धनले प्रतिपादन गरेको ध्वनिवादी चिन्तनका प्रतिक्रियास्वरूप आचार्य कुन्तक (दसौं शताब्दी) ले स्थापित गरेको वक्रोक्तिवाद अन्तर्गत निरूपित प्रवन्धवक्रतासम्बन्धी मान्यताले पनि प्रबन्ध काव्य (महाकाव्य) लाई नै काव्यको सर्वश्रेष्ठ प्राप्ति (‘‘प्रबन्धेषु कविन्द्राणां कीर्तिकन्देषु किं पुन: वक्रोक्तिजीवितं ४, 26: ४३) ठह¥याएको कुरो पनि स्मरणीय नै छ
महाकाव्य चिन्तनको क्षेत्रमा कलम चलाउने आचार्यमा हेमचन्द्र देखा पर्दछन्। उनले काव्यानुशासन नामक ग्रन्थमा महाकाव्यलाई परिभाषित गरेको देखिन्छपद्यबद्ध रूपमा प्रायः संस्कृत, प्राकृत, अपभ्रंश, अग्राम्य भाषामा विभिन्न कथानकलाई लिएर शब्द वैचित्, अर्थ वैचित्, रसयुक्त, छन्दोबद्ध एवम् लोक रञ्‍जक गुण बोकेको काव्य नै महाकाव्य हो (हेमचन्द्र, सन् १९३४: ३९५) भनेका  छन्।
संस्कृत महाकाव्यचिन्तनका परम्परामा देखा परेका अन्तिम महान् विद्वान आचार्यविश्व नाथ हुन्। उनले आफ्नो साहित्यदर्पण भन्ने ग्रन्थमा काव्यका भेदोपभेदको लक्षण निर्देश गर्दा महाकाव्यका पद्यप्रबन्धको एक प्रकारका रूपमा रहेको महाकाव्यका लक्षणपूर्वक उल्लेख गरेका छन्। यिनी खासगरी आपूmभन्दा पूर्ववर्ति आचार्य दण्डीबाट प्रभावित भएर महाकाव्यको चर्चा गर्छन्। उनले प्रस्तुत गरेको महकाव्य सम्बन्धी परिभाषा यस प्रकार छ
महाकाव्य सर्गबद्ध हुन्छ यसमा देव सत्वंशीय क्षेत्रीय वा धीरोदात्त प्रकृतिको कुनै कुलीन राजा वा एकै कुलका धार्मिक धेरै राजा पनि नायक हुन सक्छन्। यसमा श्रृङ्गार, वीरशान्त मध्ये कुनै एक रसलाई मुख्यरसका रूपमा व्यक्त गरी अरु सबै रसलार्ई अङ्गीरसको रूपमा प्रस्तुत गर्नुपर्दछ। यसमा सबै नाट्यसन्धिको प्रयोग हुनुपर्छ। यसको कथावस्तु इतिहासमूलक र अन्य सज्जनाश्रित हुनुपर्छ भने त्यसमध्ये कुनै एकलाई फलकाव्यको थालनी नमस्कारात्मक, आशीर्वादात्मक, वस्तुनिर्देशात्मक हुनुपर्छ। यसमा खलपात्रको निन्दा र सत्पात्रको प्रशंसा गरिनुपर्छ। यसमा आठभन्दा बढी सर्ग होऊन् ती न छोटा वा नाना छन्दको प्रयोग गरिएपछि अन्त्यमा छन्द परिवर्तन गरियोस। सर्गान्तमा भावी कथाको सङ्केत पनि दिइयोस् । यसमा सूर्य, चन्द्र, रात्री, प्रदेश, अन्धकार, दिन, प्रातकाल, मध्याह्न, सिकार, युद्ध, पर्वत, ऋतु, वन, समुद्र, सम्भोग वा विप्रलम्भ श्रृङ्गार, मुनि, स्वर्ग, पुर, यज्ञ, यात्रा, विवाह, कुमारजन्म आदि उचित विषयको मनोहर वर्णन गर्नुपर्छ । ग्रन्थ वा महाकाव्यको नाम कवि, नायक, प्रतिनायको नाम वा कथात्मक घटनामा आधारित हुनुपर्छ भने अवान्तरमा  सर्गको शीर्षक विषय अनुसार राख्नु पर्छ (विश्वनाथ, साहित्यदर्पण, ,३१५३२८: ५४९५५१) ।
यस प्रकार विश्वनाथको महाकाव्यमान्यता सबभन्दा पछिल्लो रूपमा देखा पर्दछ। यिनी चौधौँ शताब्दिका काव्यशास्त्रीय विद्वान् मानिन्छन् । यतिखेर संस्कृतमा वक्रमार्गी महाकाव्यको युग समाप्त भएको थियो। यिनले आर्ष महाकाव्यलाई त्यति हेरेनन् र वैचित्यमार्गी काव्यका आधारमा यिनले महाकाव्य सिद्धान्तको निर्माण गरे। यिनको परिभाषा १४ श्‍लोकमा फैलिएको विस्तृत रूपको देखापर्छ  संस्कृत महाकाव्यमा ह्रासका कारणहरू (प्रतिभा, पाण्डित्य र कलात्मकताको कमी) पनि त्यहाँ साङ्केतित छन्। भामह र दण्डीजस्तै महाकाव्यलाई यान्त्रिकताको खुराक यिनले पनि दिएनन् भन्‍न सकिन्‍न
विश्‍वनाथपछि संस्कृत साहित्य परम्पराका अन्तिम आचार्यका रूपमा जगन्‍नाथ देखा पर्छन्। तर, महाकाव्यका सम्बन्धमा उनको ठोस चिन्तन देखिँदैन। उनले रसगङ्गाधरमा काव्यका लक्षण, भेद एवं रसका विषयमा चर्चा गरे पनि महाकाव्यका सम्बन्धमा उनको ठोस परिभाषा पाउन सकिन्न । उनले दिएको  काव्य परिभाषा यस्तोछ रमणीयार्थप्रतिपादक शब्द काव्य: अर्थात् रमणीय  अर्थ  प्रदान गर्ने शब्द नै काव्य हो (जगन्‍ना, सन् १९५५: १) ।
यस प्रकार पूर्वीय सबै विद्वान र विश्‍वनाथका मान्यताहरूलाई हेर्दा के प्रष्ट हुन्छ भने यिनले त्यति आधारभूत मान्यता दिएनन्। अङ्गीरस र एक वर्गको विशेष प्राप्ति भनाइ मात्रै यिनको आधारभूत चेत रह्यो।  समग्रमा भत्रुपर्दा भामह कम रूढीग्रस्त, कम समसामयिकताबाट प्रभावित विस्तृत आबाज छन् भने त्यसपछिका उल्लेख्य आबाज रूद्रट हुन्। दण्डी तथा विश्वनाथ थोरै मात्रमा उल्लेख्य हुन पुगेको तथ्य स्मरणीय छ। महाकाव्यका सम्बन्धमा महत्वपूर्ण व्याख्या र विश्लेषण गर्ने समालोचकहरूमा भामह, दण्डी, रुद्रट, हेमचन्द्र र विश्वनाथ देखिन्छन् । उनीहरूका अवधारणालाई समेटेर महाकाव्यको परिभाषा यसरी दिन सकिन्छ
महाकाव्य सर्गबद्ध, छन्दोबद्ध र पञ्‍चसन्धियुक्त त्यस्तो अलङ्कृत भाषिक संरचना हो जसमा ख्यात वा कल्पित विषयवस्तुको उपयोग गरी कुनै महान् सत्पात्रको चरित्रचित्रण र चतुर्वर्गको अभिव्यक्तिमा रसभावनिरन्तरता कायम राखी नायकाभ्युदय वा जीवनको सुखन्तताको अभिव्यक्ति गरिन्छ। (महादेव अवस्थी, आधुनिक नेपाली महाकाव्य र खण्डकाव्यको विमर्श, २०६४:२२)
यसरी महाकाव्यसम्बन्धी पूर्वीय परिभाषा विभिन्‍न विद्वानहरूले दिएका छन्। महाकाव्यको सत पक्षको प्रशंसा र असत पक्षको निन्दामा जोड दिए पनि त्यसले समाजलाई मर्यादाको पथमा लैजान महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका खेल्नुपर्छ भन्‍ने सन्देश दिन सफल भएको छ। 

(अन्त्यारम्भ महाकाव्यको कृतिपरक अध्ययन शीर्षकको शोधपत्रको अंश)

An Inspiring Book

Deepak Subedi

Recently, I read an interesting and very inspiring book entitled: Surely Mr. Feynman You are Joking by Richard P. Feynman, one of this century’s most brilliant theoretical physicists and original thinkers. The book is based on his conversation with Ralph Leighton. Before commenting on the book, I would like to give a brief introduction of the author himself.

Feynman was born in New York, USA, in 1918 and studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he graduated with BS in 1939. He went to Princeton and received his Ph.D. in 1942. He also worked in the famous Los Alamos Atomic Bomb project during the second World War. He became Professor of theoretical Physics at Cornell University. He was awarded the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics for his monumental work in Quantum electrodynamics (QED). His equally important contributions are the three volumes of lectures on Physics, Feynman’s Lectures on Physics.

Although all the volumes of Feynman’s work are very popular and read by millions, this particular book, Surely Mr. Feynmann You Are Joking, is touching because it is an autobiography of a most colorful personality in Physics. There is an interesting story as to how Feynman conceived the peculiar title for his book. On his first day to Princeton, he had been invited by the Dean, Eisenhart for tea. Mrs. Eisenhart, while pouring tea for him asked “Would you like cream or lemon in your tea, Mr. Feynman?” Feynman replied “I’ll have both, thank you,” While he was still looking for a place to sit, he heard Mrs. Eisenhart laughing and saying: “Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman.” This is how he created the title of his famous book.

In Surely… Feynman has described some of the memorable events of his life, specially when he was starting his career as a physicist. His peculiar way of describing the events inspires everyone who loves science. He had an extraordinary ability to communicate his knowledge of science to his audience at all levels. The New York Times described him as arguably the most brilliant, iconoclastic and influential of the post-war generation of theoretical physicists. He has employed his extraordinary skill and knowledge in physics in solving a wide range of problems which we encounter in our everyday life. When we read the book, it becomes evident that physics teaches us the way of doing science whichever may be the field. For example he applies his wits in cutting salads to cracking safe, playing drums to painting portraits and even in deciphering the Mayan-calendar.

Most importantly, Feynman put his love of physics to a highest position. He possessed an unquenchable thirst for adventure and unparalleled gift for telling extraordinary stories of his life, which are reflected throughout the book. This book has inspired thousands of physicists around the world. Anyone who is interested in science should read this book in order to cultivate an enthusiasm for learning new things and understanding the joy of doing science.

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