Social Picture and Livelihood of the Boatmen in Manik Bandopadhyay’s Padma Nadir Majhi : An Ecocritical Study

Md. Amir Hossain


According to litterateurs, literature is the reflection of social picture and human life. In this sense, it can be expressed that Ecology, Society, and Life are deeply interconnected each other. With the passage of time, ecological and social life is dealt with literature through which happiness and sorrow, - laughter, sob, and complexity of human life get entangled in a single thread. In the justice of literature, the balance of woe is much more than that of weal in human life. Manik Bandopadhyay was a radical minded litterateur of his times. His treatment of human life and humanity for the poor of the poorest is purely and acutely presented in his literary genres. The core philosophy of human life makes the novelist a universal thinker and legendary figure for all ages. He has observed human life and literature as an essential part of environment. Keeping touch in contact with environment, each and every male and female character of the novelist has enabled to accept the reality of life. Manik’s globally well-reputed novel, Padma Nadir Majhi, is the glaring example of reality of human life. In the context of ecology, this novel is the embodiment of pessimistic attitudes of the middle class society and the subaltern of 20th-century riverine country, like Bangladesh. Kuber, Kopila, and Hossen Miah are the central characters of the whole realistic novel, who are the symbol of reality of life. Thus the writer has apparently presented the pitiable and miserable condition of the boatmen who live very near by the bank of the Mighty Padma. All boatmen have to rely upon the mercy of the Padma; sometimes the mighty river grasps and devours the lives of the poor communities when the tidal waves blow during the rainy season. The 20th-century novelist has unveiled the neglected, helpless, and, above all, the deprived communities of basic human demands as reflected in the novel, Padma Nadir Majhi. In the novel, Manik wants to emphasize upon the fact that nobody comes to write their history. ‘They have to sweat on the dust of the way all the day and night.’—The writer has drawn a grim image of weal and woe, - sniffles and sobs- and sorrow and happiness of the middle class downtrodden people of the age. In fact, he has focused upon the livelihood of boatmen as well as fishermen with his own sympathy and affection with a view to signifying his contemporary social system as well as life-structure of the poor. For life and livelihood, all boatmen have to endure all sorts of complexities of life through living in the darkness of ecology. They hardly hope to see the radiant future of life, because they are victim of environment and circumstance. As a social reformer and an observer of human life, Manik has enabled to find out the environmental perfect image of the boatmen to 21st-century audiences. For this purpose, this study would like to examine social picture, environmental crisis, and complexities of human life in the light of literary judgment. It aims to look at the origin of ecocriticism, the theoretical framework of ecocriticism made by very recent critics and scholars. There is a bond between environment and literature as briefly discussed in this study. It attempts to look at Manik as a social and environmental novelist. Finally, it would like to shed a new light upon 20th-century social picture and livelihood of boatmen and fishermen of the Mighty Padma.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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