He was a rickshaw puller and she was a celebrity author. There was no way Manoranjan Byapari would have met Mahasweta Devi. But destiny willed otherwise.
At a chance meeting, she asked him to write for her ‘Bartika’ journal. Thus began Bypari’s stint as a writer that has seen him churn out over 100 short stories and leave an indelible mark in contemporary Bengali Dalit penmanship.
The calm and composed 61-year-old now has no trace of the anger and bitterness that had once been his constant companions - the unfortunate reasons that put him behind bars for two years for getting into a fight. The prison experience gave the Kolkata-based writer a fascinating story to relate to the audience at the recently concluded Samanvay festival of Indian languages in the capital.
He was 22-years-old when he started learning the Bengali alphabet in the prison. “I didn’t know how to read or write, but I was aware about what was happening in politics and the world. So I was illiterate but not unaware,” Bypari who now works as a cook and writes in his free time, told IANS in an interview. “I just got addicted to learning,” he added.
And what shaped up his unusual career graph were opportunities: some he quickly grabbed and some he just chanced upon.
“There were two turning points in my life: first when I went to jail in 1974. I was a mere 22 years old and the thought of spending my entire life in prison was scary. An elderly man encouraged me to read. And once I did that with all conviction, I simply got addicted to it,” recollected Byapari who grew up in a refugee camp and later took to rickshaw pulling for earning livelihood.
“The second was a chance meeting with Mahasweta Devi who gave me an opportunity to publish my first essay in her journal ‘Bartika’,” Hence began his journey of expressing his opinions through poems, essays and short stories. His novel “Itibritte Chandal Jiban” is considered the first autobiographical work by a Bengali Dalit writer.
His first national acclaim came after a translation of his essay “Is there Dalit Writing in Bangla?” was published in Economic and Political Weekly in 2007.
Despite all this transformation and newly-found love for writing, Byapari never gave up on his first job - rickshaw pulling - till he started working as a cook in a school a few years ago.IANS
Analysis of Chapter 1 and 2 in Rickshaw Boy
705 WordsJun 7th, 20133 Pages
• Categories of rickshaw pullers are elaborated. Xiangzi is introduced as a high class puller, distinguished from others by his qualities. His passion for his rickshaw is shown. Through the simplicity with which he plans his life, his other qualities are brought out. By praising his good qualities, there are small flaws that are brought out, because of his simplicity and overconfidence, so there is a foreshadowing of future conflict. Then he finds a rickshaw and sets a goal of one and a half years to achieve his dream. Then, time gets accelerated and we see in that time, he still hasn’t achieved his goal. Now things start falling apart for him. But he doesn’t care about the hard work and time he has to put in, which is why the…show more content…
He isn’t shrewd enough to deal with the problems faced due to society) foreshadowing of a conflict
Clean (untouched by evils of society)
The rickshaw symbolizes freedom and independence to him.
Plans everything out – flaw – later he gets panicked when he can’t keep up with his plans
“too slow of speech and too easily flustered”
• Settings: (in harmony with characters? What kind of setting? Atmosphere?
Atmosphere of defeatist attitude – Xiangzi stands out
All pullers are trapped by age/poverty/ambitions/ability
• Themes: Survival of the fittest, Society vs. Individual, Desire vs. Ability, Expectations vs. Reality
• Style of writing:
Bringing out a quality by juxtaposing it against a desire/feeling arising from his simplicity (e.g. lack of experience – not an insurmountable difficulty)
Bluntly stating a not positive quality, but then bringing out the positive in the negative (“Xiangzi was not handsome. What made him engaging was the expression on his face. …”)
Aims to bring out positive, but hints at negative and possible conflict by bringing out positive qualities which could be a flaw
• All categories – same difficulties – reliance on chance, long hours
• Narrator distance:
• The author elaborates on the happiness X feels when he’s pulling his