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Arogyaniketan, a novel with an off beat theme is set, like most stories of Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay, in the red soil of Birbhum. On one level the theme is a clash between the old and the new, between traditional medicine and the Western system of allopathy. The traditional system of Ayurveda, Iiterally the Veda concerning life, is based on the Hindu concept of rebirth and the dignity of death, with the belief that death is only a part of the continuous process of renewal which goes on in life. But no modern doctor would be willing to accept death as a means of the graceful exit. He would consider it morally wrong to let a patient meet his end without a fight.

But it is not just a clash of values that the novel is concerned with. On a deeper level the theme is man's confrontation with death and his attempt to come to grips with it. The author looks at the human weakness with tenderness and sympathy. Also, there is an effort to overcome the fear of death, and all this makes this novel a great work of art. In a novelist of the range and depth of Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay, the local gradually merges into the universal. What stands out is the essential human experience which moves the reader anywhere.

Tagged with:

Bengali / Enakshi Chatterjee / fiction / indian / Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay / translation /