I Found Bokul Fulor Dore To Be Unputdownable
The chapters of the novel are so nicely woven that after the completion of a chapter one can’t leave without reading the next one.
It is quite astonishing that the debut novel of Dr. Mrinal Kalita, 'Bokul Fulor Dore', received the Sahitya Akademi Bal Sahitya Puraskar 2021. The reviews on it, both in print and social media, aroused a natural curiosity in the reader in me as to how could a novel without any talk of love and romance may gain such huge popularity and recognition.
I yearned to go through the book. But for some unknown reason it was not happening as I wished. Then, unexpectedly one beautiful morning, an ex-student handed me a packet wrapped in golden paper. I opened the package, and to my utmost surprise, I found the book I had craved for since the day of its publication. The very next day I started reading the book and completed it as if all in a breath.
The novel starts with the declaration of Class IX result. Like previous years, this year too, the best boy of former years Asim, the jewel of the school, according to Mohendro mastor is promoted to the next higher class with poor performance in the last of the list. This was the same boy who surprised everyone with his proficiency in mathematics when he was enrolled in Class V. In a fit of anger, Mohendro mastor showered him with abusive language- 'toi odho pate goli' (you are headed towards doom) in front of the new teacher Anubhaw and gave Asim a tight slap.This one slap was enough to keep Asim away from the school. Nirmol, the closest friend of Asim, felt a kind of void at Asim's week long absence from school. Somehow after a week, Nirmol managed to bring Asim to attend the class. There was a mathematics class going on that day. Suddenly Mohendro Mastor caught sight of Asim dozing. This added fuel to the already burning fire inside the master. He started beating Asim right and left, forgetting the previous experience.
Anubhow sir, who couldn't see Asim in the class and inquired of Nirmol about the reason of his absence. Nirmol reported that Asim has started working in a stone quarry under contractor Dibakar at downhill. He further said how the teachers used to neglect Asim for his poor performances, how Asim stopped coming to school after the humiliation, how Nirmol's untiring effort brought him back to school, how Mohendra mastor caned Asim brutally, how again he left the school, how the village people assaulted Asim's father in public and so on and so forth. His drunkard father liked his son to work because he would get money to drink without any interruption. Finally, due to the joint efforts of Anubhow sir and Nirmol, Asim returned to school with new zeal and enthusiasm after a break of three months. Anubhow sir financed a newspaper agency for Asim to work as a hawker in morning hours so as to earn some money to run the family. Thus Anubhow sir now stood between them as a shield to lead them to their goal even at the worst suffering. The climax of the novel is reached when Nirmol who suffered from congenital heart disease since birth is hospitalized for breathing problems just a few weeks before their HSLC examination. All became sad at the sudden twist of the story. He has finally recovered and is ready for appearing in the examination.The day when the result of HSLC came out, the two of them were able to secure top places among the students of Assam.
While going through the novel I felt the pleasure of completing a journey to a beautiful world in the company of progressive minded Sanaton headmaster, Mohendro mastor and the real friend, philosopher and guide Anubhow sir, who as a team transformed the impossible to possible with firm determination, dedication and far sightedness. The chapters of the novel are so nicely woven that after the completion of a chapter one can't leave without reading the next one. The writer is not bulky in description. The beginning of the novel, the development of the plot, anxiety of the reader, curiosity regarding the uncertainty of Asim's future, the conflict-both internal and external and above all the dexterous characterization and use of words and lines seem to have been so measured everywhere.Each character of the novel is unique and has helped the main character Asim in their best possible way.The lucidity of the narrative and fluency of expression has made the novel worth reading. The rise of Asim's father over time is a positive development of the situation. The conflict in the novel culminates when, out of personal grudge, Anubhow mastor is accused of involvement with a woman. This was so done as the mastor wanted Asim not to work in stone quarry and to set up a library in the village.The novel is a living document of the grinding poverty and tradition of the society which cripples the innate capabilities of the children with exploitation.
Being the head of an institution with more than 1000 students, when I have to deal with a situation like Asim and his father, the book acts as a special inspiration at such critical junctures. Presently, as most of the schools of Assam are organizing motivational classes to fill up the learning gap and get students school-oriented during the COVID-19 pandemic. After reading Bokul Fulor Dore, it has come to my mind that this book will be more effective in motivating students in Class IX and X, especially more than the power point presentation of experts in this field (this is quite a personal feeling). As many intellectuals and prominent people of Assam have already said, I too would like to say that the student community would benefit if this book is included in the curriculum as a rapid reader in MIL Assamese for Class IX and X. This is not that the book is purely for students only, it will also encourage the teachers to be committed to their duty as well. In this regard I would like to request the writer that the book should also be translated into English so that all students regardless of language can read it.
By: Nilakshi Dutta