Thursday, March 25, 2010


"Turning and turning in the widening gyre The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world"
-W. B. Yeats 'The second coming'

Thus starts Chinua Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart'... Published under the category African writer series by Heinemann. Me as a biginner into the forign literature this was an exceptionally great reading experience. I usually settle with Indian authors. When i considered buying a book this time my eyes just got stuck with the author's name, Chinua Achebe which beckoned my attention. Any way I finally settled with this...
Now lemme tell you what i felt when i read it.
Since the majority of my readings are confined to Indian origin Authors, the fictions I read usually run through known "Gallis" or "towns" of India or so. Or even if it is a foreign author the habits are almost the same. If i make it a bit more clearer, the stories run through the modern world. If i say that there is nothing kept for the site seeing when go through those books. (almost all of the rituals will be known so nothing have to be imagined hard. For example if the story occurs during a Holy night, that is it. the picture of the night just flashes into your mind. you dont have to go for a wild imagination). You just have to read the story... This book actually plucked me from such a feeling and planted me into a completely unfamiliar place known as Umuofia with "Evil forests, Agba the Earth god, Okenkwo, Chi your personal god, ekwe... I was never in such a dream world even when i read Gabrial Garcie Marquz's short stories. Yes I know they are defenitely too good. but here i was overrided with a childish fascination. Yes this is the apt way to describe it.
The main thing which might attract everyone who walks with Okenkwa is the rituals of Umuofia. For example the "week of peace". During this period a husband cannot beat his wife even if he saw her in her bed with her boyfriend... means you have to maintain peace. I mean how can you maintain peace at such a point of time?
From my point of view you can look into this novel from three different angles. (1) Merely as Okenkwo's/ Umuofia's story. (2) The way Missionaries tried to change the dark continent. (3) Or you can be a little more of a historian and can say the story is an example note on the way the colonization took over the African continent (As the district commessioner's view " The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger".
Even though the story happens in olden ages, I will say the concepts will withstand the time. In the modern world where we always talk about neo colonization through globalisation etc. etc... The novel gives a clear picture of how a vergin culture is slowly poisoned and how the tribes looked at it. They didn't have an option other than tying the iron horse (which was actually a bicycle of a pastor) to the sacrad silk tree. they were left with no option to defend themselves than providing the white mwn a part of the evil forest. The naiveness and the straigt forwardness is very well reflecting when they did so.
The story reminded me a fact which many of the thinkers and writers have underlined many times. That is 'No option is left out in a world where the decision makers are not the common public but the capital giants and the world police.' There you will be left only with one option which Okenkwo opted at the end. This also reminds us that the odd voices against the establishments are not even loud enough for themselves. If you want to make them hear, make it loud... Be together, togetherness have the power for it...
When i decided to write the above this is what i wanted to write. Here it goes ...
let's 'break the Kola nut' (a kind of ritual in the Umuofia to pay respect) and pray.
Let's eat and drink.
Let's dance to the wildest beats of ekwe (a kind of drum).
Let's give an ear to our chi (personal god)
Don't let the rest of the world call us an efulefu...
Omuofia Kwenu...
Omuofia Kwenu...
Omuofia Kwenu...
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