Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Book Review - Duishen

-by Chingiz Aitmatov
(Translated from the Russian in English by Olga Shartse)

The description “If there is one single book on education which will make you weep, this is it.”, stands very true.

The story is narrated by an artist who is given the responsibility to convey a touching story of an orphan who for the first time ever is treated with love and respect by the teacher who is like an elder brother to her. This story revolves around an illiterate teacher, his student and the two poplars (type of tree) standing tall like forming a link between the past and the present.

The background is the rustic village of Kurkureu where a girl has to bear with the harsh treatment of her aunt as she is an orphan with only other refuge of her aging grandmother. Ignorant of her rights and potentials she quietly endures everything until the day hope in form
of Duishen arrives. Duishen in spite of himself being barely literate sets about to achieve a nearly impossible task of setting up a school in a place where the notion of schools itself is unheard of.

With unwavering courage he sets about his tasks of teaching children whose and forefathers had all been illiterate. Naturally he receives absolutely no help from the villagers and is mocked at when he works in freezing temperatures to build a school out of an old stable on a hill. Hardly able to read, with no textbooks and completely innocent of grammar he gives in his best, teaching whatever he thought children should know giving them glimpses of a new and wonderful world. Although at that time it seemed like his hard work was in vain but in long run he accomplished more than he realized.

The fact that it is narrated by an artist who is puzzled as to what picture he should draw related to the story, made me instantly connect as I love both, writing and drawing. Some things are left untold in the end adding a sense of incompleteness to the story leaving the reader to predict the rest. The sentences are very picturesque describing the scenic beauty of the place and the language used makes you think that you are reading a literary masterpiece but unfortunately as opposed to masterpieces it is only 35 pages long... :(

35 pages of pure emotion and inspiration with many dramatic scenes. Duishen's patriotic nature, his struggle to keep his promises made to children, effort to make children laugh in spite of himself facing insults and the fighting spirit showed by a simple village girl make you want to read this book again and again....

-Anwar Sahib


Nikhil Rane said...

I have marathi translation of this novel-Duieshen Master-this novel is so very touching. It has an aroma of Kirgiz soil in which the story is strongly rooted.

Moiz Ur Rahman said...

I inspire with ur commitment
i'll read this book inshaALLAH...

Goli said...

Is this book available