It stands to reason that Manoranjan Byapari, who was launched into his unusual literary career by no less than Mahasweta Devi, should express not just irreverence but a no-holds-barred anger against the feudal lord turned poet Rabindranath Tagore for his humanistic ideology and his ethical values that do not take into account the grim, stark realities in the lives of people living in the margins. Tagore advocates honesty as his creed, says Byapari, but how can those who do not know where their next meal is coming from get by with such idealism? In fact, they can hardly survive without lying, cheating, thieving, taking recourse to violence or even killing. It is very well to romanticize the values of gentleness, love and forgiveness, or to indulge in an innocuous appreciation of nature, but can one do that with the fire of hunger raging in one’s belly, and the uncertainty of one’s quotidian existence driving one up against a wall? The author, however, concedes that the ‘bearded old man’ who cautioned us not to lose faith in humanity is also utterly intolerant about those who commit evil or perpetuate injustice.
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