Lakshman Rekha by Bhagwati Sharan Mishra
Pollution – this novella revolves around the world of pollution. The first pollution that comes to our mind is that of the environment. And that is what is the focus of Lakshman Rekha author as well. Though he tends to take the reader through all other kinds of pollutions too that we have to deal with. Like cultural pollution, moral pollution, pollution in relationships etc. Through the love story of a couple spending some time in the hill town of Nainital, he takes you through different points of views and the arguments around them. He has deliberately created situations in the story to disseminate knowledge about pollution. And how it is impacting our lives.
The story starts with the couple taking a boat ride in the famous Naini lake and talking about the depleting state of the lake and then climbing a peak to realize the need for cleaner air elsewhere. The man is a journalist who wants to be an environmentalist. The woman is ambitious and wants to be successful and famous either herself or through the man in her life. Through their conversations, his dreams for the environment become bigger. And he starts looking out for the bigger projects to get associated with. By the end of the book like a film, he gets exactly what he wants. She realizes the futility of her argument that politics is the only way to make a name and there are many other ways to achieve the same.
All these while arguments about their personal relationships where he wants to get married and she does not take you through their journey in life and how and why they have the point of view that they have. This layer also explores all other types of pollutions, though to a limited extent. It explores the realm of human relationships or moral degradation of adhering to the cultural norms. It explores the environment of the forward-looking university – JNU, Delhi where both the protagonists come from. And it explores how some people can fake through the whole duration to be seen in a different light.
Lakshman Rekha storytelling is excellent; it keeps you gripped throughout even when there are some boring areas of sheer Gyan on the environment. Language cannot be better. If you speak limited Hindi, you would learn many new words for the popular English words. The dialogues have a dignity that is now a rarity, a thehraav that certainly seems to belong to yesteryears. Editing could have been better – there are grave errors like spelling mistakes and half sentences – but as a reader, it is possible to ignore them.