The Lunatic | Questions And Answers

Questions and answers of "The Lunatic" ( पागल ). "The Lunatic" was written by Mahakavi Laxmi Prasad Devkota. Devkota was born on 12 November 1909 as the third son of Pandit Til Madhav Devkota and Amar Rajya Laxmi Devi. He was born in Dilli Bazar, Kathmandu on the day of Laxmi Puja, the Festival of Lights, which is celebration of Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth. He died on 14 September 1959 in Kathmandu. Devkota contributed to Nepali literature by bringing the Sanskrit tradition to its end and by starting modern Romantic Movement in the country.

Also Read:
The Lunatic - WordMeanings And Translation In Nepali
The Lunatic - Summary in English (Laxmi Prasad Devkota)
The Lunatic - Four Levels
The Lunatic - Translation In English By 'Laxmi Prasad Devkota'
" The Lunatic " is a satirical ( व्यांगात्मक ) poem composed by Devkota. In this poem, the poet presents the supermacy of emotion. This poem is his auto-biography where he expresses his anger at the inhumanity of mankind by weraring the persona of a lunatic. This poem is also a modern expression of his deepest personal feelings and a surgical exposure of the emptiness of the so-called intellectual aspirants of the time. The poet also focuses on the social, cultural, and political scene of the Nepal.

Question-Answers of 'The Lunatic':

Question No. 1: The poet's method in "The Lunatic" capitalizes on the contrasts between the world of lunatic and sane people. What are some of these contrasts and how do they bring out the irony of the poem ?
Answer: The poem "Lunatic" is an ironic poem or a satirical poem by Laxmi Prasad Devkota. In this poem the poet has used a contrast between the world of the sane man and that of the lunatic. There are vast differences between a lunatic and a sane. A lunatic does not behave like a sane. He/she shows many different characters.

Here is a comparison between a lunatic and the world of sane people. What a lunatic sees, perceives, hears that are not possible for a sane person. Like what the sane world sees, perceives, hears, perceives a lunatic cannot understand them well. So in this poem, the poem has given a juxtaposition of the things between a lunatic and the normal world of sane people. The lunatic perceives what the sane man cannot. For example, the mad man visualizes sound, hears the visible, tastes fragrance, but the normal man hears sound, visualizes the visible, smells fragrance ( बासना ) and tastes the delicious food. The lunatic can touch and feel the things which an ordinary person cannot. Likewise, he can see a flower in the stone and can talk with the bird. He feels that a heavenly beauty is smiling to him. Similarly, the mad man uses his sixth sense whereas the normal person uses only five senses. The people use brains, but he uses his heart. By showing the contrast the poet brings out the irony of the poem. The poet wants to say that the worldly people are cold and cruel and they look at the world from their won materialistic perspective.

Although insane, the speaker is sympathetic and his heart melts when he sees pathetic sights. He is very different than the sane world. In fact, this comparison by Devkota seems true because we find many mad and lunatics talking themselves, playing with non living things, laughing, singing etc. because they are talking, watching whatever we cannot see.

Question No. 2: In another poem 'To a Beautiful Prostitute', Devkota uses the phrase 'into a higher reason gone astray'. Does this phrase describe the lunatic person of this poem ?
Answer: There are differences between a lunatic or a mad and a symbolic or ironical lunatic or mad. A real lunatic cannot think of so much higher things as an ironical lunatic can. Real abnormality and literary abnormality differ in many ways. Generally, abnormality is the state, which is different from what is expected usual or normal. The attitude of the lunatic persona in this poem is different from the conventional attitude. He is an ironic lunatic not a real; he/she is the higher reason gone astray because he/she can visualize sound, hear the visible, and taste fragrance. He/she has all senses and extra senses but a real lunatic may have any sense lost. An ironical lunatic can also perceive the exploitation and torture inflicted ( दिईएको ) on the weak and the poor. Sometimes he/she shows highly sensitive behavior, and sometimes his/her behavior is beyond the understanding of the common people. That is why he/she is considered a lunatic but in reality he/she is in right condition and in higher position of knowledge than the other.

Question No. 3: Please try to explain why poet takes the persona of a lunatic. Does a mad person actually see sounds and hear sights ? What are the difference between a conventional lunatic and the lunatic of the poem ?
Answer: We know that language of simple conversation and literature deviate ( परिवर्तित हुनु ) each other. Language of simple conversation and poetic or literary characters also differ in many ways. A persona means a created character or an invented person for a part in any story, fiction, drama, etc. He or she may not be the author himself or herself. To express the inner feelings or emotions of the persona, Devkota has taken the persona of a lunatic in this poem. This poem has an autobiographical element or the expressions area the feelings of Devkota himself. Observing the unusual behaviour of the poet many people in the society called him a mad or lunatic. This poem is a satirical response to the people's comment.
In a normal condition, a man's sense of perception does not change. He/she hears sounds, see sights, smells fragrance and tastes food. But when he/she is in abnormal condition, he/she distorts language and uses it the way he likes. This improper use of language is also one of characteristics of a mad man or a lunatic. A conventional lunatic does not use the language properly, he/she often repeats what has shocked him/her and made him/her mad; he/she does not care what the society talks about him/her, he/she is not controlled, he/she is lost in it's own world. But the lunatic persona in the poem is fully aware of his/her situation and controlled. His/her abnormality is an assumed one. He/she is confident, imaginative, sensitive revolutionary, aggressive, angry and awfully majestic. He/she expresses the deepest personal feelings of the poet and exposes the hollowness of the so-called intellectual aspirants of the time. He/she speaks more systematic and high level language that is not easy to understand for a general person. These are some of the differences between real or conventional lunatic or mad a person.

Question No. 4: Lunacy exists at the personal, social and cosmic levels. Do you agree ? Why ?
Answer: In fact, good, bad, lunatic, mad, normal, abnormal etc are the qualities that are given by society or people in a society. A person himself or herself cannot say a lunatic or a mad. It is the evolution of a person by society and people and the title given to his/her mental condition. To some extent, I agree with the statement that lunacy exists at the personal, social and cosmic levels. At the personal level a person's thoughts, feelings or behaviour can be affected. Most of the normal people have periods of sadness, anger and fear. But, these periods do not last long. Lunatic persons suffer from extreme moods and feelings that may last for years. These disturbances often cause unhappiness and lead to socially unacceptable behaviour. Lunacy can make it difficult for an individual to carry out everyday tasks or to get along with the other people. That is a personal lunatic that exists in personal levels and that is limited within the person only.

Sometimes, when a society behaves as a lunatic, that is the social level, we get lunacy at the crowed behaviour. Sometimes the whole society behaves abnormally. If they are excited and hypnotized by a powerful leader, they are ready to do anything they are ordered. The disorderly crowd breaks down the doors and windows and loots the shops, throws fire on house etc. Cosmic lunacy means here universal lunacy. Such type of lunacy exists in whole universe. Foe example, all people today have been showing a type of lunacy by destroying own world. They are damaging the earth and its environment by different bad activities like war, explosion, etc. It is the creation or destruction of vast structures by some mysterious order or disorder. Therefore, we can agree that the lunacy exists at the personal, social and cosmic levels also.

Question No. 5: Discuss "The Lunatic" as a political protest poem.
Answer: Literature or literary persons also can play important role in changing a political system. We have many examples of literary persons that fought for democracy and human rights or political change. Like in French and England or American freedom movements many such persons have played their roles for political change. In our country Nepal also Subba Krishna Lal Adhikari, Balkrishna Sama, Devkota, etc. played key roles for democracy. "The Lunatic" is a political protest poem. It shows the existing social contradictions of the time. The poet has juxtaposed the lunatic weapon into normal social realities in a way that expresses rebelliousness ( विद्रोह ) against the ruling class for their ugly exploitation of the common people.

Lunatic energy is an emotion that is capable of transformation into higher energy of a very poerful human expression. Primarily, "The Lunatic" is a revolt against Rana Regime. At that time the uneasy transition was going on, the mockery of democracy, the extent of human degeneration the name of upholding new values and righteousness, ruthless exploitation of people's rights and economic plunder, corruption in Nepal.Therefore the poet was very furious with the political system. To express his dissatisfaction, he composed this poem naming "Lunatic". He said himself a Lunatic to make him secure from the rulers. Thus, it is a political protest poem also.

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