The Lunatic | Summary

Summary of the lunatic by laxmi prasad devkota.
DR Gurung


Summary of "The Lunatic" ( पागल ) 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.

" 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.

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The Lunatic - WordMeanings And Translation In Nepali
The Lunatic - Translation In English By 'Laxmi Prasad Devkota'
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"The Lunatic" by Laxmi Prasad Devkota expresses different modes of thought of the speaker. The poem also expresses different layers of the speaker's faces like, madness, imagination, revolt, aggression, etc. The first stanza consists of two lines to show the lunacy of the poet. He accepts that he is mad but is a great satire to his critics, who think that he was abnormal.

The second stanza exposes the abnormal behavior that the poet seems to think. He says that he works abnormally; he is different than other people. He can see words and hear the scene and taste the smell. He can comprehend the existence of many things which the common people cannot. He can see a beautiful flower in the stone. He comprehends the language of the birds and talks to them. They can communicate each other but they cannot speak like human beings. Other people cannot understand the language of birds only he can.

In the third stanza, the poet shows his sensitivity. He shows the differences between him and other people who call him lunatic. Other people use five senses but he uses his sixth sense that is his heart. His dreams and imaginations are meaningful to him. Due to his sixth sense, he is emotional and imaginative. To others, the world is only a concrete thing, but for the poet, the world is abstract too. He is ready to sacrifice like Jesus for humanity.

The fourth stanza deals with the misreading of the people to have a wrong impression on him. As he used to watch the mystery of the heaven in cold night and people called him mad. He feels happy hearing the cuckoo's song and feels uncomfortable by the extreme silence, but they think that he has gone mad. People see him mad in his every activity.

The fifth stanza deals with the revolt of the speaker. He does not like those things which the others like. He says that the aristocrats ( ध्वनी ) drink the blood of the poor. Even the king and the emperor are like the poor. Common people are far better than the highly scholarly people. He has no belief on all important and valuable things. That is why, the world calls him mentally disturbed.

In the sixth stanza, the speaker revolts against society and balances blind leaders are leading the world. The leaders of the world do not see the reality. He believes that spiritualists have disappeared from the society. This is not good for all. He loves the backward people.

The poet criticizes the cunning ( बाठा ) people because they have exploited people from getting their rights. The leaders and prostitutes are compared as they have similar character. They run after money. They snatch the rights of the common people. They never tell a lie to the intellectual people. The innocent people are cheated and looted. The poor people are innocent and fair. The poet attacks all the disorders and wants a revolution to bring a complete change in society and the world.

He says that he is different in many ways as he sees the sound, hears the visibility, tastes the perfume and touches the things whose existence the world denies. He sees flower, he talks with birds, animals and mountains. He works with the six senses. The wine of the king is the blood of people and prostitute are corpses for him. He sees Helen and Padmini in the beauty of the rose. In his mathematics, one minus one is always one. He dances with the song of the cuckoo. The heaven of the rich is hell for him. The gold is iron and the great religion of the rich is sin for him. Because of these perceptions of the poet, he is called the lunatic and sent to the Ranchi. But in real sense he is not a mad; the people and society who think him mad are mad or they lack the capacity to understand his view and talent. So, the poet satirically accepts himself mad; he is opposite to the other world and people.

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In this autobiographical poem 'The Lunatic', Devkota wears the persona of a lunatic as if it were a mask. Each stanza brings out a different aspect of the speaker’s character, confidence, abnormality, imagination, sensitivity, rebellion, aggression, anger and awful majesty.

Above all, this poem is at once a very modern expression of the deepest personal feelings of the poet and a surgical exposure of the hollowness of the so called intellectual aspirants of the time. The persona in the second stanza shows abnormal behavior. He does what a normal person can’t do. For example, he can see sound and hear the sight and taste the sweet smell. He can touch those things, the existence of which the people in the world deny. He is so imaginative that he can see a flower in the stone and the enchantress of the heaven smiling unto him. He understands the language of the birds and talks to them.

The third stanza show how sensitive and tender-hearted his is. He contrasts his situation with the addresses. The addressee is the one who uses his brains and senses to find out the harsh reality. But the speaker uses his sixth sense and finds out what the heart thinks to be correct. Dreams and imagination are meaningful to him.

The fourth stanza tells how the speaker’s hypersensitivity led people to have a wrong impression of him. When he watched the mystery of the heaven in cold winter night, when he was sad at the death of people and the old age of a fair lady, people called him mad. When he would be happy hearing the cuckoo’s song and uncomfortable by the dead silence, they would think that he had gone mad. They would punish him saying that he should be admitted to a mental hospital. Even his friends would not regard him a normal person.

In the fifth stanza, the persona has upset the accepted values. He does not appreciate those things which the world praises highly. What the aristocrats drink is the blood of the poor people. Due to lack of affection, prostitutes are no better than dead bodies. Because of high ambition, the king and the emperor are no better than the poor. The common men are far better than the highly learned me. The better place for the world is the worse place for the speaker. So the world calls him mentally deranged.
In the sixth stanza, the speaker revolts against the society which is being led by blind leaders. He thinks that penances have run away from the society and they hate humanity. He rather sympathizes the weak people. 

Finally, the speaker behaves like a rebel. He criticizes the flatterers because they have deprived people of their rights and they have underlined the false actions. The poor people accept their falsity as good action, and then the speaker gets so angry because he thinks these man-haters must be punished. The persona in this poem attacks all the ugliness and wants to bring a complete change in the society.

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DR Gurung
A Learner (अज्ञान जस्तो ठूलो शत्रु अरु केही छैन।) 🙏🙏
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