Mejokumar-Ek Sannyasi Raja
Literarian Asim Himel has written a historical novel "Mejokumar-Ek Sannyasi Raja" reflecting back to the history of Queen Bibhavati and King Ramendra Kumar, the second son of King Rajendra Narayan Roy Chowdhury and Queen Bilasmoni Devi of the legendary Bhawal Estate in Gazipur.
The historical case that arose over the Bhawal Estate during the British colonial period and its protagonist, Raja Ramendra Kumar is the protagonist of this book. He was familiar as Mejokumar to the masses.
There are films, television series and literary works on Bhawal kings in West Bengal of neighbouring India. But the folklore has apparently been overlooked in Bangladesh, though these Bhawal kings once had practiced great power on the outskirts of Dhaka.
There are many folklore based films and literature in Bangladesh, none of the cultural pieces has been able to accommodate the Bhawal kings.
Asim Himel has attempted to fill the void and add a new dimension to history-based literary works. He has been successful to a greater degree. He has done the admirable job of writing novels based on the stories of the Bhawal kings that were apparently lost in course of time.
Although this is a history-based novel, it majestically reflected King Ramendra Kumar's heroism, his generosity, whims, and incidents of spending nights with the Baijis (female entertainers) in private places despite having a beautiful wife.
His unexpected return as a monk after 12 years of abandonment to a crematorium, fight to regain self-identity, failure to acquire power despite winning legal fight, loneliness of Queen Bibhavati, romance with private doctor Ashutosh, denial of Mejokumar, the conspiracy of power-hungry queen's brother Sattyen Banerjee and his allegiance to the British to retain power - all have been captured in the book.
Besides, the legal battle to resolve Mejokumar's identity crisis in the Court of Ward over Bhawal Estate and regain the kingdom, the testimony of witnesses, the final verdict of the Kolkata High Court and the Privy Council of the United Kingdom have also been discussed at length.
Literarian Asim Himel is a resident of Gazipur's Kaliganj. He may have chosen the plot of his novel Mejokumar out of his commitment to the folklore and history of Bhawal Estate. He has brilliantly showed that it is possible to enliven a history-based character in a novel.
The language of the novel is pictorial and fluent. The author's achievement is that while reading the novel, we not only stay in the text but also blend in with the characters, curiously moving forward through the story.
Mejokumar is the third novel by Asim Himel, who is a physician by profession and currently employed at the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedic Rehabilitation.
Asim Himel's first teenage novel is 'Maddhyarater Ovijan' and second one is 'Jyotsnai Nil Akash.' Now, the fourth novel, Para-psychological Khedu Mia, is going to be published from Anya Prakash.
At the beginning of the novel 'Mejokumar,' the author stated, the earnings collected from this book's sale will be donated to different social activities. Such an effort is undoubtedly appreciable.
The historical novel "Mejokumar-Ek Sannyasi Raja" was published by Kakali Prakashani in September last year. Its cover was designed on the basis of painting of Srijit Mukherjee's 'Ek Je Chhilo Raja'. The cover fully matches with the characters of the novel.
The price of the book has been fixed at Tk 200. It is now available at different bookshops in the country, as well as through its distributors in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and Sweden.
The reviewer is senior correspondent, The Daily Observer