The author, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, a dedicated freedom fighter and a wanderer due to the same, visited his parental house only very rarely. He would stay in a small house next to the house where he grew up, inside the same compound, so that he could pen down his thoughts in peace. Apart from the grass specially set away for its eating, the goat would munch on anything it found during its leisurely stroll in the house. Complete with real pictures of the goat and its owner, the book is one of the best works by Basheer. It was well received and his only work that was published without any revisions. He was greatly inspired by freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru.
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So here I am. The most interesting thing about this book is that, Basheer was mentally ill while writing this story and the story was published unedited. He was institutionalised in a lunatic asylum while writing this novel. And this book is considered to be his masterpiece by both critics and the public.
This is a humorous novel and a cult-example of realistic fiction. And he narrates the story from his perspective. The story takes place in his home in Thalayolaparambu, Kerala. The goat belongs to his sister Pathumma which eventually become the title of the book! The goat in the story is characterised by a voracious appetite. It eats anything and everything, it feels like eating. It even eats some of his novels and other books.
And once it tries to eat his blanket! The kind-hearted novelist gives him money from his savings, then catches and ties up the goat and patiently waits for it to defecate, so that he can get his 25 paise back. Even though Basheer uses his humour to describe these events, this clearly shows us the poverty of the family and the scarcity of the money.
The use of black comedy is perfect and on-point. This book has a long foreword written by the author himself in which he tells us the circumstances under which the story has been written. This is the only major Basheer work that was published from the original manuscript.
There is a statue pictured above commemorated in memory of the goat from this novel. Commemorating a statue for a fictional character is very rare in a country like India!
Basheer wrote this book in Actually there is no great plot in this story. This novel is a mere collection of various events happening in his home. But he used this to express his views towards family, relations, the importance of money, poverty, philosophy and hooks the reader till the end just with his writing style and the description of events.
This novel attacks serious existential issues. But as with most of his works, we cannot separate the truth from the fiction. This makes the novel his trademark. There are no plastic situations and over romanticised dialogues in this book. The language is simple and flows with a natural slang. The simplicity and absurdity of the book is what makes it unique. While many writers veil up the sufferings of the islamic people due to strict religious rules and laws, Basheer boldly portrayed the malabar muslim life without any compromises.
There is humour invisibly tied to all the lines in the book. This will make you laugh and think in the same time! Basheer is one of the pioneers of malayalam literature or we can say Indian literature. He and his contemporaries wrote realistic fiction even before modernism. Basheer was born in Thalayolaparambu, Kerala in He was a freedom fighter and participated in salt satyagraha. He travelled all over India and lived in various places under various names and did many different jobs such as loom fitter, fortune teller, cook, newspaper seller, painter, fruit seller, sports goods agent, accountant, watchman, shepherd, vessels cleaner, hotel manager etc.
He lived as a hindu sadhu in the banks of Ganga and valleys of Himalayas and also as a sufi saint for many years. He travelled as a nomad throughout the African continent and also spent years in Arabia. He then became a full-time malayalam fiction writer. He became insane twice during his life time and got treatment in a lunatic asylum. He got the plot idea for his stories from his real life incidents. He wrote many novels, short stories, essays and won many awards.
He is noted for his path-breaking, disarmingly down-to-earth style of writing that made him popular among literary critics as well as the common man. He is regarded as one of the most successful and outstanding writers from India. He was a humanist. He passed away in at the age of You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.
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The goat in the story belongs to his sister Pathumma. Basheer begins the novel with an alternative title for the book, Pennungalude Buddhi The Wisdom of Women. Ever since Basheer first left home to participate in the salt satyagraha at Kozhikode , he had led a wanderer's life; Ottaanthadi, muchaanvayaru. Only occasionally did he return to his home at Thalayolapparambu , with the intention of penning down his thoughts in interludes of tranquility. Next to the house where he grew up, in the same compound, he had a walled-in plot with a small house. He built this retreat himself, and around the house he planted a garden. This gate was always closed, and he required silence and peace of mind.
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