The Black Sun Review from Dr. Tara Nath Sharma

'The Black Sun' by Bharat Jangam is an English rendering of his "Kalo Surya" originally written in Nepali. 'The Black Sun,' as it stands, is not fashioned in the traditional mold of novel with an elaborate story intrinsically woven into a centripetal plot construction. The whole design is a sort of centrifug approach clearly compartmentalizing the work into seven separate episodes which are connected to the central theme the author wants to concentrate on only by the presence of the same protagonist trying to search for truth, integrity and essential humanity at the glaring backdrop of the partyless system. 

Represented by the seven days of the week starting from Sunday, the seven sections of the book are, in fact, seven short stories each of which is a scathing attack on corrupt officials, black marketers, smugglers, legal authorities and drunken politicians. Structurally, 'The Black Sun' is loose, hardly concentrating on formidable characters. 

A fleeting panorama of immorality, degeneration and dissipation is presented by a series of hurried visits by the protagonist in his futile search for order and decency. In fact, the last section focusing on never-ending litigation wrangles over patrimony reveals absurdity as the main theme that gives the otherwise journalistic sketches a lasting literary foundation for 'The Black Sun". 

The inherent quality of fiction that holds the attention of most readers is suspense which is lacking in it because the author's primary purpose here is not telling an interesting romantic story with attractive characters, but he is whole heartedly concerned with the presentation of a pungent satire on the partyless anti-democratic Panchyat System. That is why no female character with any significance appears on the scene anywhere. Except a very short glimpse of Miss Shashi Rana at Mahesh Kumar Kedia's office, a young woman serving coffee at smuggler Dorje's miner living room and occasional references to Jeevan's wife and the wife of the protagonist, all important characters are monotonously males. True, in a male world of money and malpractice, bootlicking and flattery there is no place for the fair sex reputed for love, sympathy, honesty, co-operation and fellow-feeling. Completely devoid of human sensibility Mahesh Kumar Kedia, Shanta Ram and Smuggler Dorji worship the Devil. 

The Protagonist discovers a whole new world of Ram Pant corruption. From the top echelons of bureaucracy, business and government construction to the lower depths of human misery the author exposes social malaise in clear and unmistakable terms. It is, in actuality, a political expose, an honest delineation of present-day Nepal, a cancer eating the body politic of the country slowly but surely, gradually but definitely. There is in the blood of every administrative official, every businessman, every technical expert and every politician in the country an incurable presence of cancerous germs that will certainly destroy the every fabric of our cultural and democratic existence. Bharat Jangam should be congratulated for putting into the mouth of his character named Mahesh Kumar Kedia the central truth that pricks the national sentiment of any sensible Nepalese: "There is no country in the whole world where you can collect currency not as easily as you can collect here." An under developed country like Nepal, where almost eighty percent of people are below internationally accepted poverty line, this kind of assertion with such confidence can come only through the mouth of a monster like Mahesh Kumar. To our mind comes at this juncture the inhuman misery of Ethiopia where a monolithic anti-democratic obstinacy persisted for sixteen years. Nepal had to make a deliberate choice between two paths -- the path of poverty, hunger, famine and total annihilation on the one hand and on the other the path of freedom, efficiently. But unfortunately if the same oily people, thugs and professional bootlickers that surrounded Marich Man and the Interim Ministers are permitted to swarm the new leaders, the promise made by the protagonist will never be fulfilled: "That day will certainly come when these corrupt (officials) will be drowned in the river of publichat red. They will parade on their face and chest with bare feet. And the soil of this land will take revenge in due course. Then an honest man like you will be fully rewarded." 

Let God be true. We are waiting impatiently for that day to dawn on this land of Mount Everest. True writer is rooted to the soil he stands proudly on. A grassroots author is acclaimed internationally for his depiction of what he intimately knows, is humanely convincing and artistically penetrating. A writer should, as has been submitted, be judged for his in-depth vision of human living, his artistic exposition of social and individual ennui or fervent activity, and his sense of belonging and participation in what's going on in the world. A literary artist is at once an interpreter and a critic. He is, as Shelly says, 'an unacknowledged legislator of the world.' To fathom the depths of human mind and to soar in the as yet unraveled and undiscovered vast recesses of space a literary writer is vocationally dedicated. 

Bharat Jangam is a social writer with a political vision. His cherished goal is the achievement of honesty, integrity and morality in the conduct of social and individual life. It is indeed a far cry, but nevertheless his only goal in 'The Black Sun."