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KAKAPEE

Self-Actualization That Changed the Genes of a Crow’s Shit

A Review
Dr. Jilukara Srinivas
Dravidian University
Andhra Pradesh

This is a novel with a very unusual name. Kaka means Crow. Pee means
Shit. The name of the novel is Crow’s Shit. But this is the name of the hero of
the novel. The author is striking directly at the Hindu Law Code in Manusmriti
that officially bans the use of good sounding names for Dalits, the
untouchable people of India. The storyline of the novel has an amazing touch
of realism. Though it is written in fiction style it gives a clear picture of what is
happening in India. It is a fiction based on the reality of India. Therefore, every
Dalit reader of the novel is bound feel that it is about himself/herself. They will
try to find out if the author knows them personally and wonder if he is writing
about them. Those who do not know about the situation of the untouchable
people of India will have a festival of information reading this novel. The
beauty of the novel is its character creation. Every character presents
someone or other whom the reader has met in his/her life. There is very much
of realism in character creation. Occasionally it becomes difficult to believe
that is a fiction.
The connections cannot be easily ignored. The author is from an unseeable
community in India. The hero of the novel is also from an unseeable
community. As one reads about Publish America in Website it says that at
least the first four novels of an author reflect his/her personal life. This
inevitability seems to have a strong reflection in KAKAPEE. The author is
known well in India in many circles. His revolutionary flavour runs through the
whole narration of the story.
An unseeable Dalit born in a family living below poverty line and of total
illiterate parents works hard to rise in life that is not commonly possible for
many Dalits. But the genius of the author comes out clearly when he converts
the horrible experience of the hero, being named at a tender age as
KAKAPEE, into an opportunity, a capital investment to reap rich harvest.
There is a lesson for all Dalits here. Instead of crying over such unfortunate
situations created by the caste system in India and instead of blaming others
always, the hero turns to himself, builds his interiority and creates a saga of
success standing on spirituality.
The author is at pains to explain in an interesting fashion through many
chapters that conversion to Christianity helps the Dalits marginally to educate
themselves but nothing beyond. Even within Christianity there is
untouchability and horrible levels of ill treatment of the Dalits. This novel is
bound to create some controversy here. Despite his aversion to conversion as
a way of Dalit liberation the personal admiration of the author as an ardent
admirer Jesus Christ comes out in many pages. We are not sure if the author
does this intentionally or it spills out unintentionally. The courage of the author
to take on Hinduism and Christianity on par has been carved out in a highly
admirable fashion through the many pages of the novel. The baptism into
Marxism through Christianity is yet again a very non-conventional path that
the author takes. Reduced to burning ashes through this arduous journey the
hero rises like the Phoenix to become a veritable symbol of the liberation of
the Dalit people.
Just as the hero becomes an atheist and gives up faith in all gods and
religions, enters the heroin in his life with similar vision and revolutionary
flavour. The entry of the heroine has been brought out in remarkable style.
From the time of her entry till the end of the novel it is difficult to say who is
occupying the centre stage of the novel. She does not play a second fiddle to
the hero. She does not dominate over him. The character creation of the
heroine is amazingly remarkable. But in this amazing interpolation realism has
been maintained very well.
But there is another ‘out of the world’ interpolation. Very few authors can do
this with such ease as M C Raj does. In a highly fictional style he brings out
the scene of a ‘upper’ house discussing rationally about the hero and a ‘lower’
house waiting emotionally for the advent of their liberator. Both houses know
the hero very well. While the upper house condemns him as an atheist the
lower house adores the shadow of the hero and heroine as the images of their
gods. While the upper house clamours for severe punishment for the hero for
misguiding the Dalits the lower house demands that he showed them the way
and pledges to walk in the path that he will show. These contrasts strike an
emotional cord in the reader. The philosopher in the author comes out through
the novel. This is an interesting combination that he is making. The plunging
into the womb of Mother Earth, the merging with the ancestors, the entropy of
the cosmic waves, the regeneration of energy waves, the butterfly, the
procession of women, the ultimate revolution, all these are typical of the
author coming out in a very novel fashion. Indeed it is a novel of M C Raj.
Such a good novel published by Publish America should have avoided the
many spelling mistakes that are glaring in some pages. It should be made
available in India.