Na Hanyate... Na Hanyate hanyamane Sarire... translation says Consciousness is eternal and cannot be vanquished...in more mundane words soul is eternal and it is the body which perishes. An apt name for the novel.. love survives even as the body gets decayed, even if physically two lovers fall apart love breathes and survives through the soul.
I know such idealistic words are out and out unrealistic and in today,s times more so. But the novel speaks of love and yes surprisingly true love which fought and struggled to survive to withstand the tests of time. Na Hanyate was something most of the Bengali women read and fascinated at the marvel of love. It was about the story of a young girl and the foreigner who comes for lessons from her father an eminent scholar. It was virtually an autobiography i can safely say...and the reader can sniff a real love story blooming in between the protagonists. Diverse cultures, different languages, different continents but would love listen to these.... They fall in love in the conventional Indian society where caste, religion called the shots. Mircea Eliade was having lessons on love and romance along with Sanskrit shlokas and the story weaves their romance intricately with minor details with all their tit bits and all those lovey dovey moments and with two persons of such diverse ethnicity... a common intelligence and humour brought them closer where feelings were expressed with eyes and smiles and love suppressed in the rigid social framework. I suppose it was the reality of it all which instantly strikes a chord. Mircea chewing chilies to prove to his love that he can go all Indian..and the creeper outside his balcony swinging outside her window... as far as i remember.
Their love falling apart in the ruthless waves of society, the foreigner wandering all over India looking for inner peace..seeking peace in the Himalayas. Pre Independence india fed with a dose of rennaissance and liberation leading to a love story which even her scholarly father could not allow and had to forego the veneer of liberation to get them apart. I could not believe all unless after some years of reading Na Hanyate i read Bengal Nights by Mircea Eliade...and yes critics said facts were different but no one could mistake the underlying love and the upsurge of emotions... this happens... can happen in real life!! Yes Na Hanyate was something i could relate to in fact many Bengali women would... it was about the society my grandmom would talk of...but reading Mircea Eliade... a foreigner who believed he being the favourite disciple of the guru, getting his daughter would be a cakewalk... little did he know how Indian societies worked and how losing her he totally loses himself and finally leaves the country which gave him the love of his life.
A true love story, a gem... a union of soul...just by reading you would want to believe...in love and in life. Na Hanyate would always be with me for the love,for the pain may be we all go through.. for the account of an eminent writer and poet exposing the society we were in which hardly ever could give any woman the respect she deserves let alone the love she pines for.