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Home » , » Comment On the Impact Of the River In Nirad C.Chaudhuri's "The River and the Rains".

Comment On the Impact Of the River In Nirad C.Chaudhuri's "The River and the Rains"

In "The River and the Rains" Nirad C. Chaudhuri gives a vivid description impact  of the river that ran beside his native town of Kishorganj in and out of the rainy season and also the vital role it played in the lives of the villagers and the inhabitants of the town. The river is at the centre of this section of Chaudhuri's great and unforgettable book and it was also at the centre of the people of surrounding areas.

The town of Kishorgonj, the birthplace of the author, stood on the banks of an emaciated river, which would flow in full swing during the rainy season. The river was not highly significant to the whole topography but it was like the Nile of Egypt to the author. The river was so important to the author that he considered his town as the gift of that small river. The writer comments "But we loved the stream. To compare small things with great, it was our Nile. Our town was the gift of the river."  The river came in use to the people of the adjacent areas in various ways. The townspeople and the villagers drank its water, bathed in it, paddled in it. Some domestic and pet animals also would take bath in the same river. More importantly the river was a means of communication for the villagers. They used to go from one place to another through that river and cary goods to the marketplace. River was the most important gift of nature to the people of that area.

In the dry season the river remained dry and appeared like a withered channel, but in the rainy season it became a centre of activity for many people, especially for the fishermen. The author gives a lively description of fishing by the villagers in the river -- "They came with bamboo fishing cages and small fishing nets fixed to bamboo poles slung under their arms. They had flat and wide-brimmed leaf hats on the head, but nothing beyond the thinnest of modesty clouts below the belt. They ran into the water with loud shouts, scattered into small parties, and plunged and shoved in search of fish." The river had another impact upon the villagers. During the rainy season when it became full to the brim and even overtlowed and submerged the adjacent areas it eliminated the demarcation line between the poor and the rich- "The contrast between the general poverty and the few surviving heirlooms of our river vanished for about  four months every year." Thus the river caused the important thing of bringing down the rich to the same line of the poor as flood water spared nobody. The river often offered a soothing sight to the writer and the others. During the rainy season when the river became swift and allowed navigation, the boats appeared like migratory birds on the river. It was one of the loveliest and prettiest sights of the river. The boats with kerosene lamps and the deep light that they produced appeared like mysterious Clements on the water--  "During the day the boats were a pretty and friendly sight. At night they became something more, mysterious. They themselves could be seen only as blurred masses, for their little kerosene lamps could never break up the nearly solid darkness around them, but the reflections of these lamps  seemed to set the fringes of the river on fire."

The river offered fun and pleasure when every year on one day of August or September a colourful boat race took place in it. Hundreds of boats appeared on the scene and they were of different shapes and colours adomed with colourful statues of various creatures like tigers, leopards, peacocks or dolphin etc. the oars of the boats were also painted and the race created endless sensation among the inhabitants of the surrounding areas. The author records the sensation and bewildering impact that he felt during the occasion of the boat race - "A more congruous pageant was provided for us on one day of August or September, on which took place the grand boat race of the year, Scores of racing boats came for the occasion .. We gazed bewitched at the boats as they darted past us one after another to the accompaniment of tremendous chorus, and we trembled with suspense when the fantastic Ootar boat, which looked more like a rainbow floating upside down in the water than a boat, came gliding with its apparent disequilibrium in the patqh of the shooting racers."

Thus the river established a deep nexus with the villagers and town people. It offered them food; it was a means of traffic; it gave them unsoiled pleasure at different occasions of the year. But it also caused pain and made life difficult when it overflowed to cause flood and submerged the adjacent areas.


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