Abir: Unveils Discriminatory Thinking About Organs

Book Review

Reading literature, for me, is a mind-blowing activity in leisure. I am passionate to read and write literature. So, to reward my passion, I randomly picked the Abir, a book of the novel written in the Nepali language, when I was on a holiday in Nepal. Symbolically, the name of the book is Abir (Nepali language) which is vermilion powder. And, the name of the main character is also Abir. Hence, the name of the book is taken from the name of the main character of the story which represents colour.

The author has opened the forum of discussion on discriminatory thinking of human between the parts of their body. Why “mother organ” is a symbol of shame?

ABIR is an outstanding novel authored by Tribhuvan Wagle, a Journalist and Anthropologist/Sociologist. The novel Abir has put the artist and the painting at the centre of the story. The author is able to give a powerful message through the main character Abir and his an abstract painting against social taboo. From his novel, the author tries to highlight the importance of women’s natural power. The story of the novel has been weaving around the plight of women, culture and belief. The author seems a creative, innovative, progressive and more feminist even more than a woman activist. His thought-provoking conviction underlines that every organ or the part of the human body is equally important, and they must be treated equally. The author has opened the forum for discussion on discriminatory thinking of human between parts of their body. According to the author why mouth is more respectful than Vagina? Aren’t they equally important for the human? Why vagina (in the novel it is called “mother organ”) is a symbol of shame? The author is critical about the role of media and women in creating positive wave around women. The period, conceive a baby and painful journey are the course of origin of life through the motherhood. This is nature. Hence, the author has stood on a strong ground of creative nature of woman and appealed to stand against social taboo. Hence this book is an amazing advocacy of motherhood.

The story of the novel begins from an abstract painting, which is painted by Abir. The painting is understood differently based on the different understanding level of different readers and their perception. Some say the painting is a Tri-Netra (third eye) of the God Shiva. The Shiva is the greatest god of Hindu religion and believed him that he has three eyes. So, they respect the painting as a representative of almighty God. And other says, no! The painting is a women organ Vagina. Illustrating women’s shame organ in canvas is the sheer dishonesty of culture and social norms. That is a shame! In such a way, the painting is viewed as a challenge against the culture and social norms. According to this view, the painting is liable to be banned. So, the police authority has unnecessary social pressure to take an action against Abir. Finally, after a long debate, Abir is sent to the police custody simply because of his ‘abstract’ painting and public belief on it. Indeed, abstract art does not represent a single meaning, rather it uses shapes, colours, forms and gestural marks to achieve a different effect. And, the abstract art let the reader freedom to understand how they perceive it.

ABIR: a novel by Tribhuvan Wagle

Whatsoever, the authority, a legacy of traditional society, understands that the painting is a move of inflaming social instability. And, society believes that the vagina is a shame to share, to care and discuss even in a rational way. Whereas, Vagina is a powerful, important and sensitive women (mother) organ, which helps to give birth. That is a way out of every human from fetus to the magic world. This is a reality! Unfortunately, the painting is at risk and the painter is suffering in jail for nothing. If anything, that is only a belief.

Police authority wants ABIR to accept his painting as a Tri-Netra of Shivaji. If he does so he will be free from the jail. But ABIR is adamant and refuse to do so because he believes in the sovereignty of the readers. Readers are free to understand the meaning and message of the treatise whatever they are seeing on it. That is how abstract art is unique and popular. And also, if he listens to the authority, he believes, the truth would be twisted. So Abir does not want to assassinate his belief by accepting the belief against his painting. Authority tries to use even his wife to convince Abir but his wife is very positive on Abir’s thinking.    

The important parts of the human body we know relatively little about – historically, there has been a lack of scientific understanding. Some of the human organs which are very important and sensitive but they are a shame to care, share and discuss. Due to what millions of people are suffering even in the educated and affluent society. The Ignorance of human in understanding the role and challenge of the organs is the shame, not the organ itself. And, after some days I found massive research published on the Guardian which has been shared here to understand the issue. Similarly, the documentary PERIOD, END OF SENTENCE, not a girl’s education”, which was recently awarded Oscar documentary award is also another marvellous lesson. These works are helpful to understand the important message of the Abir.

The way of presentation of the story is outstanding. The author has brought a hidden and suppressed issue on the surface, which seems a shame and stain on human rights and democracy. Mind-blowing writing skills of the author show that the novel is simple in words but the strong in meaning. The name of the novel Abir – vermilion powder a symbol of colour – is perfect. Indeed, I would suggest the author translate this book in the English and the Hindi language as well to cover a wider range of the reader. I would also suggest every woman read this novel to know their power. This is really a great piece of thought. Love it!

Anyone is welcome if they want to read, write and re-published this novel! Please let us know we will be in contact in due course.

ABIR- A novel | Author- Tribhuban Wagle | Publisher- Swadwsh Publication Pvt. Ltd | Pages- 156 | Edition 2018 (2075BS) | Price- NRs.250:00 ($ 2:20) | ISBN 978-9937-692-09-0

  • Reviewed by: Jagadish Wagle (Jesi)

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