Press comments on the Author’s last book
‘Through The Eagle’s Eye’

 

THE HINDU


‘On a flight of fancy’

 

(A Four column picture of the author accompanied this write up)

 

M.B. Lal's brand new book, "Through The Eagle's Eye", offers a fresh
perspective into men's innate fixation with violence through the ages,
writes SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY

This surely is not a book that you think of writing in one day. Simply because not often do you find a topic that has the authority to amuse a reader with a rationale. Particularly those who have always nurtured a liking for topics touching philosophy.

Former journalist-turned-writer, M.B. Lal's book, "Through The Eagle's Eye" is much slimmer than his earlier tome, "Manikpur Junction" but has a real interesting perspective to offer when it comes to talking of man and his ways of life.

Importantly, it dabbles with the subject of man's innate fixation with violence through the ages, something that is worth sparing a thought in this century of aggression.

Fictionalising his characters who undertake an exotic journey in an eagleflown aerial chariot commanded by an ape, Lal has injected into the pages his understanding of the human mind stressing principally on where it wavers. All of 77 now, Lal says this is one subject that he has spent a lot of time thinking.

"I was 19 when the country saw independence. I won't be wrong if I say people of my generation have seen the world more than anybody because we have lived our lives during the British regime, saw independence, were brimmed with national pride, and by and by moved on to a jet set age from bullock carts. This long passage surely has so much to present to today's generation," he says. Pertinent enough for occurrences, like fashion, often tend to return in rotation and wisdom lies not just in understanding that but also in knowing where history went on the correct path and where it was wrong.

And then, there are issues of consistencies, the constant in a man's life throughout civilisations despite the changes.


Hanuman in The Ramayana

And herein, Lal's book has something fresh to offer. He talks of violence and bloodshed as not just a factor distinctive only in our century but in all centuries.

"Violence has always been a human nature," he declares. Using The Ramayana as a floorboard for his arguments in the story, he emphasises the character of Hanuman in the epic. "My point is, in conceiving Hanuman, was Valmiki looking for a peace loving specie as an alternative to war crazy man?" he says.

"No single book," Lal offers, "has influenced the Hindu mind more than The Ramayana over the last 3000 years. While translating Valmiki's works, the scholars stressed more on the devotional part, but the original version is the outpouring of direct revelations to the sage from Brahma."

"It is more of a study of Man than of Ram any day," he states. Well, enough ammunition perhaps to disappoint the rabid right-wingers of our generation but sufficiently appealing to raise everyone's interest in the subject.

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The Telegraph


Through the Eagle’s Eye by M.B. Lal has all the ingredients for a perfect fairytale. Mary and her boyfriend, Nakul, embark on a strange mission — to discover the secret code with the help of which the residents of a particular colony communicate with birds and animals. The two lovers choose an even stranger carrier, an eagle-flown aerial chariot under the command of an ape. This unusual
tryst includes visits to “mile-deep craters, forbidden terraces and even the viceroy’s palace”, all for the sake of breaking the secret code. However, Lal’s claim that his work is meant not only for the young but the old as well is quite fantastic, just like some of the events described in the book.


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The Tribune


“Fairy tales fascinate us all — books have immortalized such classic fairy tales as The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Puss in Boots etc. Lal has come up with a highly readable fairy tale set in the once idyllic vale of Kashmir. In this story, Mary is both fascinated and intrigued by the locals’ ability to communicate with birds and animals. She and Nakul decide to find out the secret code that
facilitates such communication. They are helped by divine beings and birds taking them on a journey that’s absolutely fascinating. Kids are going to love this book.”


At another level, Lal explains in the prologue, this book is an interpretation of Valmiki’s fascination with the human mind. He makes an interesting proposition, viz., Valmiki created the half-ape-half-man race of Vanaras because he was disillusioned with man. Lal avers that successive interpretations by Tulsidas etc concentrated on the Ramayana’s devotional aspect, ignoring its philosophical-visionary content. He buttresses his argument by quoting parables. Over to the scholars.


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The Statesman


“This book describes the adventures of Mary and Nakul as they travel in an eagleflown aerial chariot commanded by an ape. It’s an exotic journey, and one which has never been undertaken by anyone ever before. While children will enjoy this story for its thrills, adults will take it as an illustration of how language has shaped our thoughts to create the atmosphere of hatred and violence that surrounds us.”


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