I have read “Pratham Alo” (The First Light) by eminent author Sunil Ganguly recently and liked it very much. This novel is written in historical background of undivided Bengal including independent Tripura kingdom in the timeframe of 1882-1907. There are two main fiction characters amidst of the legendry characters of pre independence time. The Renaissances of Bengal as well as of India has been expressed unequivocally in this book.
The first revolution of pre independent era in Bengal was started that time. What I like most about this book is the representation of thoughts and lifestyles of Rabindranath and Tagore family, Vivekananda, Jagadish Basu, Mahendralal Gupta, Sister Nibedita etc. It was a story of reinvigoration of a demented society rejuvenated by these great men, who brought the first light in our society. There are many things to learn from them about how they handled difficulties in life. I started admiring them more deeply and specially Vivekananda and Rabindranath is now my source of inspiration.
The freedom fighting was started that time in Bengal, pioneered by National Congress, Mahatma Gandhi, Tilak, Arobindo Ghosh etc. Even the female character like Sarala Debi played significant role to ignite the confused Bengalis in contemporary time. This book reflects the resentment of common Bengalis at the time of Division of Bengal by British Emperor.
The cultural sides of Bengal also put up nicely in this book. The Theaters, small magazines, different festivals like Rakhi Bandhan have been described vividly. After reading the book I feel more proud to be associated with Bengali culture. The playing of various dramas in different Theaters was really praise worthy. However there are some dark sides of the society. The Babu culture, treatments of actresses, boundaries of house wives in contemporary society were not something to feel proud.
The ideology of the fictitious characters, Bhorot and Bhumisuta, influenced me deeply and I was moved by the consequence of their separation and grievances. Finally the destiny has taken them close to each other, which is something to cherish about.
Finally I must say that I am motivated by the book “Pratham Alo”. I am delighted to go though this master piece and got enough enthusiasm to read more books in relevant topics.