Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Bishwasghaatak: A Bengali Novel by Narayan Sanyal

This is a story of Manhattan Project, that is, the making of Atom Bomb in Los Alamos Virginia.

The plot is a mystery story, to find the person (scientist) who also supplied the formula of the bomb to Russia, while working in the team in America.

The story tells us the point of view of the scientist why he took the decision.

It is to keep the readers guessing that I am not mentioning his name here :D

At first about the writing. The very thing which attracts our attention while starting the novel, is the explanations of all the tough chemical formula/ theory in Bengali. Narayan Sanyal has done such a wonderful job here! Lucid language makes it easy for even a lay man to understand the difficult scientific procedures. How the energy inside the atom is released is narrated with step by step inventions by the scientists as well as with illustrations by the writer himself. I personally enjoyed this part of the book very much. Before starting the main storyline, Narayan Sanyal introduces us to the process of how actually the bomb is made.

Then in the story, we meet so many famous personalities! Famous in history or scientific world, like- J Oppenheimer, R Feynman, Max Planck, L Szilard, Niels Bohr, Hans Bethe and many more.

Many life stories by eminent writers or the autobiographies of the scientists themselves were the source of this novel, according to the Index at the back of the novel. Thus we can find so many amusing incidents about all of them in the story. Really enjoyable and astonishing! They tell us about those persons, their habit, their genius, way of working, their faith- we get amazed while reading them! We feel as if we are present when all these we were happening :).

The story unfolds itself in a very interesting manner. At first the probe begins about the probable traitor. Then the writer takes us back to the early days how the plan to make a nuclear bomb was first conceived. Then contacting the famous scientists and the various stages of research work. Then actual making of the bomb and all the discussions on the part of the Government and the scientists. We get a glimpse of the different characteristics of all those persons involved in the work from 1942- 1946. So many aspects are there in the whole story that it is impossible to write about all of them. You need to read the book to realise the full implication of the nuclear bomb. How some of the scientists were concerned about the well being of the world, how the endeavours of Einstein went in vain, how the wrong assumption about the research work going on in Germany led the scientists of America work harder, how the World War forced so many people along with the scientists to leave their motherland in Europe and take refuge in America and work for them (America). Life presents such difficult situations in front of us!

One interesting thing also is the way the scientists of Germany were working, how they coped with the existing situation there and decided to continue their work in an intrigued manner. We feel the emotions of all those characters while reading about them.

I enjoyed the story because of its unique storyline, detailed information and the way the case is dealt with.

At the end there is a Timeline also, so that the reader we can look at the happenings with reference to history. Another list of the spellings of the original names of the personalities  mentioned in this book along with the Bengali spelling which Narayal Sanyal used in the novel is also there. Some more Notes are also there at the end of the book which are very helpful for the readers.

Really a wonderful work by the multifaceted Narayan Sanyal!

(Here I have uploaded the cover photo of the 2014 edition of the book by Dey's Publishing.
Cover photo used only for the purpose of appreciation, no personal profit intended.)

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