The Fakeer of Jungheer is a long poem by Henry Louis Vivian Derozio. He was born on 18th April, 1809 in Kolkatta, West Bengal. He was a lecturer and poet. He is considered to be an academic and educator During his time Literary Movement of Bengal Renaissance was undergoing. He was an Indian poet and assistant head principal at the Hindu College of kolkatta. He was a radical thinker and one of the first Indian educators to disseminate western Education and science among the young men of Bengal.
He died of Cholera at the age of 22. Long after his death, his influence lived among his former student, who came to be known as young Bengal and many of whom became prominent in social reform law and journalism. Inspired by the scenic beauty of the river Ganga, he started writing poetry. He was generally considered an Anglo-Indian being of mixed partuguese desent, but he was fired by patriotic spirit for his native Bengal and considered himself Indian.
He wrote many wonderful poems in English before his untimely death of which.
The Fakeer of Jungheera was one of the most important landmark in the history of patriotic poetry in India. As he considered India to be his mother he worried about Indian social, political and religious problem. He also worried about the class and caste discrimination. In his days Bengal faced many problems of caste and creed. The reassessment and inclusion of Derozio in the canon of Derozio in the canon of Indian writing in English has to do with many factors, like communism, religious aspects, colonial aspects. In ‘The Fakeer of Jungheera’ Deroiz mixed the tantric, Hindu, Mythological, Islamic and Cristian tradition. He got the idea about writing the poem of spiritual love from Baital Pachisi. As the story goes, if King Vikram remains stead fast in his love for his queen he can resurrect her and once more both can find happiness together. The dauntless fortitude and courage that The King exemplifies by passing through the horrible ordeals in the graveyard leading to his triumph, inspire conclusion to the tragic death of the Fakeer in the arms of his beloved Nuleeni. If the Nuleeni can again be resurrected in the arms of the Fakeer if she can pass through the horrors and temptations of life. Fakeer and Nuleeni are two star crossed lovers like Romeo and Juliet.
In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet were the children of two enemies whose love brought the tragic end. Here, in ‘The Fakeer of Jangheera’. Fakeer is the follower of Islam. Fakeer means saint a person who has renounced the world but here he loves a lady Nuleeni who is married and also an uppercaste Female. Nuleeni was married to a Brahmin. Her husband dies in an early youth. Naleeni, the beloved of Fakeer never loved her husband. In the days of never loved her husband. In the days of Henry Derozio Indian subcontinent was cought by many evils like ‘Sati Pratha’ killing girl child by boiling the still born baby in the hot pot of milk etc. Nuleeni belonged to a conservative Hindu society in the nineteenth century. She was pure and beautiful she doesn’t went to end her life behind a person whom she never loved. Nuleeni was brought to the spot where her husband is to be cremated. Women were singing songs praising sati. They sang of going to heaven but poor Nuleeni was lost in the thoughts of Fakeer.
She refuses to die on the funeral pure of her husband and esapes with the bandit faker to his cave in Jungheera to a life from death; She escaped death but she starts a life of forbidden love though frightened by violent social norms she believes that her lover’s courage and her anfailing love will finally make them victorious. Her fair and beautiful face brightens the dark social setting of the poem and mitigates the bold audacity of the Fakeer who snatches her from the midst of a group of mourning upper caste Hindu at the Funeral. In the intense bond of love they forgot the society. They forgot their caste discrimination. They forget strength of power. They Forgot strength of power. They Challenged the man made norms of the society. Both of them completely forgot themselves and did not realize that their lives were at risk. Fakeer, bravely snatched her from the hands of so called upper-class people. Would they tolerate this insult of taking away of female by weaker sect.
Here, the brave rebellion of the weaker sect draws the attention to the inequality of the sexes and social malaise rampant in Bangali Society of the time. In can say that the poem makes an important stage in the use of social themes in literary texts endorsing a syncretistic tradition quite popular in 19th century Bengal. Instead of be laboring upon the misery of slavery, Derozio embarked upon a mission of resolving some of the inherent evils of Hindu society especially the practice of widow burning. The romantic atmosphere is raise due to the development of Hindu-Muslim love affair. The Fakeer of Jungheera is in two cantos of twenty eight and twenty four stanzas respectively written in the iambic, anapestic, trochaic and dactylic meters to suit the different rhythems ranging from the normal spoken voice and slow description to the racy battles and the chant of priests and women. The poem starts with nature’s description and then takes many twists. The poem deals with many serious issues of social evil along with the tragic love affir as the protagonist of the poem is a robber Fakeer who belongs to some unidentified Muslim sect, While the heroine, the widow Nuleeni, comes from an upper caste Bengali Hindu family.
Derozio uses Cristain Imagery, Such as heaven and angles flitting about. He juxtaposes this imagery against the Hindu tradition of sati and muslim prayers. He imitates the English Romantic poets like wordsworth, shelly and Coleridge. In the poem, the imagination is marvelous. Derozio breaks all the norms of writing of the contemporary poem writing. It was not easy for the contemporary writers to break the established laws and at the same time challenging the upper-class of the cosecant. He wanted to eradicate the social evils that slowly swallowed the society. This Hindu-Muslim love story arose great sensation. The poet was marginalized in his time. The poet paints the heroine as a ‘perfect’ Bengali beauty – with large black eyes, black in braided tresses, a pale lily complexion and majestic walk. When she arrives at the funeral her eyes searched somebody when he comes she escapes with. He, her lover Fakery had to fight before taking his beloved with him. At the Fakeer’s cave. Nuleeni and he lived very happily. They both are lost in the materialistic. They both are lost in the materialistic imaginative life. They are lost in their world. But Nuleeni in the midst of happy life always feared of some unseen danger.
Here, the midst of happy life always feared of some unseen danger. Here, the description of nature seems to be one with the feeling of the love. The first canto of the poem mainly deals with the fantastic description of nature, the funeral procession of a Bengali upper-class Hindu family’s son, the escape of the widow with her faker lover to his cave. The upper-class widow lived with many maid lives happily in the cave of her Fakeer lover always waiting for something unseen to harm them. She smelt something wrong. She worried for she doesn’t want to depart from her lover at any cost. Many a times through the poetry we see her lost in her world, sometime. We see Fakeer lost in his dreamland. As happens in ancient Greek tragedies and Shakespearean tragedies, their tragic doom and mistake of risking their life were waiting for them. As they were run-away lovers Nuleeni’s father – the so called upper-class widow’s father would definitely revenge him.
Now, Derozio sees love between a Hindu and a Muslim as transcending religion, though this could be Derozio’s own atheistic vision of religion categories based on his rationalistic temper. There was a hardening of identity of Bengali Muslims in the subcontinent as Islam provided ‘a sense of belonging’ to the Muslim community. In the absence of powerful Muslim leadership in 19th century Bengal, the ulema emerged as the leaders. Britishers were partial too. On one hand the prohibited sati system on the other hand they allowed being sati with permission. The hardening of religious categories in colonial Bengali lays the ground for the inevitable conflict that ensues in the second canto. In the beginning of the canto the end lies. The popular belief that love for a woman can lead any god-fearing young man away from the worship of Allah. Then starts the tragic events one by one. The father of beautiful widow Nuleeni determines to avenge Fakeer. He goes to Shah Shiva the king of his time. He requests him to send his army with him to avenge the Fakeer.
The uncertainty of life and death begins at this stage. Nuleeni’s father comes to the place where the lovers lived with the army to avenge his insult. He did not even think of his daughter’s happiness or love. Now Fakeer has no choice, if he runs away from the battle field. He would be caught and punished. He decides to fight back the army of Nuleeni’s father. The story at this point becomes somewhat sketchy but the robber Fakeer decides to make a lost stand and fight. However Nuleeni fears that the dubious hour might bring doom : Let me warn the that our doom so bright may darkly end – as darkly speeds the night – But the Fakeer is confident of Victory. Ere long I’ll worn thee in my breast again – With the ‘battle cry’ of ‘the moslem ringing afar’ to fight the ‘royal cavalry’, he is mortally wounded with a lance.
Nulleeni cradles him in her arms and dies together with him – he ‘eloquence had all burned out’. She becomes a free agent to choose her destiny; she prefers to die together with someone she loves than with her husband whom she does not. In ancient India woman were allowed to choose their life partners on their own. In our Epics sita, Rukmani, Sati, Parvati (The incarmation of Sati) Draupadi, Subhadra, Kunti, Gandhari, Sanyogita etc. Choose their husband on their own. In absence of Pritiviraj Chauhan Sanyogita put garland on his statue and took her with him – such was grand and glorious past culture of India which was ruined due to foreign invasion.
Nuleeni did not die behind her husband. Now, she is free here to die with Fakeer. She did not die with her husband because she did not love him but she loved Fakeer beyond anything else in the world. For him she left all the luxuries of her life, He also risked his life to be united but they were doomed to depart. Nuleeni decides to die behind him. The Sanskrit word sati means a ‘good and vitreous woman’ who was truly devoted to her husband. And according to the Hindu tradition these virtues found expression is the ultimate act of self-immdation. Women who sacrificed themselves continued to be called sati long after they were dead and usage of the term ‘to the sacrifice alone, the act as well as the agent.
The secular and universal ideas that Derozio espoused in his poetry do not go well with the separatist and divisionary politics of modern India. These are some of the revisionist consequences of modernity. However, the ‘modes of social life’ that emerged in the early nineteenth century in response to modernity in India now take us ‘beyond modernity’ into the information age. If India must shine it must do so within its own traditions and Derozio occupies a central place in it. The poet through the impossible and bold story of love – affair between Hindu upper-class widow and a Muslim lower class Fakeer reflected and criticized the evils of Indian Society.