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QUEST FOR SELF: A STUDY OF THE DILEMMA OF MODERN MAN WITH REFERENCE TO ARUN JOSHI’S THE LAST LABYRINTH

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Abstract The present research work focuses on the dilemma of the modern man with the clear insight of the quest of the protagonist, Som Bhaskar. The focus is to show how the modern and technological expansion, cause lot of harm to the social milieu
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  About Us | Editorial Board |Submission Guidelines |Call for Paper  Paper Submission | FAQ  |Terms & Condition |  More…….    IJELLH ISSN-2321-7065 Volume V, Issue VII July 2017 73 DR. DEEPALI SHARMA ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AMITY UNIVERSITY UTTAR PRADESH QUEST FOR SELF: A STUDY OF THE DILEMMA OF MODERN MAN WITH REFERENCE TO ARUN JOSHI’S THE LAST LABYRINTH    Abstract The present research work focuses on the dilemma of the modern man with the clear insight of the quest of the protagonist, Som Bhaskar. The focus is to show how the modern and technological expansion, cause lot of harm to the social milieu of India. The accomplishment of the pristine targets, of affluence, employment and leverage by any mechanism are in reality, a repercussion of the process of social progress and industrialization under the impact of the West. Futility of desires, anomie, utter chaotic situations, despondency, and erosion of values  –   all these things highlight the futility of existence. . Through intense self-examination and soul- searching, Joshi’s heroes attempt to finally get the way to the intricate labyrinth of life and arrive at a personal equilibrium and fulfillment. Arun Joshi has highlighted most effectively some of the internal metaphysical and ethical questions. The research ponders on the need to expose the westernized Indian aristocracy, which has lost its spiritual roots by scrutinizing the conundrum of one’s existence with substantial potency resistant to an outspread backdrop of maturity. The narrative investigates the concept of detachment and the hankering for the obligatory of life in the metaphorical quest from ignorance to enlightenment of the narrator-hero Som Bhaskar. Som is a young, educated and intelligent millionaire industrialist. Arun Joshi in the novel divulges himself as a person who exposes the hollowness of the western culture and its negative impact on Indian psyche.  Key Words: Quest, Expedition, Existence, Dilemma, Spirituality.   IJELLH ISSN-2321-7065 Volume V, Issue VII July 2017 74 India was a legend long before the Englishmen came and established themselves as the rulers of this land. The accession of the Englishmen furnished the people of India with the juncture of a different culture, western culture. Indian for ages followed its old ancient culture with Sanskrit and other languages as the part of their life before the coming of the colonizers. With the inception of English language and English schools, old beliefs and values started losing their impact on the psyche of the people of India. The speedy modern and technological expansion, the modernization of life is the cardinal facets of the advanced civilization which caused lot of harm to the culture of India. With the progressive plea and re-shaping strategies, the social milieu led to pragmatism. The modern man has completely engrossed in participating in the new venture of life hence detached from the society and his own self. With the inception of modernism, man’s psyche incessantly tarnished the resentment, gloom and abandonment of the conventional standards that had perpetuated the whole generation  before Independence. The craft of living a troubled life without stress, soul searching, preserving human kinship can collaborate to be called as a sign of backward. This backwardness is nothing  but an utterance of modern man’s detachment from his inner self and from the cosmos. The Englishmen did not only vandalize the indigenous cultural values of India, they have also disfigured the essence of the culture of India. The accomplishment of the pristine targets, of affluence, employment and leverage by any mechanism are in reality, a repercussion of the  process of social progress and industrialization under the impact of the West. Man, in this dehumanized and preface world, has lost his individual identity and has gone away from the reach of the voice of his soul. He suffers from a sense of not-belonging. He, to his utter confusion and consternation, has become merely an automation driven by impersonal forces. He fails to realize his desires and the true meaning of his life. Life to him is nothing but, merely a conundrum. He is secluded from society, from cosmos, and what is worst, from him. Futility of desires, anomie, utter chaotic situations, despondency, and erosion of values  –   all these things highlight the futility of existence. This situation persists in spite of incredible and astounding  progress in science and technology. The material achievements have not added to the equanimity. Man has become lugubrious, despondent, baffled and topsy-turvy. Man, in the wide world, found himself in a horrible state of unwantedness, aloofness and foreignness. It is a  IJELLH ISSN-2321-7065 Volume V, Issue VII July 2017 75 realization that has gripped the world. The think-tank of the twentieth century, everywhere under the sun, looked concerned with this lethal predicament. The Indian-English writers are no exception. They give vent to this feeling faithfully in their works. The Indian novelists writing in English have explored the wide implications of this search of self in their works. They have tried to evolve or discern a strategy that may lead one to a state of de-alienation. There are a large number of Indian writers  –   Arun Joshi, Anita Desai, Mulk Raj Anand, Bhabani Bhattacharya, Kamala Markandaya, Chaman Nahal, R.K. Narayan and many others  –   who express emphatically this feeling of man’s isolation on this  populous planet. Arun Joshi’s novels gives a clear insight to an Indian response, although acritical response, to the challenges of our time. The process of adjustment of the time-defying Indian wisdom to the new cultural values of the West, are studied through the crises of Joshi’s westernized heroes from the upper-crust of Indian social milieu. Josh i’s heroes, like the ancient  sages of the great epics, fall back upon their internal nature. After finding no hope, no light, no support to the ever chasing and bewildering questions about their existence, they look into their shining souls. Through intense self-examination and soul- searching, Joshi’s heroes attempt to finally get the way to the intricate labyrinth of life and arrive at a personal equilibrium and fulfillment. Arun Joshi has highlighted most effectively some of the internal metaphysical and ethical questions. Arun Joshi, being an Indian writer could not avoid the extensive and infinite impression of the teaching and morals of The Bhagwat Gita  on Indian psyche. According to the  belief The Bhagwat Gita, is not solely a sacred writ but a terrestrial testimony which emblematizes men’s constant dilemma, extraction, quarry and embroilment as much as avouchment of certitude. The foundational preeminence of The Gita  is on man and how he should execute. There are many instances where the scribbler has interpolated the values of The  Bhagwat Gita , enunciating the distress, the dilemma and the crusade. The novelist’s reconnaissance into the intricacy of life stirring on the individual usually conduce to a categorization for maneuvering of relic auscultate to avouch severely ingrained in the credence of his antecedent. G.A. Ghanshyam and Vasumati d elicately observes, “Joshi’s novels provide an Indian response, although a critical response, to the challenges of our time. These processes of  IJELLH ISSN-2321-7065 Volume V, Issue VII July 2017 76 adjustment of the time-defying Indian wisdom to the new cultural values of the west are studied through the cris es of Joshi’s westernized heroes from the upper  - crust of Indian society.”   The Last Labyrinth  (1981) is Arun Joshi’s fourth novel. The novel has won Sahitya Academy Award for its excellence and it is acclaimed to be a masterpiece. The initial setting of the novel takes us to the house of the protagonist, Som Bhaskar whose house is near the sea with its mysteriousness at the far end the shores of another continent. The depth of the sea is immeasurable so as the life of the individual. The values of the historical past which used to make life sublime and meaningful have lost somewhere in the rapidly ever-growing civilization. Human beings in their race of achieving more and more have forgotten their precious past and adopted a new culture of their colonizers. Another setting of the novel is Anuradhapura, A city of ruins, which represents the ruins of the India’s glorious past . Arun Joshi describes the westernized Indian aristocracy, which has lost its spiritual roots by scrutinizing the conundrum of one’s exist ence with substantial potency resistant to an outspread backdrop of maturity. The narrative investigates the concept of detachment and the hankering for the obligatory of life in the metaphorical quest of the narrator-hero Som Bhaskar. Som is a young, educated and intelligent millionaire industrialist. The novelist characterizes Som Bhaskar as a person of modern generation who represents the hollowness, the incompleteness, the chaos and the uncertainty. He agonizes from an incorporeal hunger and restlessness. Throughout his life, he has the quest in his mind, “Through the light of my days and the blackness of my nights and the disquiet of those sleepless hours beside my wife, within reach of the tranquillisers, I had sung the same strident song: I want. I wa nt. I want. I want.”  The quest is not the quest of Som Bhaskar alone but the quest of every common individual in this modern world who has lost somewhere in this materialistic world and has stopped listening his inner voice. The novelist has delineated th e dilemma of modern man’s life with the meaninglessness of his life. Som in the novel is never at peace. There is a constant urge in him to find the meaning of life. He identifies a desolated self, inertia and seclusion within himself and astray in the lab yrinth of thoughts. He has been tormented by a bare self and comments, “It is the voids of the world, more than its objects, that bother me. The voids and the empty spaces, within and
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