Friday, May 17, 2013

‘Shame’ Character of Omar Khayyam Shakil

Character of Omar Khayyam Shakil

v  Introduction:-
            Shame is more compact than other novels of Rushdie. It is a three dimensional novel- political, social and cultural. It is a story of the rise and fall of three families, three sisters and three queens- Biquis, Sufiya and Naveed. The tree sisters are Chummy, Munee and Bunny. The three countries are Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.
            Shame is about what happened to the other half of the sub-content after 1947. It depicts the contemporary political situation in Pakistan. The main plot of the novel revolves around the lives of Omar Khayyam Shakil and Sufiya Zinobia. The society in Pakistan is by and large repressive. It is a society which is authoritarian in its social and sexual code which cruses its women beneath the intolerable burdens of honour and proprietary.

v  The identification between Omar’s life and the public life:-

            The identification between the public and the private’s affairs is so complete in each of Rushdie’s novel that it is not possible to separate them. It is his feature that gives unity to the plots of his novels. The interaction of historical and individual force has made each of his heroes what he is. In “Shame” Omar identifies Pakistan’s present and future along with his own. The interplay of the personal and the national history is most significant feature of ‘Shame.’ Like Saleem Sinai, the hero of Midnights’ Children’, here Omar say, “Who, What am I ? My answer; I am the sum total of everything that went before me, of all I have done of everything done to me. I am everyone. Everything. I am anything that happens after I have gone which would not have happened if I had not come. I repeat for the last time; to understand me, you will have to swallow world. ”
            Thus Omar has a deep influence on the fate of a nation. He is linked with the history both literally and metaphorically, actively and passively. He is inevitably and unavoidable related to his own  world.

v  Omar Khayyam Shakil; haunted by Shame and Shamelessness.

            Omar Khayyam Shakil, the hero of the novel; is haunted by Shame and Shamelessness. He is born of three mothers- Chhunni, Munee and Bunny but he does not know who is his real mother to the end of his life. He does not even know ho is this father though he comes to know during his school day that he is an illegitimate child born of a British Office by one of his mothers. Even his mothers do not show any felling of dihonour when Omar is conceived. He enters life without befit of divine approval which is must for a Muslim Child. When he was twenty years old, His younger brother was also claimed by three females. Thus his character makes it clear that foul is fair and fair is foul. Shame is honour and honour is Shame in Pakistan

v  Omar; An unspeakable Personality:-
            Omar is an unspeakable personality. He is fat, ugly and scandalous to the lowest degree. He is a rascal, a voyeur who takes advantage to gullible women in the guise of mesmeric medical treatment. He marries unspeakable a woman who is as good as a beast, who has a child’s mind in a woman’s body. He is bred and brought up by three mothers simultaneously and borne in three legendary wombs as a foetus. Yet his marriage links him to the topmost people in Pakistan’s history and becomes the son in law of President Razor Guts Hyder Raza who is a caricature of Zia. Thus he has unmentionable pedigree.
v  Omar and Sufiya; products of Cultural Climate:-
            The hero Omar and the heroine Sufiya Zinobia represent ‘Disorder of Pak society. They are products of the cultural climate. Their violence seems to be blind and pointless, but is also illustrated well known historical truth about dictatorship rule in Pakistan. They represents mob violence, a rumour, a beast the collective fantasy of oppressed people and a dream born of their rage. Rushdie remarks, ‘Here you have to make connection between shame and violence. If you push the people too far and if you humiliate them too much then a kind of violence bursts out of them.”  
            He tries to highlight transcultural relationships between and individual and the historical forces. About Pakistan’s history he bitterly remarks, “It is history was old and rusted. It was a machine, nobody had plugged in for thousands of years, and here all of a sudden. It was being asked for maximum out put”

v  Omar: Representative of novelist’s ego and satirical venom
            In “Shame”, the role of Omar Khayyam is quite identical with that of Saleem Sinai in “Midnight’s Children”. Both represent the novelist’s ego and satirical venom against filthy politics of India and Pakistan. Both are supremely grotesque vehicles for linking fanciful family-tale and murky political history. Through Omar’s character, Rushdie mercilessly attacks the so-called political leaders like a wolf or wolf child. His unnatural surroundings make him suspicious of what he himself calls the corpses of his useless, massacred history.  Raza call such a history ‘a rite of blood’ and his wife, Biquis, grows suspicious of it and pushes it away like a poor relation.

v  Conclusion:-
            Through Omar’ character, Rushdie shows the significance of the past in an individual’s life. He remarks, “What you were forever who you are. Most of what matters in your life takes place in your absence.” That way, he has made a sincere effort in this novel to explore bi-othicity and bi-culturalism. In “Grimus”, the character named Ignatius Quasimodo Gribb defines race-memory as “the sediment of highly concentrated knowledge that passed down the ages, constantly being added to and subtracted upon. “

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