Forays into Profanity and Profundity
A. Gangatharan
JUSTJOO-E-NIHAAN URF ROONIYABAAS KI ANTARKATHA by A. Banerjee Rajkamal Prakashan, New Delhi, 2004, 151 pp., 151.00
March 2004, volume 28, No 3

In sharp contrast is Jitendra Bhatia’s Justjoo-e-nihaan Urf Rooniyabaas Ki Antarkatha. This novel is about an ordinary journalist, Chandraprakash Chaubey, who fails in his investigative assignment but seeks to find a fresh meaning for his otherwise irrelevant ignominious life—investigating into the truth of an Ojhal Baba (Invisible Godman) living in some ruins near Rooniyabaas village and reputed to possess divine powers. This is the story of a man passing through the thorny path of life in search of a place to put his feet up. Two streams crisscross each other: one, the materialistic owner/manager of the newspaper, Navhind Samachar, and the other the insignificant journalist, bloodied by the barbed-wired hiding that he received at the hands of fate for thirty-five years and now trying to rediscover his faith and conviction in life, albeit along a hazy trail. The protagonist lurking around in the ruins by night, detecting flickers, is the objective correlative of this search. Juxtaposing the antithesis of this search is Parikh on the one hand and Shrimali, the Basnoda village chieftain, on the other.

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