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Saturday, November 14, 2009

pigeon story-2

Though I did not read this book..yet my brief sting with pigeons pursued me to include it here.

Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon is a 1928 children's novel by Dhan Gopal Mukerji that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literaturein 1928. It deals with the life of Gay Neck, a prized Indian pigeon.Mukerji wrote that "the message implicit in the book is that man andwinged animals are brothers."He stated that much of the book is based on his boyhood experienceswith a flock of forty pigeons and their leader, as the boy in the bookis Mukerji himself.He did have to draw from the experiences of others for some parts ofthe book, such as those who trained messenger pigeons in the war.The book offers an insight into the life of a boy of high caste duringthe early nineteen hundreds and also into the training of pigeons.Several chapters are told from Gay-Neck's perspective, with the pigeonspeaking in first person. Elizabeth Seeger writes in a biographicalnote about Mukerji that, "Gay-Neck was written in Brittany, where everyafternoon he read to the children gathered about him on the beach thechapter he had written in the morning." In an article in the children’s literature journal The Lion and the Unicorn, Meena G. Khorana calls the novel one of the few children’s novels from Western or Indian authors to explore the Himalayasin a meaningful way (rather than simply using them as a setting), andnotes the way Mukerji recalls their “grandeur and spiritual power”.

A brief glance:-

Gay-Neck, or ‘’Chitra-Griva’’, is born to a young owner in India.Gay-Neck’s parents teach him how to fly, but he soon loses his fatherin a storm and his mother to a hawk. His master and Ghond the huntertake him out into the wilderness, but he becomes so scared by the hawksthat he flees and ends up in a lamasery where the Buddhist monks areable to cure him of his fear. When his young master returns home hefinds Gay-neck waiting for him. But Gay-Neck decides to go on otherlong journeys, much to the boy’s consternation. Then, during World WarI, Gay-Neck and Ghond end up journeying to Europe where Gay-Neck servesas a messenger pigeon. He is chased by German machine-eagles (planes)and is severely traumatized when one of his fellow messenger pigeons isshot down. Gay-neck and Ghond barely survive, and Gay-Neck is unable tofly. Ghond, Gay-Neck, and his master return to the lamasery nearSingalila, where Ghond and Gay-Neck need to be cleansed of the hate andfear of the war. After that, Ghond succeeds in hunting down a buffalothat killed a villager, but feels remorse for having to kill thebuffalo. Gay-Neck disappears once more, but when the other two returnhome, they find, to their joy, that Gay-Neck had already flown thereahead of them.

1 comment:

Karthik said...

Seems interesting. Will try to get my hands on this book. Thanks!