Humbling and Humility by Rian Nejar
My rating: 0 of 5 stars
EDITORIAL REVIEW (from the publisher)
Content Synopsis and Structure
‘Humbling and Humility’ (HnH) is a personal narrative of an Indian American father and husband, an immigrant into the land of opportunity that is America, betrayed by his spouse and humiliated by the state, who overcomes unimaginable adversity to reaffirm his cultural values and discovers peace within.
This father, a technology entrepreneur, is forced to undergo a court-mandated intervention process, for domestic violence education, that comprises the first act of the narrative. The classes he attends are interesting and humor filled, with intriguing participants from a variety of cultures, sessions that provide common experiences and a clear view of a deeply biased system whose nature is not only obvious to all participants but also affirmed so by representatives of the state. He engages with this process diligently, questioning and clarifying the actions and assumptions by the state that forces such experiences upon its citizens. This process helps the protagonist confirm what he has known all along – knowledge that upends conventional thinking.
In the second part of the narrative, the protagonist attempts to maintain integrity of his family, but soon develops greater clarity about an individualistic (American) perspective adopted by his spouse, the antagonist. Rather than rely upon contemporary social methods and practices that partition a family, he accommodates his spouse’s demands creatively, and strives to maintain a reasonable family life for his small children. Finding this task somewhat beyond his capabilities and tolerance, he applies himself to helping other Indian American families undergoing similar domestic discord with limited success. His idealism develops into a pragmatic perspective on contemporary family life for all immigrants.
The final act of the narrative finds the protagonist taking a philosophical approach, adapting to social practices alien to him, and finding small measures of peace in other aspects of life that contribute to happiness. He finds greater clarity not only in his own direction ahead, but also in his view of the ills of social systems that entrap and torment everyone, especially immigrants in America.
The narrative is based upon true events. It is a sympathetic depiction of the price of infidelity and self-orientation, the benefits of restraint and social consciousness, and the gifts of uncommon empathy, compassion, and love.
In non-fictional form, the work does not promote characters or a plot. The protagonist and the antagonist are developed, albeit gradually, as are others undergoing similar challenges. A principal focus is upon learning throughout, through agonizing experiences, through individual confrontations, the clash of cultures, and choices made to address intractable social problems. The plot, if one could fashion any such from the narrative, is that of an irreconcilable domestic conflict and a father’s attempts to navigate his children and himself through without harming the innocent.
The narrative takes a highly critical look at law enforcement, prosecution, and correctional practices applied in America. The story begins with the father facing corrupt and unyielding processes of American policing, details the swing of the pendulum mode of excessive force and incarceration by the state, and illustrates the ineffectiveness and social harm of such punitive methods of a legal system. The epilogue refreshes readers’ memory of the protagonist’s knowledge and experience, of the impact of a big man of the law in a southwestern state of America, introduced at the beginning.
As for the father’s personal journey, he grows in the reader’s mind as a lover and warrior at heart…loving others, his children, family, and all life. His learning (enlightenment, if you will) may be summed up in a noteworthy comprehension of his life’s purpose. This is perhaps best expressed in the words of Sitting Bull, one among noted Native American leaders:
“The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take another’s life. The warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves, and above all, the children, the future of Humanity.”
In a land where materialism rules, Humbling and Humility’s protagonist found in himself traits of a warrior, of a suppressed culture native to this land, one that has through a quirk of history also been named ‘Indian.’
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