Sanjib Das

Research scholar (M.Phil), Dibrugarh University(Assam)


Dhruba Hazarika is an eminent writer from North-East India who writes in English language. In his writings, Hazarika has a profound impact on the reader’s mind through his depiction of the relation between human and the world of nature. His writings are ornamented by natural elements such as birds, animals, forests, trees, hillsides and so on. A beautiful natural landscape of the North-eastern region is felt throughout the body of his writings. His famous book Luck (2009) is a collection of nine short stories speaking of the natural richness, amazing bio-diversity, rivers of the North eastern part of India. Even though the stories are of the nature of common happenings, the author has turned them into narratives of heartfelt human experiences thanks to his knack for vivid description of things. Readers are touched by a refined sensation about the life’s worth in his attempt of associating men with nature, ordinary living beings, the silent landscape and the serene countrysides through his stories. This article is an attempt to enquire into the level of consciousness of the writer in his narratives about the relationship of the space and the ecological culture with a reference to the story collection Luck in particular. Although Luck comprises of nine stories, this article aims to consider six of them, and these are “The Hunt”, “The Leopard”, “Luck”, “Chicken Fever”, “Vultures” and “Soul Egret.”

Keywords: Nature, Man, North-east, Birds, Humanity

Dhruba Hazarika’s understanding of life that is surrounded by Mother Nature is well reflected in his collection of short stories, entitled Luck (2009). He writes of moments when men encounter animals and the natural world, and moments when they encounter themselves. These are poignant, memorable stories from a literary imagination of uncommon honesty and sophistication. Luck is a collection comprising of the story of a hunt that goes brutally wrong in the jungles of Karbi Anglong; where a young magistrate on a police raid is saved from inhumanity by the sight of a hen and her chicks; where a solitary bachelor brings home a pigeon and learns the pain of loving a wild being; where an egret visits a man on a moonlit night and three school boys chance upon a leopard and her killing in the hills outside Guwahati, among others. Readers often get to meet birds and animals throughout the book. These two messengers of nature are picked up as agents of his narration. Human being is considered not as an exception to nature; rather as a social animal. Hazarika also intends to reveal humans losing humanity amid his or her hectic everyday chores. He is interested to remind the readers of the belongingness to the world of nature by making an emotional bridge between humans and other natural beings. Through the stories, the author intends to tell the reader to take time out of their busy schedule and see through the eyes of the animals how cruel humans have become. The author takes into consideration the present scenario and blends it in to his works to show the past and present of the world between men and nature. Though the stories are regular and written in simple words, the impact is enormous on the reader’s mind.

This article is interested in an inquiry of the presence of nature in Dhruba Hazarika’s short story collection Luck. In addition to it, the article will try to explore the bio-diversity of the north-eastern part of India by emphasizing the relationship of man and other natural species. This study also shows how the countless challenges, struggles, life, culture and other regional features are unfolded via the body of literature of Dhruba Hazarika. At the same time his works have explicated universal appeal as a form of art because the basic human feelings like love, fear, sufferings, happiness etc are the same everywhere in the earth.

Literatures of the North- East, as we all know are most often dominated by the issues of politics, ethnicity, terrorism, backwardness etc., which are typical to the region. In most of the writings, seminars, journals these issues get much preferences. But Dhruba Hazarika is a writer who is interested in revealing the positive side of the region. He has tried to create a deep impact of nature in the reader’s minds by his mingling of man and nature in his writings. Luck portrays, as Ruskin Bond says, his “empathy with all creatures great and small” and is like a breath of fresh air in the body of North-East literature. The north eastern region is unique in many ways. The ethnic cultures and life close to nature are its specialities. Outsiders are mostly attracted by the manifold cultures, natural beauty, the unique living habits, rare animals and birds and long spanning tea gardens. Rich in fossil fuels, the region is also blessed with the mighty Brahmaputra and Barak that makes the soil fertile. The region being the foothill of the Himalaya enjoys moderate climate and the hills provide various natural resources along with their pristine beauty.

In the stories included in Luck, the protagonists in some ways form emotional ties with either a bird or an animal. In the story ‘Luck’, the company of pigeon brings the protagonist back to life. The pigeon as he believes is the harbinger of good fate into his life, which causes him to call the pigeon Luck. The narrator in this story establishes a bonding between man and the pigeon, and through the pigeon the man learns the true sense of happiness in life. The man realizes the value of life and the company of nature. At this point, the narrator steals a chance to glorify nature. A doomed man amidst the hectic schedule of everyday life can take shelter in the cradle of mother nature and can attain solace. In this vast world, man’s isolation is brought to light in the narrator’s desire to have pets right from his childhood. But somehow, for the countless numbers of parrots, pig, ducks, rabbits and dogs they got, his house turned unlucky. The pets either flew away or ran off and the narrator was led to feel that they were like “…guests who had been forced into being guests, or people who had strayed into camps that cut off their freedom, they stayed awhile, enlivening the compound, and then, when the spell came, they were gone and there was nothing you could do about it.”(Luck6) And the roadside mongrel he’d just tried to care for found comfort when they set him loose and let him find his own home wherever he was. These repeated experiences makes the narrator to believe that their “…house was taboo for animals and birds” and maybe even “for humans, since no man or woman lasted very long, either.” (Luck 6) Hazarika touches upon the issues of man’s loneliness, urge for company and the feeling of incompleteness in this story. Again the character of Ratan Deb Barman that we meet in the story ‘Chicken Fever’ is in a tandem with the hens to which he gave all his “ time and attention…much as army men polish their shoes and iron their uniforms at sunrise.” (Luck, 34). The young magistrate is always uncomfortable at home, with his newly married wife and is much concern about his limitations. He is given much relief by the hens that he has kept in the hen-coop to overcome all the difficulties that he is always disturbed by. He is now a completely changed person. We see the effect of how his seeing a fat black hen in a haystack has altered his mood in taking the decision of saving a girl in the course of a police raid. Here we see how the company of nature can heal a person out of desolation. Men’s bonding with his same kind is again portrayed with the character of Ratan Deb Barman, while he saves the girl from the heinous eyes of his own men as the policeman raided the huts. Even though his subordinates teased him for his eccentricities in saving the hen and her brood, Barman is eventually able to understand his wife better and the story ends, leaving a hint of a developing relationship between the husband and the wife. Dhruba Hazarika in these stories delineates individuals who are able to discover something common in other beings and this close bonding of man with nature has given the author much satisfaction and wonderful experience which has proven again helpful for him in dealing with life as well.

Through the various animals like dogs, pigeons, hens, deer and many more in his stories, the writer displays both the good and the bad side of humanity. These animals act as agents to bring out the good as well as the other side of human. One of the purest animals on this earth is the deer, and in the story, ‘The Hunt’, the narrator keeps the innocence of the deer and uses it to guide the readers through the inhuman acts of men. The story is an attempt to make humans aware of the sadness in the forest and its inhabitants and also to interrogate the human as a ‘superior being’. In the story, ‘The Leopard’, the writer intends to describe the surviving bio-diversity in reference to the Hengerabari Hills:

This was in the days when our hills were thick with trees— large, wide trunks and treetops so leafy that when it got really hot you could rest for a while in the shade and carry on, refreshed. (29)

The narrator emphasises that he has learnt certain truths of man’s experiences while he was recounting his experiences with nature. Hazarika’s revelation of the negative traits in the world of animals, similar to the world of man, is again portrayed in the story ‘Vultures’.   The narrator cannot identify the vultures feasting on the dead bodies as birds as for him birds were the “pigeons and sparrows and mynahs and parrots” which “lived on gram and green grass and the occasional earthworm. Birds were crows, despite their never ending cawing, and birds were owls, eternal in their dignity and wisdom. I could not think of vultures as birds.” (Luck 115) Hazarika probably includes a story on vultures to highlight similar characteristics in human beings. The way the author presents their physical description as “huge and ominous….black and grey and hunched, their necks old and crooked” (Luck 120) the reader can get a clear picture of similar characteristics in the world of human beings. Hazarika portrays these similar qualities in the world of human beings and the world of nature; positive aspects like motherhood as well as negative ones like destruction and the feral nature of both man and animals. Then again a clerk with unending problems in life is pacified by a brief physical contact with an egret one late night in the story ‘Soul Egret’. The narrator’s lonely existence is combated to a great extent by the songs of the egrets who live in the branches of the fig trees nearby his room.

To conclude, Dhruba Hazarika’s short-story collection Luck unbars a canvas by seeing which the reader can come to terms with the level of consciousness of the writer about the relationship of the space and the ecological culture. His attempts at glorifying nature is felt in the unending relationship between men and other creatures. He seems to have love and compassion for even the tiniest of lives. His empathy towards nature makes us rejuvenated by the realisation about the very reason of our existence. He is much attracted to see the forlornness of man -be it in the setting of the wildernesses of Karbi Anglong, the slopes of Shillong, or the staff quarters in Tezpur. Indeed, this solitudinarian nature is something  Hazarika himself shares with his characters, and in his forlornness, he himself  longs for comfort in the company of different creatures. Both cruelty and humanity go hand in hand throughout the text, and nevertheless a sense of realisation occurs towards the end of each story. In Luck , Hazarika displays his deep sense of belongingness to the space and its ecology thus to celebrate the attachment of man with the world of nature— a bond which is crucial from the perspective of a harmonious living in this earth. The stories of the collection are thus fictional constructs about the writer’s identification of the contingencies of nature and a justification of the context of living within the spatial dimensions of nature and a strategic denial of the coercive dimensions of urbanity.

Works cited:

Chowdhury, Payel dutta. “Exploring the Relationship between Man and Nature in Dhruba Hazarika’s Luck.” The Criterion: An International Journal in English, vol. 2, no. 4, Dec. 2011, pp. 217–222.

Hazarika, Dhruba. Luck. Penguin Books, 2009.

Kashyap, Aruni. 15 Nov. 2009,

Prajapati, Abhisarika, and Hriizhiini Mao. “Encounter of Man and Nature with Intervention of Scientific Advancement; Triumph of Humanity- A Study of Dhruba Hazarika’s Luck.” Dath Voyage: An International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies of English, vol. 4, no. 2, June 2019, pp. 67–79.,

Borah, jintu. “English Novels in the North East of India a Critical Analysis.”,

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Drishti:the Sight is a National refereed Bi-annual Research Journal in the disciplines of Arts and Humanities founded in the year 2012 publishing articles in the subjects of English Literature, Assamese Literature, Folklore, Culture.The journal has been enlisted in the UGC-CARE list (Sr.No. 42) in Arts and Humanities section.The journal is dedicated to the cause of young upcoming scholars of the nation.The journal publishes only authentic research articles. It tries to follow the research ethics to the core.