Shakkeela Sainu Kalarickal/ Punalur
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, and journalist. Many literary critics have rated him as one of the greatest novelists in all of world literature. Dostovsky along with twenty young men, were sentenced to death. He and others were to be hanged at a cross-road junction in St. Petersburg on a cold morning in 1849.
Death was knocking and coffins were kept for the burial of those who are being hanged. However a sudden twist of fate helped them become freemen, the reason is hitherto unknown. But many who had faced the ordeal of being hanged to death, turned mad as they had just come back from the noose tightening on their neck. He was lodged in a Siberian prison for four years and had to undergo compulsory military service for six years.
We cannot fully understand Dostovevsky’s life or works without going through this extraordinary experience and sadly, the life of Fyodor, the second son of a sadist military doctor was never comfortable at all.
It’s not surprising that the son of a strict and sadistic person who reaches home after fully drunk and one who tortures his wife and children at a drop of a hat beating and abusing them, leads a life of depression.
He was an introvert and confined to a corner of the class in college and was always isolated. Fyodor never indulged in any outdoor or indoor games and worse, there was no socializing for him. Sadly the youngster didn’t have money even for emergencies.
He somehow completed the college life without much to speak of. However he had a passion and that was reading and reading gave the youngster a feeling of liberation and exuberance. The youngster started reading whatever book he could get hold of.
However, he got a job as a designer immediately after completion of studies. This job was sort of a liberation for the youngster from his father’s strict control… He was immersed in all the happiness of youth and was always intoxicated. The mental level of Fyodor was just short of eccentricity.
Through such a wayward life, he turned into a life of gambling and liquor and this he commenced soon after getting a job and becoming independent.
Dostoevsky, in between decided that literature was his path of work and decided to resign from the job where he was working in and took a firm decision.
Life took a turn one fine day when Fyodor’s father who was a drunkard and ruthless at his own family, was beaten to death by a group of drunkards…This incident shook him completely…
He had epilepsy for the first time when he heard the tragic news.
It was while passing through that intense and traumatic phase of life that he took to writing and the book on poor people, ‘Poor Folk’ came out of his pen.
His literary life commenced as soon as this book, ‘ Poor Folk’ got published.
The ‘House of the Dead, Humiliated and Insulted, The Brothers Karamazov, ‘Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Gambler, Demons, and White Nights were some of the great works of this prolific writer. His work ‘Notes From Underground’ is considered one of the first works of existentialist literature.
Dostoevsky had said,’Life is becoming unbearably depressing due to loneliness and by reminiscing old memories that were not good to recollect and instead were constant ache in heart forever. He said that there is only one remedy for this tragedy and one way to escape from it and that was only art or creative work..
The trauma, loneliness and his painful and often miserable childhood, and his unpleasant college days are all reflected in each of the articles he had written. This includes his most popular and best-selling book ‘Crime and Punishment’ which has a global footprint in literary circles. There is a literary saying that he had written each piece by dipping his pen in his own blood. Thus was the trauma he had gone through.
Each and every work of Fyodor can be considered as reflecting his genius as well as taking the reader to a different plane and that which can stir the soul and mind of each reader through the stories that are taken directly out of practical sufferings and miseries of life.
Dostoevsky can be considered as a writer or rather an individual who had come with a Midas touch and one who had drawn his literature from the hardships of life.
As long as humanity is there Dostoevsky is one who will never be forgotten, ‘Annas Dostovesky’ will live forever in the hearts of millions of bookworms and lovers of literature.