Govinda Prasad Bhattarai’s ‘Footsteps of Socrates (सुकरातका पाइला)’ is milestone for Nepali novels. It is an excellent specimen of Nepali war literature also. It acts as just a mirror of past decade which reflects mainly our pain and sufferings bared due to the endless revolution. It provides us convincing answers of many philosophical questions also, e.g. what is life? What is real truth? etc. In novel, when we go forward by turn overing the pages, we can’t read it being impartial. Due to life flowing over the words, we found ourselves, in the every situation then knowingly or unknowingly we will be transformed into a new character and we can recognize ourselves all over the events too.
Writer Abhi Subedi criticized it comparing with Naipaul’s novel “A Bend in the River”. He added Govinda used here history as fiction and fiction as history. Because in novel; events of crossfire in many districts, curfews, agitation in Kathmandu, killing of Nepali in Iraq etc flow sequentially. I think it is the capability of writer’s post modern writing technique and the novel may be the masterpiece of his world of literature.
This novel stands from the brief explanation of a village named Narfok which is the birth place of Ananta, the main character. Ananta has recently passed his bachelor degree in major English from the college of his own village but due to political instability in country he becomes unable to take any further decisions related to his life. So his frustrated mind slings him to Kathmandu.
Writer wants to provide us the fusion of ancient and modern philosophy, so he introduces a character here, Sukarat, as a professor of TU. Due to his philosophical speech, Ananta’s thinking level gradually increases although Ananta found himself in between many conflicts. He was jobless and failed his exam also therefore he couldn’t return back to his home. At the same time Ananta again shocked due to untimely demise of his girlfriend Purnima in crossfire near his village being revolutionary. Now Ananta saw himself only in between death, desperation, apprehension or anxiety. So he was thinking to go away from this depressive world by attempting suicide but what he did there is totally vague.
Here also we can visualize writer’s post modern writing technique. Unsettled i.e. Anirdharan is one of the suitable definition of such technique. He uses it here successfully. Providing such a beautiful gap in the condition, writer gave chance to all readers for further creation. Therefore we can say that the main theme of the novel is individual freedom, individual decisions and multiple thoughts should be accepted. Here, by introducing reasonable character Sukarat, writer has also described the energy and limits of individual’s existence, about freedom and responsibility with the boundary of real truth, life and death.