Mirrored images of Mao Zedong | Daily News


Mirrored images of Mao Zedong

If someone asks me the question as to who your favourite statesman is, what would I say? Perhaps undoubtedly the name Mao Zedong (who is more known as Mao Tse Tung) the Chinese statesman who lived from 1893 to 1976 will come to my mind.

Perhaps if an opinion poll was to be held, the name of Mao will top up the list. But I am not sure if most people are actually aware of the life and ideology of Mao. Quite a lot has been written about the life and vision of Zedong who is widely known as the founder of the Republic of China. He is a son of an educated peasant, and a person from the childhood had become quite interested in various political creeds that resulted in the well known long march and the speeches delivered at the Yenan Forum.

Right at the moment, we have a well-written profile of Mao Zedong titled as ‘Mao Zedong: Man, Not God’ written by Quan Yanchi and translated into Sinhalese by the well-known journalist Ariyananda Dombagahawatta titled as ‘Mao Tse Tung, Deviyek Nova Miniseki’. To me perhaps this is the most comprehensive contribution available up to date.

The translation for the local reader initially gives an insight into the growing up of Mao as a thinker, living amidst his own clan of humans mostly from the peasant culture. The book is written in the form of a narrative on the part of the original writer Yanchi. At the outset, he clarifies how he came to be known to the young Mao. This opening chapter gives way to feel how significant the meeting had been from several points of view.

The narrative takes several points of view where the chairman or the chief Mao as he was known divulges or expresses sensitively the life he led in the past in various types of trials and tribulations in order to achieve the human freedom and liberty in the way he visualized. Mao is shown as a ruler who had been speedy in the moments of failure or downfall as well as his victories.

He is shown as a great person who wanted to achieve a visualized goal, convincing the lesser known people to a better-convinced group of people. His way of addressing the masses had been quite appealing. The original writer, as well as the translator, uses the dialogue of Mao that enables the reader to gauge the intensity of his clarity in thinking as well as the articulation process, unprecedented in a ruler.

As the reader scans through the pages, the events reveal the wisdom of Mao that had been achieved over the years. Various types of social discourses emerge. They include the dialogues on religion, culture, literature, warfare, fear, strategies, goodwill, childcare, education, welfare measures, law and order, love and emotions derived out of human interest.

All in all, the profile of Mao as written in the form of a self-expressive mode attempts to capture the vision of a great man of an emerging era of renaissance. In chapter six of the work, the writer of the profile of Mao, depicts a moment of anger in Mao. But it soon fades off the next moment with a hint of a fresh encounter.

In this work, the writer has attempted to capture the moment of Mao’s encounters with the poverty-stricken people as well as the well-to-do individuals. The various theories of social development emerge as a result. He is shown as a person who knows the conscience of the masses. Quite a number of examples are cited.

The Sinhala translation, I felt is quite readable and the pages are packed more with situations written in dialogues than verbose descriptions.

All in all, the work transcends the mere narrow barriers of profile writing and biography. Gradually the reader comes to grips with the author in the closing chapter where the high point is the emphasis that Mao brought China into the frame of the world. The book glimpses that it is a never-ending narrative.

The successes, as well as the pitfalls too, are brought to light from the point of view of Mao Zedong, as a man. This is a work that should be read by teachers as well as pupils.

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