It was while cleaning up my store room that I found my cousin brother’s long forgotten treasure of novels and instantly picked up Ayn Rand’s ‘Capitalism’. Having read The Fountainhead before, I became an immediate fan of her philosophy and writings and wanted to equip myself with as much of her work as possible. In Capitalism she stated that to understand the true essence of this book it’s advisable to read Atlas Shrugged first and I sincerely followed her advice. Though the size of the book (1000+ pages) can make one reconsider the idea of reading it initially, but after reading the first few lines only, all my apprehensions disappeared into thin air. The book starts with a question, ‘Who is John Galt’?, and the quest of finding its answer will sail you through the end of the book and what a worthwhile journey!
The story is not about one individual yet it is based on individualistic values and purpose of living in the world. The story is about Francisco D’ Anconia, the Heir of biggest copper manufacturing unit of the world and gave it all up, it’s about Hank Rearden, the successful manufacturer of steel in USA and the inventor of Rearden Metal that made him even more successful, but gave it all up, it’s about James Taggart who lived his life assuming that everything he did, does and shall do would be for the sake of public welfare and that should be the ultimate aim of any Rich human being but eventually proved wrong, it’s about Dagny Taggart (part protagonist), the WOMAN who runs a railroad and who could have given up her life but not her railroad and the story is about 3 men who became her epitome of an ideal world she always wanted to witness and part of, An Utopia.
Rand managed to create a world where the characters that are productive are downright shrewd and selfish but in a completely justifiable way and the ones who are dependent upon these people are of low moral code and unacknowledged. The reader can find oneself struggling at times with her philosophical view on life and living i.e. living for oneself and not for the sake of any other person. The exaggeration of everything is evident, the creation of wealth as well as wiping it off to the last straw. Being born and brought up in the land of Bhagvad Gita which teach us the ultimate mantras of Karma like, ‘Neki kar, dariya mein daal’, Karam kar, phal ki ichcha mat kar’, this book can seriously question these motto of good deeds.
There are long and awe-inspiring speeches preponderant about correct definitions (according to Ayn Rand of course) of those factors that keeps a society survival possible which can make you question your own ideologies and at times might test your patience due to their lengthy description. One can imagine oneself as a silent spectator amidst the whole plot cheering for the Good while jeering for the Evil, but what is good and what is evil is a matter of idiosyncratic perceptions. A particular aspect about Rand’s work which I found in The fountainhead too is that all Goody characters are great looking while the baddies are not-so great looking, probably implying a metaphorical description of good and bad by Rand. It shall make you ponder the various economical and political issues prevalent in present times too.
The writing ability of Rand is unquestionable, supported by a wide research and thorough knowledge of various facets of society, economics, politics and human behavior on the whole; she definitely knew the job of weaving all these aspects together with adequate reasoning to produce a master-piece. Many a times, the plot would make you say, ‘Err…I beg to differ with you Ms. Rand’, but being an intelligent writer, she clears all your doubts by vindicating her stand and keeping you on her side for majority of the book. Though pretentious at times, with bold and surreal portrayal of its characters, one would love to overlook all this for a happy and utopian ending.
To wrap up it all, I will also recommend this book to all the book lovers, because no matter if you’ll love it or hate, it would be a great loss to ignore it. After all it’s a book that changed and challenged the thinking process of many throughout the world. It's a **** for me.