Captain Nemo I
|“||I am not what you call a civilized man! I have done with society entirely, for reasons which I alone have the right of appreciating. I do not therefore obey its laws...
- Captain Nemo I, November 1867
Prince Dakkar (c.1830s - 1910), infamously known as Captain Nemo I, was a pirate and scientific genius who roamed the depths of the sea in his submarine, the Nautilus, which he helped build on Lincoln Island.
Nemo tried to project a stern, controlled confidence, but he was driven by a thirst for vengeance, and wracked by remorse over the deaths of his crew. "Nemo" is Latin for "no one", and also (as νέμω) Greek for "I give what is due."
Nemo is Prince Dakkar, the Sikh son of the Raja of Bundelkund. He was deeply antagonistic to the British Raj of India. Nemo had a European education, as he states that he had spent his youth studying and touring Europe.
Life as a pirate
After the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857, in which he lost his family and his kingdom, he devoted himself to scientific research and develops an advanced submarine, the Nautilus. He and a crew of his followers cruise the seas, battling injustice, especially imperialism. They derive bullion from the various shipwrecks that dot the ocean, the most notable plundering ground being the Spanish wrecks in the Bay of Vigo.
He claims to have no interest in the affairs of the world above, but occasionally intervenes to aid the oppressed, giving salvaged treasure to Cretans revolting against their Turkish rulers, by saving (both physically and financially) an Indian pearl hunter who was the unfortunate victim of a diving accident, or by saving the castaways from drowning and covertly watching over the castaways in Lincoln Island.
In his first meeting with Professor Aronnax and his companions, the latter speak to him in French, English, Latin and German, all of which Nemo later reveals he is fluent in. Aronnax goes on to comment that Nemo's French was perfect and unaccented, and relies on his intuition and knowledge of ethnology to assess that he was from Southern latitudes. However, he was unable to determine the country of his origin. The Nautilus library and art collection reveal him to be familiar with European culture and arts. Further he was an accomplished player of the organ.
He is said to have died of old age in 1883, on board the Nautilus, at Dakkar Grotto on Lincoln Island in the South Pacific. The last rites were administered by Cyrus Harding, one of the castaways on the island who had been saved by the Captain himself, and the vessel then submerged in the waters of the grotto. The French authorities believed him dead ever since, but the truth was known by the British secret service.
Adventures with the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
In need of extraordinary figures Mina Murray was sent to Lincoln Island to meet and convince Nemo. Nemo joined from excitement at the prospects of having another adventure. He was later graced by Campion Bond asking for Prince Dakkar to join the new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
Nemo forms a friendship ironically with British Imperialist Allan Quatermain. Nemo and the League secure the stolen Cavorite from Fu Manchu, only to discover that M is Professor Moriarty. Nemo uses a dirigible to go to Moriarty's flying machine, and works with Mr. Hyde with a machine pistol to handle Moriarty's Men.
Nemo is seen again the following year joining with the League in trying to combat the Martian Invasion. While the Nautilus does succesfully destroy several tripods, the traitorous Hawley Griffin, informs the Martians of the Nautilus. The Martians counter Nemo with a strange blood mixture that makes the Nautilus useless.
Nemo spent the rest of his days on Lincoln Island, raising his daughter Janni Dakkar hoping that she would succeed him. Janni angrily rebuked the idea, remarking on his constant mistreatment of her and loathing her father's life. Nemo angrily stated that she was a spoiled child that needed a spanking.
Captain Nemo is considered by most around him to be a madman, Mina Murray remarked that he was even worse than Mr. Hyde, who could be controlled at least. Murray recalls that her father and grandfather often had discussions on whether Captain Nemo or Napoleon Bonaparte was a greater scourge to Great Britain.
When he was sinking ships, he would go into a rage as he was lost in the memories of the Indian mutiny where his family were killed, but in the aftermath he would always be wracked with remorse over what he had done.
Nemo's reputation is mainly due to his sinking of British vessels, his motivation being to protect the ocean from humans as well as his revenge on the British Empire for their conquest of India. Nemo states that he is above judgment of humans for his many actions. Nemo's utter loathing of British runs deep as he compares the British women to dressing like whores. Nemo is even slightly misogynistic in general as he greatly resents his daughter's sex as he wanted a male heir, but he isn't truly disdainful for her. Despite his daughter's percieved ill treatment of her, Ishmael contends that Nemo loved Janni deeply.
Despite Nemo's piracy and vindictive attitude he has an immense love of adventure, it is because of this that he ironically agrees to aid the British government. He also forms a friendship with Allan Quatermain for their mutual love of adventure and similar personalities. Before that Quatermain argued with Mina about his trustworthiness, but hunter and the Captain formed a friendship.
Nemo's lifestyle and reputation would carry on to his daughter Janni Dakkar and his great-grandson Jack Dakkar.
In Verne's works, Nemo is not mentioned to be of any distinct ethnicity or attire, until the Mysterious Island where his backstory is revealed. Nemo is not nearly so distinctively Indian in dress but in the era of the League he seems to have adopted his ethnic attire. Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill noted that this element was overlooked by most adaptations of the character, and they sought to stay true to Verne's image of the character as he "actually looked nothing like James Mason", who played the character in the 1954 film.
He looked even less like Herbert Lom who played Nemo in the 1961 Ray Harryhausen version of Mysterious Island.
Nemo was sixty during the events of Mysterious Island, which would make him considerably older during League. Also, according to the novel he died on 15 October 1868 but in the League the Mysterious Island affair happened "15 years ago", making it 1883. However there are some inherent chronological inconsistencies even in Vernes' novels.
Nemo's religious background is unclear, and could be either Hindu or Sikh.
Nemo is a dead ringer for Alan Moore right down to his usual frowny face.
In chronological order:
- Nemo: River of Ghosts (1890 flashback)
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume I
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume III: Century - 1910
- Nemo: Heart of Ice (mentioned)
- Nemo: The Roses of Berlin (mentioned)
- Nemo: River of Ghosts (mentioned)
Nemo appears in the critically-panned film adaptation, played by Naseeruddin Shah. Due to what Kevin J. Anderson percieves as executive "political correctness", Nemo's less attractive qualities are less prominent. He is far more hospitable and less confrontational with his English associates in the League and his growing understanding of Allan Quatermain concludes much quicker than in the graphic novel. His religious background is more clear by his worship of a statue of Kali; which worries Mina since she's the Goddess of Death, but Quatermain said Nemo isn't the one they should worry about.
It should be noted that Ramakrishna, the real life Hindu Saint and Sage was also a worshipper of Kali. While the Goddess of Death, she is also the Mother Goddess thus making her the Goddess of both Birth and Death.