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Considered Munshi Premchand's best work of fiction, Godan (Hindi) is a tale of a poor peasant's heart-wrenching life set in India's pre-independence era. The novel very sensitively unfolds the life of Hori to resonate the agonies of a society overburdened by its religious beliefs and undercut by the laws of colonial rule.
Summary Of The Book
Braided around the life of Hori, a poor peasant, the story is set in an Indian village where he lives with his wife Dhaniya, 2 daughters, Sona and Rupa, and a son Gobar. It all begins when Hori, blinded by the custom of Godan (donating of a cow), which is traditionally believed to be the greatest of all donations, buys a cow on a loan from a local cowherd called Bhola. This fuels jealousy in his brother Heera and his wife, and gradually becomes the reason for a series of mishaps in Hori's life.
While Gobar's irresponsible acts put the family in an awkward social situation, other unforeseen circumstances force Hori into debts. There even comes a stage where Hori is thoroughly overworked and has hardly any money to keep his grandson well-fed. How the family emerges through all this and whether Hori's wish of Godan will be fulfilled or not, is for the readers to find out.
Among other themes like feudalism, caste system, and exploitation of the poor, Premchand also delicately captures intricate human emotions. The characters of Hori and Dhaniya stand tall and haunt the readers for their undying conviction even when faced with multiple misfortunes.
Godan (Hindi) was first published in the year 1936 and was the last complete novel by Premchand. It has been translated into English twice. Once in 1957, by Jai Ratan and P. Lal, and the second translation was by Gordon C. Roadarmel in 1968, titled The Gift of A Cow, which is considered a classic in itself. It was also made into a Hindi film starring Rajkumar in the year 1963. In 2004, it was featured as a part of a TV Series based on Premchand's works.
About Munshi Premchand
Premchand is one of the most famous and influential Indian writers of the early 20th century.
His other works include Nirmala, Gaban, Saut, Premashram, Beti ka Dhan, and Kafan.
Born in the year 1880 in Lamahi near Varanasi, he was originally named Dhanpat Rai Srivastav. Though he started writing under the pen name Nawab Rai, he later switched to Premchand. His fame gradually earned him the honorary prefix, Munshi. He has written over a dozen novels, about 250 short stories and has translated several foreign works to Hindi. He was also quite the revolutionary and married Shivarani Devi, a child widow, for which he faced a lot of social opposition. After his death in 1936, Shivarani Devi wrote Premchand Ghar Mein in his memory.
Nice Book !
5 Aug, 2014