Raag Darbari takes a satirical look at the decay in moral values in the Indian society post-independence. It exposes the nexus between politicians, businessmen, criminals, and policemen, and highlights the way in which they collude to exploit society for selfish reasons.
The protagonist is Ranganath, and the book is narrated through his perspective. Ranganath is a research student who majors in the subject of History. His university education has taught him to aspire for the highest of ideals and moral values.
Ranganath moves to a village called Shivpal Ganj to stay with his uncle Vaidyaji for a few months. Vaidyaji is at the helm of the political scene in the village. He is very diplomatic and articulate. He also happens to be the manager of the local college.
Ranganath discovers that all the village politicians, including his uncle, misuse their positions of power to manipulate the village people and fulfil selfish ambitions. As Ranganath learns more about the workings of the village, the differences between the corrupt nature of the village politicians and the high moral standards that he aspires to become glaringly obvious.
In this book, the author seeks to highlight the negative aspects of rural life through the viewpoint of an educated person. Some of the other characters in the book are Ruppan Babu, Principal Sahib, Badri Pehelwaan, Chhote Pehelwaan, Khanna Master, Sanichar, and Jognath. The helpless common man is represented by Langad, who seems to have no choice but to bow to the corrupt people in power.
Raag Darbari was originally written in Hindi. It was first published in 1969. It won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1970. This particular edition of the book is a 2008 reprint in Hindi. The book was adapted for theatre by Girish Rastogi and it was staged by Bahroop Arts Group as Ranganath Ki Waapsi. An English translation by Gillian Wright is also available. It has also been translated into fifteen other languages.
About the Author
Shri Lal Shukla was an Indian writer who wrote in Hindi. He is best known for his works of socio-political satire.
He has written several novels, short story collections, satires, literary critiques, and memoirs. Some of his works include Raag Darbari, Makaan, Kuchh Zameen Mein Kuchh Hava Mein, Raag Viraag, Aadmi Ka Zahar, Khabron Ki Jugaali, Bisrampur Ka Sant, Pehla Padaav, Dus Pratinidhi Kahaaniyan, Amritlal Naagar, Iss Umra Mein and Mere Saakshaatkaar.
His writing has a distinct satirical quality. Through his works he depicted the deterioration of moral values in India post independence. He used satire to highlight the negatives of urban and rural life in India. His contribution to Indian literature won him several awards, including the prestigious Jnanpith Award and the Padma Bhushan.
Shukla was born in 1925 in a village called Atrauli, which is part of the Aligarh district of Uttar Pradesh, India. He graduated from Allahabad University in 1947. He worked for the Uttar Pradesh government as a Provincial Civil Services officer. He later joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). Shukla attended literary conferences, seminars, and award functions in various countries including Yugoslavia, Poland, and Germany. He retired from civil service in 1983. After going through a prolonged illness, he passed away on October 28, 2011, in Lucknow.
Raag Darbari, the best social-political satire of India
Sunil Kumar Jha
One of the best pieces of prose
Taking Satire To Another Level
a must read for any hindi literature and satire lover
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