Monday, May 4, 2020

Kafan by Premchand Summary : English Stories of Premchand


by Premchand Summary

Kafan The father and son duo were sitting beside a died-down fire ahead of their hut. Inside, the son’s young wife, Budhiya, was turning and twisting within the agonies of child-birth. Every now then her heart-rending cries brought the hearts of the duo to their mouths. it had been a winter night. Silence reigned all around and therefore the village was submerged darkly .
Ghisu said, ‘It looks she’s dying. we've been running round the whole day. Just go and see.’
Madho was irritated. ‘If she’s to die, why’s she lingering? What’s the purpose in seeing?’
‘You’re so heartless! You spent an entire year in enjoyment together with her . And now this disregard?’
‘Because I can’t watch her flailing her arms and legs.’

The duo belonged to a family of chamars, and both notorious within the village. Ghisu rested for 3 days after working for one. And Madho was such a shirker that he worked for half an hour and smoked his chillum for one. That’s why nobody hired them. As long as there was a couple of grain reception they were determined to not work. once they went empty stomach for each day or two, Ghisu would climb a tree to chop some wood, and Madho would go and sell it within the market. And as long as this money lasted they hung around here and there aimlessly. There was no dearth of labor within the village. Being a village of farmers there was plenty for an honest worker. But people engaged this duo only they were under compulsion to pay two persons for the labour of 1 . Had the duo been sadhus they wouldn’t have needed to coach themselves for self-control and contentment; for these virtues came naturally to them. Their life was so extraordinary. that they had no possessions apart from a couple of earthen pots and pans. Hiding their nakedness in rags they lived on. Free from all the human cares. Head and ears in debt! They were abused, they were thrashed, yet they took nothing to heart. They were so down and out that folks lent them something out of pity with none hope of recovery. they might pick peas and potatoes from someone’s field, when these were in season, roast them and eat; or uproot a couple of sugar cane stalks and suck them in the dark . Ghisu had lived out sixty years of his life during this sky-like freedom, and Madho, sort of a good son, was following in his footsteps, or rather outshining his father. Even now both of them were sitting ahead of the hearth and roasting potatoes picked from someone’s field.

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Ghisu’s wife had died way back , and Madho had married last year. Ever since she had appropriated , Madho’s wife had laid the foundations of an orderly life during this household. By grinding flour for somebody or cutting grass she would assemble a couple of rupees and feed these two shameless creatures. And this made them still more lazy and easy-going. actually they became so demanding they might invite double wages with none sense of shame if someone wanted to use them. And now an equivalent woman was dying of birth travails, and that they were perhaps expecting her to die in order that they might sleep peacefully.

Ghisu said, as he picked up a potato and commenced to peel it, ‘Go and see how she is. She must be possessed by a chudel, what else? The exorcist would demand a rupee.’
Madho was apprehensive if he went inside the hut, Ghisu would pack up an enormous portion of the potatoes at his back.
‘I’m scared of getting into ,’ he said.
‘Afraid of what? I’m here with you.’
‘Why don’t you enter and see?’
‘When my woman died, I didn’t move from her side for 3 days. And won’t she feel embarrassed? I've never ever checked out her face. How am i able to check out her naked body? She won’t even remember of herself. And if she saw me she would freeze with shame.’

‘I wonder what we shall do if she gives birth to a baby. we've nothing reception , neither dry ginger, nor gur, nor oil, nor anything .’
‘God will give us everything. those that won’t give us a penny now will call us and provides us all we'd like . Nine sons were born to my wife. We had nothing, yet God helped.’

It was not surprising that this type of mindset should settle during a society where those that toiled day and night weren't far better than these two, and where those that knew the way to exploit the peasants were so well-off. actually we might say Ghisu was the more astute, for rather than joining the naïve and witless peasants he had joined the gang of shady characters. He didn't have the potential to follow the tricks of their trade; so where because the other members of the gang had become leaders of the village community, the entire village raised accusing fingers at him. Even then he felt that, for all his impoverishment, he had the satisfaction that he didn't need to plod just like the peasants, and nobody was ready to exploit his helplessness and naivety.

The duo continued to eat the burning hot potatoes. They hadn’t eaten anything since yesterday; in order that they didn’t have the patience to attend for the potatoes to chill down. As a result they burnt their tongues. The peeled potatoes didn't feel hot to the touch, but when the duo swallowed them after biting them with their teeth they burnt their tongue, palate, throat and food pipe, and therefore the only remedy was to push the burning coals down into the stomach where there have been many things to chill them. But these effort brought tears in their eyes.

Now at this very moment Ghisu remembered the wedding feast he had attended at the Thakur’s twenty years ago. the sensation of satiation he had experienced thereon occasion was unforgettable and its memories were still alive in his mind. He said, ‘I can’t forget that feast. Since then I even have never eaten to my fill like that. The bride’s people served puris to everyone. Everyone. Big and little , all ate the puris, fried in pure ghee! Chutney, raita, three sorts of vegetables, one curry, sweets, and what else! I just can’t describe how I enjoyed that feast. There was no restriction. invite anything and any amount, and you bought it. People ate such a lot , so much, that they might not drink any water. and people who were serving, they kept on filling your leaf-plates with sizzling hot, round and fragrant kachauris. You tell them you don’t want, attempt to stop them from serving by spreading your hands over the leaf-plate, but they are going on and on. And after everyone had finished and washed their mouths there was the paan-ilaichi. 
But i used to be in no state to eat one. I could hardly stand on my feet. I walked out and visited sleep in my blanket. The Thakur was so generous!’
Madho tasted these dishes in his imagination, and said, ‘No one gives such a feast now-a-days.’
‘Oh, no. Those were different times. Now everyone has become thrifty. Don’t spend on marriages. Don’t spend on death. Ask them where they might stack the wealth snatched from the poor. There’s no stopping there, but they won’t spend.’
‘You – you want to have eaten a minimum of twenty puris?’
‘More than twenty!’
‘I would have eaten fifty!’
‘I too must have eaten fifty. i used to be so strong. You’re not half my size.’

Having finished eating potatoes both of them drank water. Then wrapping their dhotis around themselves they lay down beside the hearth folding their legs into their stomachs, as if two pythons lay coiled there.

When Madho went into the hut within the morning he found his woman dead. Flies were buzzing over her mouth. Her stony eyeballs were pointing upwards. the entire body was covered in dust. and therefore the baby in her womb was dead.
Madho ran out of the hut. Then both of them started howling and beating their breasts. The neighbours heard the wailing and came running and, faithful the tradition, began to commiserate with these unfortunate ones.
But there was no time for grieving and wailing. that they had to stress about the shroud and wood for cremation. The house was as deprived of money as a kite’s nest is of meat. The duo, weeping and wailing, visited see the village landlord. the owner hated them, and had often thrashed them together with his own hands, for stealing, for not honouring their commitments. He said, ‘What happened, Ghisua, why’re you crying? You’re not seen lately . It seems you don’t want to measure during this village.’
Ghisu put his head down on the bottom and, with tears in his eyes, said, ‘I’m in great trouble. Madho’s wife gave up the ghost last night. She spent the entire night writhing in pain, sarkar. We sat beside her, did all we could to save lots of her, but she tricked us. Now we don’t have anyone to feed us, sarkar. We’re ruined. Our house is wrecked. I’m your slave. There’s nobody except you who can help to perform her last rites. Whatever we had we've spent on her treatment. Your kindness alone can help us take her on her last journey. I can’t knock at the other door.’

The landlord was a generous man but helping Ghisu was like dying a black blanket. For a flash he thought of driving him out. the guy never comes when called, and now when he's in difficulty the bastard is cringing for help. However, this wasn't the time to point out anger and punish him. Unwillingly, he took out and threw two rupees at him. But he uttered no word of sympathy. He didn’t even check out him, as if he was getting obviate a load on his head.

After the owner had given two rupees, the shopkeepers and moneylenders dared not refuse help. Ghisu knew the way to play up the landlord’s name within the village. Someone gave two annas, another four, and in one hour Ghisu had collected the ample amount of 5 rupees. Some one helped with grain, others with wood. within the afternoon Ghisu and Madho started for the market to shop for a shroud. and other people began to chop the bamboos to the right size required for the bier.
The kind-hearted women of the village came, checked out the body , shed a couple of tears on the hapless woman and went away.

When they reached the market, Ghisu said, ‘We’ve now enough for wood to cremate her. Isn’t it Madho?’
Madho said, ‘Yes, we’ve enough wood, now we'd like the shroud.’
‘All right, let’s buy a shroud, an inexpensive one.’
‘It’ll be night when the body is carried. Who would check out the shroud then?’
‘What a wierd custom! Someone who had only rags to wear all her life should need a fresh shroud.’
‘And the shroud are going to be burnt with the body.’
‘What else? If we had got these five rupees before her death we might have used them on her treatment.’

Both were trying to delve into each other’s mind. They kept on roaming within the market, now getting to this cloth-seller, then another. They inspected many sorts of fabric , now cotton, now silken, but didn’t like all . By this point it had been evening, and therefore the two, with what godly inspiration nobody knows, landed ahead of a liquor shop. And as if out of some predetermination, they went in. They stood there for a few time, unable to make a decision . Then Ghisu visited the counter and purchased a bottle. Then they bought something spicy, and fried fish. The duo sat down within the verandah to drink peacefully.

After downing variety of cupfuls quickly both of them reached a high.
Ghisu said, ‘What use wouldn't it are to place a shroud round her? it might have burnt. Nothing gone together with her .’
Madho checked out the sky and said, as if invoking the gods as witnesses to his innocence, ‘This is not any quite a custom. alternatively why should people give thousands of rupees to brahmins? Who knows whether it reaches there within the other world?’
‘The rich have money to waste. What can we have?’
‘But how we could convince the people? Won’t they ask? Where’s the shroud?’
Ghisu laughed, ‘We‘ll say, the cash slipped off our side pockets. We searched but couldn’t find. nobody will believe us, but they’ll still give us money.’
Madho also laughed at their unexpected stroke of excellent luck. He said, ‘She was so good, poor thing. Even on her death she has fed us so well.’

 that they had drunk quite half the bottle. Ghisu ordered two sers of puris, Chutney, pickles, liver meat. The shop stood ahead of the liquor shop. Madho went quickly and brought the eatables dished abreast of leaf-plates. It all cost a rupee and half. Only a couple of coins were now left with them.

The duo were enjoying eating puris with royal nonchalance, as if a lion were feasting on his kill. They feared nothing. They were answerable to none, nor were they worried about public shame. that they had conquered all such feelings way back .

Ghisu spoke sort of a philosopher, ‘We are so happy. Won’t she be rewarded?’
Madho agreed, bowing his head in reverence, ‘Surely, surely. God, you're omniscient. Take her to heaven. She has our blessings. We’ve never before enjoyed a feast like this.’
The next moment Madho was troubled by a doubt. ‘Why, dada, we too would go up there one day?’
Ghisu didn't answer this childish. He didn’t want to spoil the pleasure of the instant by thinking of the opposite world.
‘What we could say if there she questions us for not having provided a shroud for her?’
‘Your pate!’
‘But she is going to surely ask.’
‘How does one know she won’t get a shroud? does one think I’m such an ass? Have I wasted sixty years of my life mowing grass? she is going to get a shroud, and an honest one.’
Madho wasn't convinced. He said, ‘Who will provide it? you've got splurged all the cash . She’ll ask me . it had been I who had daubed her hair with vermillion.’
Ghisu became angry. He said, ‘I say she is going to get a shroud. Why don’t you think me?’
“Who’ll give? Why don’t you tell me?’
‘The same people that have given now. Only, this point they won’t fork over the cash to us.’

As darkness became thicker, the celebs became brighter, and therefore the liquor shop became livelier. Someone sang, another bragged, another embraced his companion, and yet one more put the kulad to his friend’s lips.

The atmosphere was ecstatic, the air inebriated. Many became drunk just on a mouthful. quite the liquor it had been the atmosphere that gave them the kick. The miseries of life had driven them here, and for a few time they forgot whether or not they were alive or dead. Or neither alive nor dead..

And both father and son were still sipping and savouring their drink. All eyes were fixed on them. How fortunate they were! that they had a full bottle between them.

After that they had had their fill, Madho picked up the uneaten puris and handed them over to a beggar who had been watching them with hungry eyes. And both of them experienced, for the primary time in their lives, the pride, the contentment and pure joy of giving!

Ghisu said, ‘Take it, enjoy and provides your blessings. The one to whom this belonged is dead, but your blessings will surely reach her. Bless with every pore on your body. it had been hard-earned money.’

Madho checked out the sky once more and said, ‘Dada, she’ll attend Baikunth. she is going to be the queen of Baikunth.’

Ghisu stood up and swimming on the waves of ecstasy he said, ‘Yes, son, she’ll attend Baiikunth. She didn’t hurt, or oppress anyone. And together with her death she fulfilled an excellent wish of ours. If not she, who else? does one think these fat and rich, who rob the poor with both their hands then bathe within the Ganga to scrub off their sins and offer water at the temples, will go there?’
The mood of reverence suddenly changed, for drunkenness is usually shifting its ground. Now pain and disappointment overpowered them.
Madho said, ‘But, dada, the poor thing suffered tons . See what proportion she endured before dying!’
He put his hands on his eyes and commenced to cry loudly.

Ghisu tried to console him, ‘Why does one cry, son? Be happy, she is now liberated from this delusive existence, free of this misery. She was very fortunate. She broke the bonds of relationships so early.’

And both of them stood up and began singing. ‘O temptress, why does one entice together with your eyes, O temptress.’

The drinkers were watching them and these two were singing heartily. Then they began to bop . They jumped. They leaped. They fell. They strutted. They posed displaying many emotions. They acted. eventually full with drunkenness they collapsed to the bottom .

Kafan (1935), is Premchand’s last story , and one among his best. Without going into the difficulty of textual discrepancies between the Urdu and Hindi versions of his stories and a few ‘flaws’ arising out of his ‘carelessness’ within the assemblage of realistic detail, I even have translated the story by ‘harmonizing’ the first Urdu version and therefore the ‘carefully’ edited Hindi version (by Dr Kamal Kishor Goenka) of the story, and, of course, with inputs from Pritchett’s own translation. The changes in my version are few, almost imperceptible. the foremost visible change is within the use of 1 name, that of the son. within the Urdu version Premchand through out calls him Madho, but within the Hindi version he's called Madhav. Whether this was done by Premchand himself or by the primary translator together with his consent, I don’t know. Pritchett also uses Madhav. This surprises me. The name Mahav was then typically urban, or confined mostly to literate and upper crust families, and that i can’t imagine illiterate Ghisu naming, much less addressing, his son as Madhav. In any case it's ‘Madho’, not ‘Madhav’, that matches with ‘Ghisu’ and ‘Budhiya’. the mixture Ghisu, Budhiya, Madhav looks very odd to me. So I even have retained ‘Madho’, as within the Urdu version.

Coming from Premchand, often a half-hearted realist and an idealist-reformist, it's a tremendous story. to completely comprehend what Premchand is doing here, we should always forget both realism and idealism. The simple and seemingly realistic narrative is extremely deceptive and disguises a really complex texture of meaning, which perhaps could are achieved only through a subversion of the realistic mode. Many things within the story look improbable, unconvincing, distorted and unnatural from a purely realistic point of view. But internet result's very rewarding. Premchand during a position|is ready"> is in a position to pack numerous things in a small space using this subversive technique: absolutely the pauperization and therefore the consequent degradation of the daddy and son duo; the utter loneliness and isolation during which a lady , Budhiya, is left to suffer and die; the insensitiveness, perhaps born out of their helplessness in having no resources to ameliorate her condition, with which the duo watch and let her die; the nonchalance with which the wretched two enjoy themselves at the liquor shop feasting and drinking, using the cash they need been given for purchasing the shroud for cremation while Budhiya's body lies within the hut; the duo’s conversation about the feast that Ghisu had once enjoyed at the wedding within the Thakur’s family, and therefore the feast at the liquor shop, which may be a re-enactment of that old feast, during which both father and son are now partakers; the very disturbing black humor emanating from the conversation about Budhiya between the daddy and son in their drunken state; the awful ending of the story; presentation, through hints and suggestions here and there, of an overall critique of the feudal exploitative society these are a number of the strands that are woven into the storys texture.

Another element, which only an excellent writer could have introduced, is that the moment during which the father-son duo offer the left-overs of their feast to a beggar, and knowledge the pride, and pure joy of ‘giving’, for the primary , and maybe the last time, in their lives. For a quick moment the 2 wretched creatures become noble and magnanimous philanthropists, revealing perhaps for a moment the gap between what the 2 are and what they might wish to are . this is often also another example of Premchand’s use of irony to damn the society that perpetuates social injustice through philanthropy. The story is filled with such ironies; and mixing these together with his typical genial bantering tone (that relieves the devastating tragedy of those three lives) Premchand presents his condemnation of the socio-economic system that produces men like Ghisu and Madho. At an equivalent time it's a picture of the degradation to which citizenry can fall. Thus the story is both a picture of the contemporary rural India also because the fallen state of mankind.

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