The success of ‘Godan’ is that since its creation (1935-36) it has remained relevant even today.
Premchand wrote more than three hundred stories and a dozen novels in his life, which made him an immortal figure of Hindi fiction.
Today is the birth anniversary of Hindi legend-samrat Premchand. Premchand wrote more than three hundred stories and a dozen novels in his life, which made him an immortal figure of Hindi fiction. Although each of Premchand’s novels has its own importance, but he got the most fame from his last completed novel ‘Godan’. Today we will talk about his work.
The success of ‘Godan’ is that even after eight and a half decades have passed since its creation (1935-36), its relevance remains. Long articles and lectures by scholars keep on getting about the current relevance of Godan. Often at the center of all this is the ‘peasant story’ of Godan.
Even in the textbooks of the course, the interpretation of this novel is found only on the basis of points like farmer life, caste system. In fact, the similarity of the plight of Hori of independent India is done by setting a yen-ken type with the farmer of independent India, critically proving the contemporary importance and relevance of this work.
There is no doubt that Godan is relevant even today. But, does the representation of its relevance in the above form do justice to this work covering a wide spectrum of Indian society? Can the condition of the peasant of India, created by the exploitation of the British rule and the zamindari system, have any logical equality with the farmer who is progressing today by getting cooperation and convenience from the government in various ways?
How can this pro-farmer era of facilities like Kisan Credit Card and frequent farm loan waivers be compared with the exploitation based moneylender system of that era?
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It is true that even today there are many problems in the life of farmers, but now the intention has come for them to solve the problems, not exploitation in the action plans of the policy makers. This is the fundamental difference which differentiates the present farmer from the farmer of Godan. Similarly, incidents of atrocities on the so-called lower castes are occasionally heard even today, but now these atrocities are not in a position to justify their actions, but deserve punishment. The Dalit community is now on the path of prosperity not only materially, but has also become strong and vocal at the level of consciousness.
As a whole, the ground of the farmer and caste, on which the present relevance of Godan is built today, is constantly shrinking with time (if Premchand had been there, he would have been very happy to see this shrinkage). Therefore, any establishment based on it will no longer be sustainable, as soon as today’s Godan-analysts understand this, the way will be paved for the new meanings of this great work.
Now the question arises that what is the basis of the relevance of Godan in modern times, leaving the ground of farmer and caste? In this regard, it would be appropriate to look at Godan’s story-plan.
The story of Godan runs in two streams of village and city. Premchand has written almost equal importance to these two streams, but the basis of the evaluation of Godan has remained mainly his village-story.
Critical adjectives like ‘Epic of Peasant Life’ created such an image of the rural novel about this work that its town-tale became secondary in it. Many critics also believe that the place in Premchand’s Godan, urban life, has upset the balance of the story.
Renowned story writer and critic Jainendra Kumar in his article ‘Premchand’s Godan: If I Write?’ It is written in it, “…the city has something imposed on the story of the village, it is not mandatory. The book is not one with the legend. I may have allowed the city to be absent from the book, in order to keep Hori at the center of the story, and so all light fell on him, not to draw attention away from other details.”
Apart from this, the critics who accept the importance of the town-tale of Godan, they also emphasize on seeing it as a part of the village-tale of the novel. They say that the source of exploitation which is in the village has one end in the city too, to show that Premchand has composed the town-story in this novel. But, what is the matter?
On a deeper look it can be seen that the village and town of Godan represent the two visions of this novel. The village story of the novel depicts the society and governance system of the then subjugated India in the context of the farmer, while the story of the city, despite being related to the urgency, appears to be trying to collide with the questions of the future.
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In fact, the relevance of Godan today is more about its urban side. In what Premchand wrote nine decades ago on the urban side of Godan, there was much in it that has gained relevance today. The character of Mehta and Malti is one such subject. Malti represents today’s modern women, who do not see freedom as bound by any limit, while Mehta believes in the originality of woman despite being in favor of her freedom. Characters with such thoughts can easily be seen in today’s society.
Critics have considered Premchand to be a problem novelist and ‘Godan’ is called his main problem novel. The reason for this is that the village story is always at the center of its evaluation. If the city is made the basis of evaluation, then this work will appear to identify the problem as well as to show the signs of the solution.
For example- Dung, frightened by the news of Jhunia being pregnant, sends her home and flees to the city, where she not only earns money by hard work, but also changes her physical and mental level in urban association. . The prestige of social stereotypes and the fear of public censure is now very less in him. He has become hesitant to speak to the day-to-day panchayats in the city. All these things serve to give a new dimension to his consciousness. The consciousness which resides within him in a repressed form towards his social rights while living in the village, now becomes strong and assertive by getting the support of urban association and wealth.
Through this characterization of cow dung, the author has tried to show the importance of economic empowerment by showing that in future only the youth of the so called low castes can bring economic self-sufficiency in them with their effort and hard work and from here their caste- The system of class based exploitation can end. Today it can be clearly seen that the main role in the empowerment of the so-called lower castes belongs to the youth like cow dung of their family, who have moved out of the village to the city to earn.
This situation will be found in almost every village. All this was seen by Premchand nine decades ago. But the critics could not make the required interpretation of these points because for them the village story of ‘Godan’ was the main one.
It is necessary that in the city-tale of Godan, there is too much of an idealistic theatricality in which nothing of the element is seen above, but, if this neer is churned with a serious critical eye, out of it Many things of importance are sure to emerge.
Therefore, today there is a need for re-interpretation and re-interpretation of Godan, whose main criterion is not the context of its rural life, but the story of urban life. Only after touching this aspect will we be able to do complete justice to the content of Godan.