Read Godan(Eng) book reviews & author details and more at of the seasoned writer in Munshi Premchand and his down-to-earth experiences of life. Language: English; ISBN ; ISBN Godan by munshi premchand in english pdf. Sep 07, Aamir rated it really liked it. But it does look a little self-indulging to worry about the nose, when right under. Editorial Reviews. Review. ” no Indian should miss this novel, which Premchand wrote with Mansarovar 1 (मानसरोवर 1, Hindi): प्रेमचंद की मशहूर कहानियाँ (Hindi Edition) · Premchand · out of 5 stars 8. Kindle Edition. $

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The Gift of a Cow by Premchand. Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review ‘s biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers.

Godan by Munsi Premchand | Sulekha Creative

Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge and remind and warn you that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

The complete review ‘s Review:. The novel follows the stories of many characters, but the central one is Hori Ram, who lives with his family in the small village of Belari. Hori is a poor farmer, a decent soul but, like practically all the other villagers, deeply indebted and trapped in a vicious circle of inescapable, ever-increasing debt.

Hori believes in the order of the day, which also means putting the welfare of the local zamindar landowner Rai Sahib Amarpal Singh ahead of that of his family. Hori’s wife, Dhaniya, is more practical, preventing some of Hori’s worst excesses — but not all of them.

The title of the novel — Godaan in the original — refers to, as the glossary explains, “the gift of a cow made by a pious Hindus to a brahman at the time of death”, but while Hori’s longing for a cow to call his own plays a role in parts of the book this — and the hope he will have one to give at his death — isn’t an overwhelming part of the plot.

Instead, Premchand offers a far broader tapestry. Aside from Hori’s family, several other characters’ lives and fates are closely followed, and the book also shifts back and forth from country life Hori’s village to that in the city. Getting a cow is something Hori does dream of: It was his life’s ambition, his greatest dream, since any ideas of living off bank interest, of buying land or of building a mansion were too grandiose for his cramped mind to comprehend.


In fact, however, the book begins with his dream being fulfilled — but the perfidy of a ne’er-do-well brother means that this happiness lasts only a short while. Among the consequences of his having accepted the cow, from a herdsman from a neighbouring village, Bhola, is that Hori’s son Gobar falls head over heels in love with Bhola’s widowed daughter, Jhuniya, and begins an affair with her.

When she gets pregnant Gobar brings her to his family’s home — or almost does: The proper thing for Hori and his wife to do is not to allow Jhuniya over their threshold, but they are decent folk which, in this society, means they are weakand they do the right thing and take the poor pregnant girl in. This casts all in dishonour including Jhuniya’s dadand the whole village is outraged.

Caste vodan one of the gldan features of this society. The villagers are largely of the same caste, and it is the main thing that binds them together, making them a sort of extended family. But caste brings obligations with it, and violating the rules can mean excommunication. Bringing someone like Jhuniya — who has dishonoured her family by her actions — into their home is a major no-no.

Hori is only fined — though that too is a devastating blow — but there is at least ggodan dramatic excommunication in the book, in which chamars an untouchable caste defile a brahman and make him an outcaste. Lots of cash then bring him back in the fold, but even so no one will eat food he has cooked or truly treat him as one of their own again.

The village is a place of odd contrasts: On the other hand, there is an often surprising generosity of spirit and a willingness to help those who are down on their luck.

The major problem in the village is that everyone is deep in debt — and that the debts keep growing. Borrow thirty rupees and, before you know it, what with fees and compound interest you owe two hundred. Premchand devotes premchan space to money-lending practices — understandable, since money-lending is so central to all these lives. The unavailability of ready credit at reasonable terms is convincingly presented as one of the main reasons why the life of the villagers is as miserable as it is, a social problem requiring a solution.

Cash problems don’t only plague the poor and rural folk: Several of them also have money-trouble — though things work out much more easily for them Premachand not treating their difficulties as seriously, and solving them far too easily.

But even they recognise that the bg has gone wrong, Raj Sahib lamenting: Our parasitic existence has crippled us. Sometimes I think the government would do us a big favour by confiscating our lands and making us work for a living. We’ve fallen prey to the system, a system that’s completely destroying us.


Until we’re freed from the chains of wealth, the curse will keep hanging over our heads and we’ll never reach those heights of manhood which are life’s ultimate goal. Yes, The Gift of a Cow is a political novel, and Premchand occasionally preaches — but generally he concentrates more on recounting the lives of these godn characters and showing by example.

An interesting aspect of Premchand’s approach is the almost complete absence of any British colonial presence, despite being set in pre-independence times. The contrast between village and city life is quite well handled, and there is considerable cross-over between the two, involving several of the characters.

Gobar is the main one bridging the two worlds: Taking Jhuniya back to the city with him everything then goes wrong there.

Premchand suggests the ways in which each locale goes wrong, approving of the political awareness in town, but concerned by the lack of personal connexions, the fraying of the social fabric holding much of society together despite his strong opposition to aspects of those connexions, especially the often unreasonable demands of caste. Premchand describes individual incidents well, and when he focusses on gidan events the book is often very impressive.

Juggling many stories he does, however, lose track of — or ignore — some, bringing them back when convenient without adequately accounting for the transitions that have occurred. Gobar’s absences are only the most obvious; many of the rich folks’ stories are also only partially told.

Premchand is very ambitious, and he does tell a good story, offering a good, teeming picture of Indian society of this time. Still, it’s more than he can handle, and too much is ultimately reduced to a too simplistic level. But the book is still impressive and, if anything, one wishes that he had been more patient and taken more time to fully realise the many fascinating stories he offers brief glimpses of.

Godan – Premchand (Translated by Jai Ratan and P. Lal)

It’s not a happy world — “If there weren’t injustice in the world, why would people call it hell? And it’s a good, engaging read. Trying to meet all your book preview and review needs.

The Gift of a Cow – US. The Gift of a Cow – UK. The Gift of a Cow – Canada. Le don d’une vache – France.