Author : Premchand 0 Review(s)

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Kafan is a story about a low-caste father and his son who work as labourers in a village in Orissa. The son’s wife, Bhudiya, is near the end of her pregnancy and is in need of medical attention, which the family certainly cannot afford. The poor lady writhes in pain as Ghisu and his son Madhav watch helplessly.

Bhudiya eventually dies during childbirth, adding to the problems of the father and son. Driven to extreme poverty and despair, they have no money or means to perform the funeral rites for the unfortunate women. They cannot ignore the dead body lying in their hut, and set out to ask the villagers for some monetary assistance. The question is will the villagers reach out to help the unfortunate low-caste family?

Kafan which translates to a shroud in English, describes the degradation of human beings to the lowest level possible. It not only talks about privation of the lower caste in the society but also delves into the depravity of the human soul across all castes, creeds or religions.

About Munshi Premchand

Munshi Premchand was a famous modern Hindustani literature writer, novelist, short story writer and dramatist. Premchand’s other famous works include Godan, Pratigya, Karmabhoomi, Kayakalp, Nirmala, Sevasadan, Roothi Yani, Rangbhoomi, Manorama, and Vardaan. Premchand’s novels and short stories are based on socio realism, and feature the problems of the poor and urban middle class. He used literature as a tool for arousing public awareness about social and national issues, and widely wrote about topics such as child widowhood, corruption, poverty, feudal system, and the Indian Freedom Movement.

Premchand was born in 1880 in Lamahi near Varanasi. At the age of seven he began attending a madarsa in Lalpur where he learnt Urdu and Persian. He lost his mother at the age of eight and his grandmother soon after. His father remarried, and the stepmother theme featured repeatedly in many of Premchand’s works. Premchand learnt English at a missionary school and later joined as a day scholar at Queen’s College in Benaras. He got married at the age of 15, while still studying in the ninth grade. Premchand whose real name was Dhanpat Rai Srivastav, began writing under the pseudonym Nawab Rai but later changed it to Premchand, with the honorary prefix Munshi being added later. He died in 1936 after a prolonged illness.

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