The Gift of a Cow: A Translation of the Classic Hindi Novel, Godaan
Premchand is the most famous name in modern Hindi fiction, and Godaan is Premchand's most celebrated novel. It is the story of Hori, a poor peasant who yearns to own a cow and to make the pious Hindu's traditional gift to a Brahmin when he dies. Through Premchand's vivid character portrayals we witness the efforts of Hori's family to survive the conflicts of village politics and the webs spun by colonial landownership patterns. Counterposed to the culture of rural connectedness but also constriction is the isolation but also freedom of the city. Here the rigors of industrialization and empty materialism only can be offset by the promise of Gandhian idealism. An engaging introduction to north India before Independence, Godaan is at once village ethnography, moving human document, and insightful colonial history.
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