Nirmala – Premchand

I really wish to read the Hindi books again which I had left and its been quite a time now. And what better way to start than with one of the greatest figures of Hindi literature – Munshi Premchand. His works have always besotted me and reminded me that this is my land and that how much of a different and endearing feeling it is to read a work in one’s own mother tongue. I just loved reading it.

Nirmala is a story of a little girl who is married at an age of 15 to a person who is 20 years elder to herĀ  after her first marriage being cancelled due to dowry reasons. Nirmala’s husband tries all tactics to woo her but she has only respect and a sense of duty for him and not the love which he expects to develop in her. By his first wife, Totaram has three sons and the eldest is just one year elder to Nirmala. Nirmala who is so tender and inexperienced does not understand that why she likes being with the eldest son and hates her husband. Why she can be comfortable with the son but becomes uncomfortable at even the sight of his man. Then by the inferiority complex and Nirmala’s cold attitude towards Totaram, a seed of mistrust is sown and from there starts the downfall of everything which Nirmala lays her hands on. One by one all the sons die. They lose all wealth and property. Some other deaths also occur.

The most noticeable thing is that how he can write so poignantly by creating a situation rather than depending heavily on words. He makes the reader feel rather than tell him/her what to feel. It is a readerly text than writerly. His comparisons, similes and idioms usage is well timed and well thought and piercing. The themes of his novel are the social ills and how despite being common that they are, have the potential to wreck whole families. Nirmala is a tragedy and it moves you. The real success of an author lies in the fact that the reader should continue to think about the characters and the situations long even after he has read them. And I continue to do so. For me Nirmala is a work of a man who is a brilliant author.

Goo dreading. Easily recommended.!